Beyond Silver LogoWe are delighted to announce that the ACJ will be holding it's 25th anniversary conference Beyond Silver: 25 Years of the ACJ on Friday, Saturday and Sunday 1, 2, 3 July 2022 at Exeter University. 

This conference is being supported by the Goldsmiths’ Centre.

Bookings are now open! Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a booking form


Together both conference and exhibition Meanings & Messages celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery. In 2017 the ACJ celebrated its 20th Anniversary by marking the past and the present through the exhibition 20:20 Visions and exploring the future through the conference of the same name. Now, five years on, the focus has shifted to the position of contemporary jewellery in a changed society.

To focus our reflections on where contemporary jewellery has brought us over the last 25 years, we sought inspiration from the translation of Marjan Unger’s doctoral dissertation, Jewellery in Context: A Multi-disciplinary frame-work for the study of jewellery. After her passing, Theo Smeets and a number of jewellery institutions, scholars and interested individuals came together to publish Unger’s work in her spirit, making it available in English over a decade after it was defended in 2010. When we wear jewellery, we are communicating something about who we are and what is important to us. Contemporary jewellery doesn’t just engage with the history of jewellery and the body but also expands upon an array of associations and Jewellery in Context seemed like an excellent place to begin our reflection and help frame the conference topics.

Over the course of three days the conference will offer an opportunity for discussion, debate and engagement across a range of concerns that affect the discipline of jewellery. It hopes to provide a framework for discussion on and around British Contemporary Jewellery by posing a number of questions pertinent to the current global situation and exploring the discipline through some specific contextual lenses.

Creative education is changing and there is a skills gap on the horizon, but there is everything to play for: we live in a digital culture that supports the creative entrepreneur, what does the future of the British Jewellery look like in this post-Brexit and global pandemic landscape? While contemporary jewellery in Britain has evolved much over the last 25 years, how will jewellery evolve over the next 25?

Themes for the conference will include:

Jewellery as a social connector
Jewellery has always served to emphasise identity and status, but it also plays a role in relationships between people. How do we connect with other people through jewellery? Have there been positive outcomes to this global pandemic? How do people view jewellery worn by others and what conversations are had?

Jewellery: meanings and messages
Jewellery contains within in it a vast diversity of meanings. What does the jewellery we wear reveal about who we are? What are the meanings and messages contained within a piece: are they subtle or explicit?

Democratising the field
Once the preserve of the initiated few, contemporary jewellery is now reaching a broader audience through the opening of online platforms. How are customers accessing contemporary jewellery today? Has the independent jeweller benefitted from the global reach of social media in the form of an increase of interest and sales from new clients? How has this affected the galleries?

Jewellery as art
Jewellery historically, is made to be worn: what is it without the body, is it still jewellery? As such a universal phenomenon and art form, definitions of jewellery would seem superfluous to requirement but how it is viewed is constantly changing. With more and more contemporary jewellery now acquired by museums and collectors beyond ethnological imperatives and with traditional art categories no longer applicable we explore artistic practices rooted at the intersections of craft, applied and visual arts, design and fashion.

New voices
A chance to hear from those who are new to research or studying on an MA or PhD in jewellery and give them a platform to discuss their ideas and work so far.

Confirmed speakers include:
  • Professor Theo Smeets (Hochschule Trier)
  • Professor Jivan Astfalck
  • Dr Sian Hindle (Birmingham School of Jewellery)
  • Associate Professor Dr Supavee Sirinkraporn and Dr Khajornsak Nakpan (Silpakorn University)
  • Bic Tieu (School of Art & Design - UNSW Sydney)
  • M.Kala
  • Anthony Wong
  • Kelvin Birk
There will also be interactive workshops, projects and exhibitions lead by:
  • Sophie Lowe (City of Bath College)
  • Bridie Lander (Birmingham School of Jewellery)
  • Rachael Colley (Sheffield Hallam University)
Our compère is Dauvit Alexander (Birmingham School of Jewellery)

Delegate fees:

In recognition of the the financial challenges makers have faced during the pandemic, we are pleased to offer early bird rates for bookings made by Friday 13th May.

Early bird rates – for bookings by Friday 31th May 2022

 ACJ Members  £100
 Non ACJ Members  £125 (or join ACJ today & pay member rate)


Regular rates – for bookings from Saturday 14th May 2022

 ACJ Members  £125
 Non ACJ Members  £175 (or join ACJ today & pay member rate)
 Students  £50*


 Saturday day rates

 ACJ members  £70                                     
 Non ACJ members  £95 (or join ACJ today & pay member rate)
 Students  £40*
 * We have 20 student places offered on a first come first served basis. Student means full-time students on an accredited course (recognised by ACJ). This includes 2021-2022 third year students.
Rates include the full conference programme, refreshments and lunch served during the day. 

Access grants:

We are delighted to announce that through the support by the Goldsmiths’ Centre and are able to offer eight places to the conference free of charge on a first come first served basis. This includes all conference activities, lunch and refreshments during the day but not the evening meals, travel and accommodation. For information on eligibility and how to apply please see the information at the bottom of the page.


Dinner and evening Events:

There will be two evening events that are bookable separately; these are set menus and are offered at cost.

  • Friday an informal buffet with pay bar                            £23.00
  • Saturday a formal three-course meal with pay bar           £45.00


Pin Swap:

Attendees wishing to participate should make one pin to a theme of your choice. These will be collected at registration and exhibited throughout the conference. Pins will be randomly swapped in a lucky dip at the dinner on Saturday. A maximum material cost of £15 is advised.



Accommodation is not provided. Most out-of-town members will need to book 2 nights’ accommodation for the 1st & 2nd July. There is accommodation is available on campus at Holland Hall at the following rates:

  • Room only (Single occupancy)                                      £69.00
  • Bed & Breakfast (Single occupancy)                              £78.00
  • Bed & Breakfast (Double occupancy)                             £98.00

You can book these rooms here: Book accommodation at Holland Hall

You will need a promotional code to book single occupancy rooms at these rates. Please get in touch on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.


Discounted train travel:

We are also delighted to be able to offer you up to 80% off your journey if you are travelling via Great Western Railway (GWR). Please note; this is up to 80% and will depend on your journey.

The fare is valid only with proof of attendance at a conference, you will be asked to show proof of your conference booking with your ticket so please do not buy your train ticket until you have received confirmation of your conference booking.

The nearest train station to the campus is Exeter St. Davids.

Some more info here:


BOOK NOW by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a booking form


Access Grant Eligibility Information

To ensure you are eligible for the Access Fund. You will need to be in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty’s
  • Revenue and Customs
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) / Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) / Universal Credit in place of ESA


How to apply for the Access Grant:

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a booking form and state your intent to apply for the access grant.

When you return the booking form, please include proof of the government benefits you receive, this can be a photograph taken on your phone, a scan, or an electronic document. It must include the name of the benefit, and your name and address. File formats accepted are JPG, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC and DOCX


With thanks to the supporters of the conference:


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