Friday, 25 March 2011

Dissertation proposal part 2

Dissertation Proposal Part 2

Student Name Karen Smith
Course Jewellery & Metal Design
Supervisor name Bridgid Collins
Email address
Date (update as you go)

Using the template
Enter your personal details in the box above. The email address will be used by your tutor and others to contact you. You must check this regularly for news on tutorial dates.
Read each heading carefully and type into the text box below.
Email your proposal to your supervisor and load it up on Safe Assignment of the VLE
Total final word count for Part 3: between 2000-2500 words (excluding bibliography).
Title (max 50 words)
This should give an outline of your research topic. If appropriate use a title and a subtitle. You need to get specific and refine the title to capture your research as best as possible.

Narrative jewellery: The art of telling untold stories
Jewellery which allows personal interaction by the wearer through interpreting a possible story, captured moment or emotion.

Summary (Stage 2 = max 1000 words, Stage 3 = 1500)
Here you should indicate what you already know about the topic. You should already have done some reading around it. Summarise this reading with regards to the research topic and describe the research area. This will provide the basis for a literature review.

Narrative jewellery is still a relatively new genre however it is growing in popularity. This is probably due to the interaction/ relationship between the wearer and piece as it has much more meaning than just a piece of jewellery made for decorative effect. It normally tells a story or captures an emotion thus having much more of a personal meaning altogether. However it is not always clear what the true underlying story is and in some ways it is almost like displaying a secret/ something personal about yourself without actually disclosing it.
It is also somewhat strange that narrative jewellery isn’t more widely recognised. As Mieke Bal’s book Looking in: The art of viewing, which is a book of case studies of how we as human beings perceive and react to things, illustrates how visual images shape the world we live in, how we communicate with one and other and ultimately how this defines the person we are or have become.
So why then is it that narrative jewellery, being so visual, is only now starting to gain popularity, when it is clear that visuals are such a very important part of everyday life?

In Jack Cunningham’s PHD Dissertation he looks at the relationship between the maker, the person who wears it and the person or persons who observe it.
He pays close attention to European contemporary narrative jewellery and whether society and culture play a big part in the way narrative jewellery is perceived and defined.

Jack also brought out a book to accompany his PHD research (Cunningham J (2005) Maker, Wearer, Viewer: Contemporary European Jewellery) and in this book Professor Elizabeth Moignard from the university of Glasgow comments on one of Jack’s brooches which she purchased from an exhibition entitled ‘Brooching the subject’.

The brooch is entitled Memory Kit and for her it did indeed provoke memories. Each part of the brooch has a significant meaning to Professor Moignard. When wearing the brooch she found it to be very much a conversational piece with other people almost playing a game trying to piece together the story behind the brooch. She herself found it fascinating to experience the different interpretations that various people had. This made her realise just how subjective perception really is.

Cunningham, J. 2003. Memory kit (photograph) ( maker-wearer-viewer)

Perception is a very important factor in narrative jewellery. Do people who wear the item of jewellery actually understand what the maker was trying to achieve by making the piece or do they have another take on the story behind it? Perhaps their own story? After all the piece must have struck a chord with them in the first place for them to buy it. Or maybe the piece holds no significance to them at all and was only purchased as something pretty which caught their eye.

From a jeweller point of view it would be interesting to see where the story goes after the piece is made and sold. Most of the time the person that makes the piece has no idea why the person purchased it or the new story or meaning that is now attached to it through the new owner/ wearer.

Some people can become very attached to these objects almost giving the piece a life of its own. It might remind them of someone, a place or simply a moment in time. Whatever the story behind the piece it would be interesting to link the two stories i.e. the one from the maker and the other from the owner/ wearer and see how they differ, or perhaps not as the case may be.

Everyone’s take on things differs from one person to the next and in Kathyrn Schulz book Being wrong she looks at how we as human beings observe and react to things. In other words are things really as we see them? Is there a right or wrong way when it comes to observing? Through examples in history and the use of quizzes Schulz illustrates that perception is not always as straight forward as it seems.

