New Zealand-born Fran Allison graduated from the Royal College of Art, London. As a designer and jeweler, she practiced and lectured in London and Melbourne for a number of years before returning to Aotearoa, New Zealand, in 1994. Currently living and practicing in Auckland, New Zealand, Allison was for some years a special advisor to the programming committee of Objectspace, a public gallery dedicated to promoting the applied arts. She was contracted to Creative New Zealand as Talente mentor and scout for five years, and she recently formed part of the creative team responsible for Wunderruma, a New Zealand jewelry exhibition shown at Handwerk Gallery, Munich; The Dowse, Wellington; and to be shown at The Auckland Art Gallery, in April 2015. Allison is currently Programme Leader Jewellery at the School of Creative Arts, Manukau Institute of Technology.
In 2011, Fran Allison, with the aid of research funding from Manukau Institute of Technology, began conducting a series of videoed conversations with players from the contemporary jewelry scene. Makers, writers, and gallery owners in Europe, the UK, and New Zealand share with her their views on their own and current jewelry practices, with the idea that the differing processes and methods each has developed in their practices will be useful information for makers in all art and design fields. In 2014, five videos were uploaded to Vimeo with the title Jewellery Conversations.
One of them, subtitled Place, Process and Materiality, suggests that Ms. Allison’s own interests are aligned with the Kiwi jewelry scene’s ongoing love affair with the manipulation of found materials. She pays special attention to the influence place might have on a maker’s process and material choice (listen to Warwick Freeman discussing geological unfaithfulness, or to Lisa Walker on the idea of camouflaging object history), but she is a keen and quiet listener, and lets interviewees stray far into their own territories.
This project is ongoing, and new videos will be added as they are completed.