IMG 4366For those of you who not able to make it to the ACJ’s 22nd Annual General Meeting on the 11th November, a copy of the ACJ Chair, Terry Hunt’s annual report is available here.

I’m pleased to report another annual increase in our membership. We currently have 501 which includes 9 library members, 1 college, and the following corporates: 3 UK Assay Offices, H S Walsh, Cooksongold, Benchpeg, Art Jewelry Forum (AJF) and the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG).

Our link with SNAG was reinforced at their May conference in Chicago. Board members Lynne Bartlett and Rebecca Skeels attended; the latter giving a presentation to conference on our Association. Members, Lieta Marziali and Kim Nogueira showed their work in the Adorned Spaces section, while Masako Hamaguchi showed hers as part of Exhibition in Motion.

We have managed two members’ exhibitions this year. A selling exhibition, held at Gill Wing Jewellery, London, was themed on Tales of the Subconscious and ran throughout October. The other, Connections / Connessioni, opened on the 7th November at Goldsmiths’ Centre, London. This is our first joint venture with an overseas partner - in this case the AGC - Associazione Gioiello Contemporaneo, and has resulted an exciting collection which will tour throughout 2020 to Glasgow, Livorno and Padua.

A one-day symposium held with Board members and Advisors in February sought to establish strategies and themes for the future. Throughout the discussion, three keywords - connections, community and support - came, not only to reflect our existing strengths, but also desirable themes for the future.
Our regional networks - the envy of other professional groups - are highly significant and one future ambition from the symposium is for more coordination and reciprocity between these groups; leading to innovative events which encourage public engagement and develop new audiences.

I’m pleased to confirm the formation of a new regional group - Northern Ireland. Best wishes to Anne Earls Boylan. I do hope they have fun!

The Board is grateful for the directional impetus provided by the Strategy Day. To date, this has resulted in clarity being established regarding content and format of Findings magazine. The new editor, Jo Lally, appreciates the need for the balance and range of topics that will be relevant to the whole membership base. Also, our commitment to future exhibitions - as well as a members’ exhibition now booked for the Autumn of 2020, we are planning our next international conference, which will be held in Exeter in 2022 (celebrating our 25th anniversary!)

The Association’s promotional support for graduates and designer-makers continues: through a contribution to the Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Awards, and also through the generosity of member Mark Fenn and his eponymous award presented at New Designers; as well as through our Creative Development Awards, two of which were awarded this year.

Support also includes our College Prizes. Last year we introduced a scheme which was taken up by eight specialised jewellery courses across England and Scotland. Following on from the success of these awards, it has continued and expanded this year, with an additional three courses, including that at Ulster University, involved with the scheme. Winners of the ACJ College Prize each received a years free ACJ graduate membership. Full details of all of the above can be seen on our website.

My thanks to all those who have helped maintain, and develop, the Association over this year. I will specifically mention a few by name: Rebecca Skeels for her management of our digital platforms - LinkedIn, Twitter, Crafthaus, Facebook and Instagram. Poppy Porter, the previous Findings editor, plus her team of contributors, who, over five years, not only met the considerable challenge of working with Muriel Wilson’s creation, but developed and updated it for today’s readership. Thanks also to Haru Sakai for getting the e-bulletin to us every month as well as ensuring a smooth administration.
For makers, we continue to develop favourable relationships with the industry: member discounts are available with Burhouse, Cooksongold, H S Walsh, Bellore, Suttons/Betts, Moleroda, T H March and Clear Insurance.

For all of this promotional liaison, plus general publicity as well as management of current, and future exhibitions, and their venues, my thanks go to Tamizan Savill. In recognition of the nature of her role, the Board recently approved her position as chief executive.

One change to the Board this year as we welcomed Emma Paragreen, who is based in Sheffield. My thanks to her and the rest of the Board and Advisors for their dedication, especially Dr Lynne Bartlett, Honorary Treasurer and Secretary for sensible guidance.

Terry Hunt