Object & Jewellery New English Master Programme
Since 2016–2017 the department of Object & Jewellery at PXL-MAD, School of Arts, Hasselt, Belgium, has offered an artistic, academic English master programme (one year 60 ECTS-credits) alongside its existing regular programme, consisting of three bachelor years (180 ECTS-credits) and one master year (60 ECTS-credits). The course revolves around experimentation and research, for which thinking and doing are in constant interaction. The ambiguous position that the fields of jewellery and object-making take within the world of the visual arts, crafts, and design is seen as an inspiring starting point that is constantly questioned in order to develop a critical attitude toward our own discipline.
In the first year of the bachelor programme, students are introduced into the world of contemporary jewellery and to the most important materials and techniques through individual design projects. During the second year, research focuses on the meaning of jewellery and the functionality of objects. Technically, the students explore the possibilities of the laser-cutting machine and 3-D printing possibilities. The main focus of the third bachelor year lies on the further development of artistic research capabilities, looking into the conceptual, communicative, or historical aspects of jewellery and objects. The bachelor programme is finalized with an individual research project, as an ideal basis for starting the master programme.
The master programme consists of two major components: artistic studio practice and the master seminar series “Making•Matter•Meaning” (M3). Artistic studio practice is offered in a dynamic and inspiring environment where concept and practice are perfectly synchronized. Students are given the opportunity to improve and explore their work through intensive experimental artistic research. The master seminar series M3 helps to define the foundations for an individual theoretical and artistic research practice through discussion, analyzing texts, visiting exhibitions, and attending lectures.
Based on these two components and with the support of a team of renowned artists and academics, students are continually encouraged and challenged to further their research skills to develop contemporary objects and jewellery as media for artistic and narrative expression, as critical artifacts, and as cultural symbols that evoke communication. Students will be expected to create both a mature body of work presented in a master exhibition, and a written document in which they report and reflect on their own artistic practice. By adopting an inquisitive attitude, the students can position themselves in relation to other artists and disciplines that create the context within their work.
The English master programme and the regular bachelor/master programme in Object & Jewellery at the PXL-MAD School of Arts welcomes applications. Application requirements, forms, and tuition fees for the upcoming year, as well as more information about the two other English master programmes, “Art Sense(s) Lab” and “Reading Type & Typography,” are available here. Register here for the English master programme, or contact us through our website for the regular study programme.
Nedda El-Asmar studied jewellery design, gold- and silversmithing at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, in Antwerp, and she completed her education at the Royal College of Art, in London. It’s impossible to sum up her various activities over the last 25 years in one word. Openness, flexibility, and diversity are key concepts in her thinking and design approach. Her designs have earned numerous awards and prizes. She works for renowned names such as Hermès, Puiforcat, Gense, Villeroy & Boch, Robbe & Berking, Serax, and Maison Vervloet. From 2007–2019 she was head and senior lecturer of the Jewellery Design, Gold & Silversmithing department at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, in Antwerp.
Prof. Dr. David Huycke graduated in 1989 from Sint-Lucas University College, in Antwerp, and has run his own studio since 1993. His objects are shown in galleries and museums worldwide. In 2007 and 2019 he received the Bavarian State Prize for Contemporary Crafts, and in 2010 he acquired his PhD in arts with the project The Metamorphic Ornament: Re-Thinking Granulation, a practice-based research on the artistic relevance today of the ancient technique of granulation. Huycke sets to work like a poetic scientist or an alchemist, casting in moulds seemingly impossible concepts, incurring along the way risks such as breakage or collapse. Eventually those ideas and experiments are selected and elaborated into an object where they exude a degree of stillness and have a natural obviousness, as if the work could not have been made any other way.
Audi Pauwels studied at the Royal Academy of Arts, Antwerp, where he graduated in 1988. Five years later he founded the Object & Jewellery department at the PXL-MAD School of Arts, where he is still a senior tutor. Audi also runs the goldsmiths shop Huis Pauwels Spaenjers and the gallery Multiple in Hasselt, together with his spouse, Kitty Spaenjers. Their own work generally possesses all the ingredients of classic jewellery: almost exclusively made in gold, nearly always combined with a gemstone, and usually limited to the classic trinity of wearable pieces—the ring, the necklace, and the earring.
Dr. Karen Wuytens defended her PhD, titled Redefining Designing and the Development of a Design Model for Designers of Jewellery and Objects, in 2014, and has a specific research interest in a holistic way of designing. In her artistic practice she works on designs custom-made for a client. The experience of the user is always significant in the story of her products. Whether it’s an accessory or a utensil, the experience of the product by the user is always the starting point. Starting from an actual need, she evolves from idea to solution and production, in which each decision is carefully considered in a holistic way. She explicitly uses the qualities and properties of materials and combines these with both traditional know-how and technological production techniques.