Aims: Why are you doing this? (max 100 words)
These are a general statement on the intent or direction for the research – why are you doing this? Refer to theoretical aims and practical ones where relevant. For example: How might this improve your design practice? How does it contribute to the discourses within your discipline? Who else might benefit from your research? Is it aimed at an academic or a wider audience? What do you hope your research will achieve? State your aims concisely, perhaps using bullet points.

As I plan on making narrative jewellery for my degree show I would like to link it with my dissertation as this would be helpful during the design process. It would allow me to explore avenues that I might not have otherwise contemplated. Also it would give me the chance to research automata in more depth as this lends itself to narrative jewellery due to the personal interaction.
My research would be aimed at a wider audience, i.e anyone with a keen interest in narrative jewellery. I also hope to gain a greater understanding of this jewellery genre, its possibilities and how people perceive and interpret the images they see. This would allow me to gauge if the message I am trying to get across through my work is actually being noticed or not.

Objectives: What will you produce? (max 100 words)
Objectives are the things you will produce in doing the dissertation, e.g. a review of the relevant literature, a collection and discussion of people’s experiences/opinions, an assessment of a debate or collection of work etc.
Like your aims, these will help your tutor (and you) assess your success. They may change over time but aims and objectives are useful to keep you focussed. Again be concise here – you may want to use bullet points.

Below are two examples of my own narrative jewellery work. I will show these pieces to various people. Asking them what they think they see, what they think the story behind the piece is and what they think it means to them, if anything. I will then repeat this process with the same people. But the 2nd time around I will give the piece a name and see whether or not this changes the meaning behind the piece for the person observing it.
This would allow me to pay close attention to how different people perceive things and whether there are any similarities.
I’d also like to interview several narrative jewellers to get their views on the subject and what they are trying to achieve through their own work. In particularly I would like to contact Jack Cunningham as he is not only one of the most well known narrative jewellers but has also conducted his own research on the subject.

As I would like to include automata I would also try and interview possibly a kinetic sculptor.

Keywords (min 5 and max 10)
This should be a list of key terms that help us see if you are aware of where your research ‘sits’. For example, if you are writing on depictions of women in advertising your list might include ‘gender, feminism, representation, advertising, semiotics’. Keywords will help you when doing electronic searched for research materials.

Narrative, Story, Emotion, Movement, Perception, Cognitive, Reaction, Memory, Thoughts

Expanded Bibliography (min of 24 books, articles, websites)
Place here alphabetically a list of materials which you intent to use for you dissertation. Format these according to the Harvard Method.
Please make sure you have critically assessed these as being appropriate for your topic and write a short paragraph for each one summarising the content and its relevance to your research area.

Arnold, Z. Zoe Arnold Jewellery & Artefact (online) Available at (Accessed November 2010)
Zoe is a narrative jeweller who also makes automata. I am currently researching her for a project and have already interviewed her about her work and what she is trying to achieve.

Astfalck, J, Broadhead, C, Derrez, P (2005) New Directions in Jewellery. London: Black Dog Publishing Ltd
This book has a whole section on Narrative jewellers

Barton, R. Metalsmithing jewellery design (online) Available at
(Accessed 2011)
Another narrative jeweller

Bal, M (2001) Looking in: The art of viewing. London : Routledge
Collection of essays exploring the way people perceive things.

Bernays, E, L (1929) Propaganda.New York : Horace Liveright
This book discusses manipulation by propaganda. How we can be influenced by things that we see and hear.
This would possibly be a good book to look at with regards of how people are influenced.

