Research and Enterprise

NAJ Jewellery and Allied Trades Roundtable

In February 2024 Rebecca was invited to the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) special 23-person industry-wide roundtable, bringing together all facets of the UK Jewellery, Silverware and Allied Crafts sectors, to meet with Sir Chris Bryant MP, Shadow Minister for Creative and Digital, part of the Department for Digital, Media Culture and Sport (DCMS). Since then the group has been meeting, planning and developing ideas to support, protect and develop the jewellery and allied craft industries.

 NAJ jewellery and allied trades - first round table with Sir Chris Briant


Crafts Council Jewellery and Metalwork Roundtable

In 2023, Rebecca attended the Crafts Council Jewellery and Metalwork Roundtable, one of a series of in-person roundtable discussions exploring environmental responsibility with 45 craft businesses and sector organisations, including makers, experts, suppliers, educators, and support organisations. Covering five craft disciplines, these roundtables discussed sustainability as a financially sustainable part of creative practices. Contributing to the ‘How to be more environmentally and financially sustainable in your craft business’ by Caroline Jackman.


Jewellery Quarter Industry Cluster JQ-IC

Rebecca joined the JQ-IC in 2023 taking part in debate, discussion and presenting. The Cluster was set up by Beverley Nielsen, Associate Professor at the Institute for Design, Economic Acceleration & Sustainability (IDEAS) at Birmingham City University and is attended by local businesses to the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham.


Trade Advisory Sub Committee for the Goldsmiths Centre

Rebecca has been a member of the board of the Trade Advisory Sub-Committee of the Trustees of the Goldsmiths’ Centre (TASC) since March 2022 to give advice and steer the strategic direction of the charity, as well as take part in selection panels for training, such as the apprentice scheme.


Diversity Champion (2022/25)

Rebecca led a small team to develop an opportunity for two Diversity Champions to research at the School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University. The project was a De Beers and Birmingham City University collaboration. Colleagues include Kate Thorley, Dauvit Alexander and Bridie Lander. Where Kate Thorley took over the mentoring and support of the Diversity Champion from 2023 to 2025.

The project aimed to identify underlying barriers/reasons why there is a lack of diverse students applying for jewellery-related courses. To increase awareness of jewellery being a possible career pathway for those at school and college. Over time to increase the number of students from disadvantaged socio-economic/diverse backgrounds taking jewellery-related courses at the Birmingham City University (BCU), School of Jewellery / other similar institutions.


Swords into Ploughshares (2022)

Swords into Ploughshares is a Community Interest Company which works with young people at risk of involvement in knife crime and through art activism offers viable alternative ways of living. Rebecca is one of the four directors alongside Dauvit Alexander, Norman Cherry, And Jo Baptiste. The founders are Dauvit Alexander and Norman Cherry.

Rebecca also took part in the touring exhibition, Swords into Ploughshares: Knives into Jewels which is an exhibition of work by metal artists in response to the issue of knife crime in the UK. Dauvit Alexander and Norman Cherry invited 35 artists from around the world, both emerging and established, to repurpose a knife removed from the street by the police, creating thoughtful and challenging work and an exciting touring exhibition. All works in the exhibition were published in the Exhibition Catalogue named Swords into Ploughshares: Knives into Jewels, Blurb Books, ISBN – 9798211018228 alongside papers written by the artists.


ACJ/BCU School of Jewellery Creative Careers Symposium (2022)

Dauvit Alexander and Rebecca Skeels led the Creative Careers Symposium in conjunction with the Joanne Haywood Association for Contemporary Jewellery. Over sixty people from the upper years in school and from Further Education came along. The focus was on careers in the creative world, with a focus on jewellery and metal.


World Craft City Status for Farnham (2020)

Rebecca wrote the application for Farnham World Craft City Status, with help and support from The Town Clerk and team and Farnham Town Council, and the Farnham Steering Group. The next steps were then led by Farnham Town Council and the Craft Team at Farnham Maltings with support from Rebecca during the 2019 Farnham Craft Month. The Farnham Town Council and the Craft Team at Farnham Maltings planning and organising the final steps to win the World Craft Status is 2020.

In 2020/21 Rebecca was awarded a Services to Farnham Award by the Mayor of Farnham, Councillor Pat Evans. The Services to Farnham Awards are given to people who provide an outstanding or crucial service to the community or the people of Farnham. The awards medals are kindly sponsored by the Tindle News Group. Rebecca received the award for her work on Farnham Craft Month, the Arts Council England application and management of the project funding towards the Craft Town England Craft Month project in 2019 and the work on the World Craft City Status Application.


Farnham Craft Month: October 2018 and 2019

Farnham Craft Town Celebrates throughout the year with many events, but Organisations and individuals come together each October to highlight activities across Farnham.

I have worked with the supporters of Farnham Craft Town and Craft Town England to develop the programme for 2018 Craft Month as well as run events for the School of Craft and Design and develop two digital network pages to promote Craft Town activities throughout the year.

During 2019, I have put in considerable efforts and energy and has submitted and Arts Council England funding to manage, evaluate and support the 2019 October Craft Month Celebrations and events.

England’s Craft Town

From the University for the Creative Arts to a major museum, exhibition and specialist retail outlets and craft-related businesses, Farnham is home to both world-renowned craft artists and to the next generation of emerging makers. Craft sits at the heart of Farnham’s distinctiveness and this special feature was acknowledged in 2013 when Farnham was designated as England’s Craft Town.