Kitty Spaenjers and Audi Pauwels create sleek designs with a personal, bespoke touch. Designing and producing over 80 percent of the jewellery in-house, Huis Pauwels Spaenjers keeps the ancient craft of the goldsmith alive for people who love a unique piece of jewellery, from adjusting existing pieces to designing custom rings, necklaces, and earrings. Hundreds of unique pieces have been created since Huis Pauwels Spaenjers first opened in 1993. Kitty also runs the jewellery gallery Multiple. This is a platform where she invites and exhibits innovative jewellery designers.
Dr. Anneleen Swillen has a background in object and jewellery design and curatorial studies. These interests provided the foundation for her PhD in arts, titled This Play: An Artistic Research on the Interactions between Jewellery and Presentation, which she obtained in 2019 (UHasselt and PXL-MAD School of Arts, Hasselt). Swillen explores presentation as an artistic medium within, and moreover as, contemporary jewellery practice. Thereby she reflects upon the body, space, display, making processes, value, function, and meaning, among other concepts. Through the creation of jewellery, digital images and online media projects, temporary or permanent installations and interventions, curatorial projects, and group conversations, she explores how jewellery is created, presented, and experienced. One of her main methodologies is to work within contexts. Situations and locations often serve as starting points for her process-based practice. She experiments with various media and formats, and regularly collaborates with platforms, museums, galleries, curators, and artists.
Andries Vanvinckenroye graduated in 2009 with a master’s degree in product design from the MAD-faculty, in Genk, Belgium. Throughout internships at Lens°Ass Architects (Belgium) and Cesana (Italy) and work experiences for Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture and Deusjevoo (both in Belgium), among other companies and schools, his focus shifted to the subjects of wood, ecology, and technical production. Vanvinckenroye currently works as a technical/workshop assistant in the Object & Jewellery department and as a self-employed woodworker.
Prof. Dr. Bert Willems defended his doctorate in psychology and educational sciences at the University of Leuven. As a professor, he is attached to University College PXL (PXL-MAD) and Hasselt University (Faculty of Architecture and Arts), where he is co-responsible for research policy. His thinking always starts from a cognitive view on creation and the interesting interplay between culture and economy when it comes to creation.
Patrícia Domingues started her studies in the jewellery field at the age of 15 and was trained as a goldsmith. In 2007 she traveled to Spain to study artistic jewellery at the Massana School, in Barcelona. There she spent two years studying, followed by an additional year as an exchange student at the Estonian Academy of Arts, in Tallinn. In 2013 Patricia finished a master of arts in the Gemstone and Jewellery Design Department, University of Trier in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. Since 2009 she has participated in collective and solo exhibitions throughout Europe and abroad. Her work has been recognized by international jewellery awards: New Traditional Jewellery, Amsterdam (2012); Talente Award, Munich (2014); Mari Funaki Award for emerging artists, Australia (2014); and the Young Talent Prize of the European World Crafts Council, Belgium (2015). Currently Domingues is a PhD student in Arts at the University of Hasselt & PXL-MAD School of Arts, Hasselt. Her research takes landscape as a strong spatial connection with man and the vivid perception of it and its representations is always a self-reconstructed image and a vehicle to translate different perceptions of immensity. The different dimensions between the mountain and the stone we can hold in our hand are corporally lived between the immense and the detail.
Joani Groenewald graduated with a bachelor’s degree in visual art (creative jewellery and metal design) from Stellenbosch University in 2009, whereafter she enrolled in the graduate training programme in 2010. During this time she worked as an apprentice goldsmith and consequently qualified as a goldsmith at the end of 2011. In March 2015, she successfully completed her master’s degree in visual arts at Stellenbosch University, achieving a distinction. She has participated in numerous national and international contemporary jewellery exhibitions. Currently she works as a lecturer in the Visual Arts Department of Stellenbosch University and is enrolled for a bilateral PhD in visual arts and jewellery and object design at Stellenbosch University and Hasselt University/PXL-MAD, School of Arts, Hasselt. Groenewald’s work draws connections between landscape, memory, and language and aims to facilitate a critical representation of the South African landscape. Through her pieces she reflects upon her own social and political environment. Groenewald’s research interests are memory studies, specifically in relation to a South African context. Her art questions the stability of memory and narrative while also challenging the traditional function of jewellery.
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