Betman, K,F Haveman,J (2008) Herinnerring Remember. Holland: Stichting Raad van Tien
Book based on narrative jewellery which captures a memory from the jeweller who made the item

Brown, B Berkeley Brown Jewellery Design (online) Available at (accessed February 2011)
Narrative jeweller who uses movement in her pieces

Cheung, L (2006) New Directions in Jewellery 2. London: Black Dog Publishing Ltd
This book has profiles and examples of narrative jewellers and their work. Also some examples of kinetic pieces.
This would be useful to look at other narrative jewellers work. What materials they use and where they draw their influences from etc.

Codrescu A, Herman Lloyd E, (2001) Thomas Mann Metal Artist. Wisconsin: GUILD Publishing
Biography about Thomas Mann one of America’s most famous narrative jewellers. Makes jewellery and sculptural objects. Discusses how Mann started in jewellery and how his fascination with particularly narrative jewellery evolved over the years. This book has some particularly good examples of narrative jewellery and explains the meaning behind many of the designs.

Cunningham J (2007) Practice based PHD Dissertation – Contemporary Narrative Jewellery.
(online) Available at (Accessed November 2010)
Jack pays close attention to European Contemporary Narrative jewellery and the relationship between the maker, wearer and viewer. This is useful as Jack is a world renowned narrative jeweller. This PHD dissertation is rich with information and research on this topic

Cunningham J (2005) Maker, Wearer, Viewer: Contemporary European Jewellery/Introduction by Jack Cunningham. Glasgow. Glasgow School of Art
Book showing the exhibition Jack Cunningham used to research his PHD on European Contemporary Narrative Jewellery

den Besten, L . Reading jewellery. Comments on narrative jewellery (online) Available at ( accessed February 2011)
Good article on narrative jewellery. Also refers to Jack Cunningham’s PHD research

Facere Jewellery Art (online) Available at
(Accessed February 2011)
Online art gallery which has a wide selection of narrative jewellers’ work.

Gosling, S (May 2009) Snoop: What your stuff says about you. London: Profile Books
This book is all about interpreting a person from the belongings they have or things they choose. This could be helpful again with the perception theme. Especially with narrative jewellery i.e Why did a certain person pick a certain piece to wear?

Gould, N Kinetic sculptor (online) Available at
(Accessed February 2011)
Kinetic Sculptor

Groome,D (August 2006) An Introduction to Cognitive Psychology. Psychology Press
This book looks at all aspects of cognition, including perception, attention, long-term memory, working memory, thinking and language.
This would be helpful as I am interested in looking at how people perceive things

Herman, D. (2009) Basic Elements of Narrative. Wiley:Wiley-Blackwell
Looks at what narrative is and it’s key areas.
This could be a good book to look deeper into the concept of narrative.

Jensen, T Strandbeest. (online) Available at (Accessed November 2010)
Kinetic Sculpture who makes wind propelled walking creatures.
Crosses the boundaries between art and engineering. This could be interesting to look into as I am interested in incorporating movement into my work.

Metcalf, B Studio jeweller & writer (online) Available at
(Accessed February 2011)
Famous American Narrative jeweller.

Morton, G contemporary jewellery incorporating vintage found objects (online) Available at (accessed February 2011)
Another narrative jeweller. Grainne uses found objects in her work to create stories.

Newstead, K Automata (online) Available at (accessed February 2011)
Good source for automata

Schulz, K, (2010) Being Wrong. Adventures in the margin of error. London: Portobello Books Ltd
Through this book Kathyrn Schulz explores what it is to be wrong and to make mistakes. She also looks at the way we perceive things and whether what we see is actually right. This is useful as I would like to look further into how people perceive and react to things.

Sharmanka kinetic theatre (online) Available at
(Accessed March 2011)
Theatre and exhibition of kinetic sculptures made by Eduard Bersudsky.
I plan on checking this out and hopefully interviewing him about his kinetic sculptures

Ted Blog (2007)Theo Jansen creates new creatures (online) Available at ( Accessed November 2010)
Interesting film about Theo Jansen and his beech creatures. Explains how they work.