In September 2018, the British Higher School of Art and Design launches a new British BA degree program — BA (Hons) Design Crafts (Jewellery). Yekaterina Bridge, head of Academic Quality department at BHSAD, speaks about the specifics of the program and its relevance in Russia.
The results of our preliminary market research show that jewellery industry in Russia is in paradoxical state. On the one hand, our country is among global leaders in mining and refining of raw materials for jewellery products. Russian technologies for processing precious gems meet the highest international requirements. However, if we take a look at the volume of exported products, we will see that Russia has merely a 0.12% share of the global import market for jewellery, while the leading players, the USA, China and India, have over 10% share of the market each. According to the Russian Jewellers Guild, the cost of labor used in manufacturing jewellery is comparable to that of China or India. A legitimate question arises: what is the reason behind such meager volume of Russian jewellery export?
Being experts in design, we see one such reason in the fact that collections produced by the leading Russian companies do not meet the demands of international customers. In our view, the problem lies in the lack of designers that would have a global aesthetic vision. We see a great need for new designers for jewellery and fashion jewellery who would create projects for both small and large-scale production in Russia.
In October 2015, BHSAD launched Jewellery Design. Basic Course continuing professional development program. We carefully prepared for the launch of the program in the area that was new to us. We gathered an excellent team of tutors who work in the industry, we set up a fully equipped workshop for jewellers, we began to establish contacts with well-known manufacturers and design companies. The Russian program is designed to find our own way to train world-class jewellery designers.
In order to better understand the global trends and standards, and to ensure continuous cooperation between the specialists who train jewellery designers, we turned to our partner, the University of Hertfordshire. Now we are waiting for validation of Hertfordshire program for jewellery design. At BHSAD, the BA program will be launched in September, 2018. Already in 2017, this field of study will be included in the curriculum of Foundation Art & Design program.
Will our BA (Hons) Design Crafts (Jewellery) be different from its British counterpart? On the one hand, as a supplement to the program of our partner university, our graduates will become developers of jewellery for mass production as well as designers/artists. On the other, we will encourage our students to develop their own unique vision, with equal respect for jewellery craft traditions and development of new experimental techniques.