Value Chains Reset: The JMGA conference redistributed

Blanche Tilden, Parallel necklace, 1995, flameworked borosilicate glass, titanium 260mm diameter, photograph: Marcus Scholz, collection: National Gallery of Australia

Since 1980, the Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Australia has convened a biennial series of national conferences. These are unique occasions for bringing together objects, practices and ideas from across the continent as well as other lands.

Continuing this 40-year series, there was a conference scheduled at the Australian National University for this year. It had already been delayed one year because of COVID. Unfortunately, this year the Jewellery workshop was closed down and funds for the conference were absorbed by the university.

Rather than break the 40-year long chain of conferences and waste the considerable work towards developing the program, a re-distributed version of the conference has been developed.

Sessions that would normally be in one location over two days would now be distributed across time and space. These events will be held in conjunction with important contemporary jewellery exhibitions and festivals during 2021.


A value chain for contemporary jewellery (Canberra)

  • Chair: Simon Cottrell
  • Date: 17 August 6-8pm (AEST)

Speakers include:

Simon Cottrell Jewellery is extremely diverse socially/culturally/historically, but within that, can we redefine any fundamental foundations? And, how might this refocus and reframe exactly why we continue to make it the way we do today? Followed by presentations & discussions between diverse artists, makers, thinkers from across the breadth of the field including Roseanne Bartley, Susan Cohn, Claire McArdle, Jonathan Zalakos, Joanna Zellmer.

matt lambert Other People’s Business: What makes a material new and what does it mean to use a material from someone else’s value chain?
Individual Presentations by Kelly Macdonald, Victoria Mcintosh, Zoe Brand with a panel discussion chaired by matt lambert

Jewellery in the east (China)

  • Chair: Kevin Murray
  • Date: 24 August, 6-8pm (AEST)

Speakers include:

Bifei Cao: Casting in the Threshold — a New Exploration of Chinese Contemporary Narrative Jewelry

Norman Cherry: The Chinese Question

Mooring Chain: Two research perspectives of contemporary jewellery education (Dunedin)

  • Chair: Andrew Last
  • Date 4 September, 6-8pm (NZT)

Speakers include:

Simon Marcus Swale: Critical Walking as Post-studio Methodology

Johanna Zellmer Clinkproject6 @ Radiant Pavilion The history of ‘Clinkproject’

New technologies (Melbourne)

  • Chair: Mark Edgoose
  • Date: 7 September, 6-8pm (AEST)

Chris Bahng and Bin Dixon-Ward: Post Code Jewellery

Vicki Mason: Material discoveries and the ethics and issues of making with plastics.

Mark Edgoose and others: Jewellery education in the university

Indian Ocean perspectives (Perth)

  • Chair: Hannah Jago
  • Date: 21 September, 6-8pm (AWST)


Sarah Elson: The Jewels of the Crown Land

Melissa Cameron: Juukan Tears

Representatives from Iran and South Africa (to be confirmed)

Jewellery Values – Materiality, Making & Movement (Sydney)

  • Chair: Mel Young
  • Date: Saturday, 9 October, 10-11:30am (AEST)


Bic Tieu: Thresholds

Zoë Veness: Folding Space-Time: Wayfaring through object making

The Social Value of Materials – Melinda Young in conversation with Michele Elliot & Bridget Kennedy

The Sydney event will be presented in a live format at Australian Design Centre during Sydney Craft Week Festival alongside the JMGA NSW Profile exhibition curated and produced by the Australian Design Centre.


Zoë Veness: Folding Space-Time: Wayfaring through object making

The notion of travelling by foot, or wayfaring, is an ideal analogy to describe the pace of my jewellery practice as a slow, or more precisely unhurried process that values time. In this discussion, I reflect on the paths that have evolved in my work by framing my approach as wayfaring reinforced by Tim Ingold’s ideas about thinking through making to contribute to reflective practice discourse.

 Bic Tieu: Thresholds

This talk will introduce my recent series Thresholds, which speaks to values through material practices, cultural heritage and social ideas around migration. The work is about the interconnection of the hand made in material making practice and cultural actions. I refer to this as ‘intercultural crafting’. Based on my lived experiences, the work also speaks about migrants intercultural lived experiences of in-betweenness.

 The Social Value of Materials an ‘in conversation’ panel hosted by Melinda Young with Michele Elliot, Kirsten Junor & Bridget Kennedy

Responding to the notion of the social value of materials in their individual practices and research. Each (re)uses materials in a particular way and will speak about how material choices underpin the specific dialogue and value of the message in their making; examining what happens when material choices and use move beyond the maker and into the world, highlighting how contemporary jewellery (and broader craft/design) practice can, through material use, be a vehicle for social values and narratives as well as effecting positive environmental or emotional change and individual wellness.

Register on Eventbrite for $30.

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Conference committee: Simon Cottrell, Liza Feeney, Hannah Jago, Andrew Last, Kevin Murray, Rohan Nicol, Elizabeth Shaw, Mel Young and Johanna Zellmer