The roots of Farnham’s engagement with craft can be dated back to the time when Farnham exported white clay to the Romans. In the 16th century, potteries in Farnham were major suppliers of pottery to London. But its real emergence as a town with a special leaning towards craft is in the Victorian era and the establishment and great success of The Farnham Pottery, Wrecclesham, with its reputation for the distinctive style of work known as Greenware (so-called because of the copper-green glaze).

Craft across the centuries can be seen and researched from Farnham Greenware in the town’s museum through to the unrivalled collections of the Crafts Study Centre. The New Ashgate Gallery offers a diverse range of craft work for sale and is especially focused on creating opportunities for emerging makers.

Craft is embedded into the fabric, the homes as well as the cultural life of Farnham.


Encompassing: Research – Essays from the School of Craft and Design

Publication date Jul 2019, launch in August 2019. A new book of essays Encompassing: Research written by members of academic staff of the School of Crafts and Design at the University for the Creative Arts. More information available from


SNAG Conference, the Loop, coming full circle 2019.

Founded in 1996 the ACJ is the field’s leading artist network in the UK, members include makers, curators, gallerists, educators, collectors and journalists. The Association for Contemporary Jewellery promotes the art form, supports and represents the makers, and works to develop and intrigue the audience. This presentation will show & tell the story of ACJ’s work, showcasing the best of work of our members, contrasting pieces through from 1996 to today, including how styles and thinking has changed.

“Rebecca Skeels MA is Postgraduate Craft & Design Leader at the University for the Creative Arts & a Director of ACJ (Association for Contemporary Jewellery). Materials and processes are her obsession, bridging her roles as designer-maker & educator. She has exhibited in Europe, China and the USA. Her practical manual ‘Soldering for Jewellers’ was published in 2017. ACJ works to support the makers, promote the development and increase the understanding of contemporary jewellery in the UK and overseas.”

SNAG celebrates its 50th birthday at the 2019 Conference in Chicago. The programming for this special gathering is rooted in the history of the organisation and of metalsmithing, jewellery and adornment over the past 50 years, but also strives to examine these through a wider lens. The conference is also interested in considering metals and jewellery in the larger context of art and craft, and creating a dialogue between what came before and what comes next.

Rapid fire presentations are a trio of 15-minute individual presentations back-to-back, designed to be quick, enlightening and inspiring around a central theme.

Venue: Main Ball Room, Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, USA.

SNAG Conference LInk


Pop up (Dec 2018/Jan 2019)

Collaboration with a local business man Matthew Elliot and the Student Union allowed the opportunity for the first serious pop up shop opportunity for Students. Students and Artist in Residence from the School of Craft and Design set up, manned and exhibited through a prime retail space in Farnham Craft Town, promoting the university, the courses and themselves as serious makers and practitioners in the craft industries.

Feedback from the event from the Farnham Herald, Town Council and the local community was excellent. Students had a great experience, working together, learning and developing ideas about curating, display, costing and selling. Success was shown through the profits the students received as well as follow up exhibitions’ students had and are still undertaking. The Student Union and retail outlet owner was pleased with the pilot, they have continued to work together allowing students, courses and staff to exhibit and experiment with the space. The relationship is to continue until the outlet is rented out on a permanent basis to a new tenant.

These pop-up shops continue annually led by a local group of makers.


The Triple Parade (October 2018).

The Triple Parade event, opened on the 19th October 2018, organised and run by Sun Jie and the TRIPLE PARADE Biennale Organising Committee, HOW Art Museum-Design Center, College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, Shanghai.

This is the fourth edition of Triple Parade, with the first established in 2013. The year’s theme and dialogue was across the Past, the Present, the Future. The programme included a conference, exhibition and a series of workshops and talks.

The exhibition ran until the 5th February 2018, this was the biggest exhibition and event so far including over 500 jewellery pieces from makers from 34 countries and regions on display in the How Art Museum. The exhibition is broken into various parts of the four sections. 1, Intimate Encounter, 2, Like Attracts Like, 3, Arty Game and 4, Viva La Different.

Rebecca curated the UK work for the exhibition, spoke about the past present and future of Jewellery in the UK at the conference and provided a paper on her own research and reasons for selection of the works for the catalogue.

The conference included presentations from curators, educators, makers, organisations and historians from around the world, creating a great debate about the past, present and future of the jewellery industry. Collaboration, supporting each other and creating a future for those learning and passionate about the industry is high on the agenda, with the Triple Parade events, Sun Jie and his team bringing together those passionate about the industry and the opportunities that are to come.

Venue: HOW Design Center (3rd Floor of HOW Art Museum) 1, Lane 2277 Zuchongzhi Rd., Shanghai 201203, China.

This project was extended by working and collaborating with the Crafts Study Centre to exhibit the UK selected work in April 2019.

Triple Parade Web LInk


Future Craft: March 2018 (2020)

I initiated and managed the Future Craft Conference, Exhibition, Publication and Networking. Future Craft was the first in a series of biennial conferences that will offer an opportunity for discussion, engagement and debate across a broad continuum of craft.

The ‘Entrepreneurship or Enterprise?’ conference celebrated the continual innovation of the jewellery and silversmithing industry, learning, development, business and variety of contexts and markets it inhabits.

The conference sought to provide a framework for a discussion on and around Jewellery and Silvermsithing ‘Entrepreneurship or Enterprise?’ by celebrating present achievements and looking forward to exploring what the future might hold.

The next ‘Future Craft’ conference is to be hosted by Queensland College of Art Griffith University in Australia in 2020.

Future Craft Programme


Soldering for Jewellers by Rebecca Skeels: April 2017

‘Soldering for Jewellers’ available from April 24th 2017, published by The Crowood Press. Soldering is one of the most commonly used processes in jewellery, but its potential is often overlooked. This practical book explains the basics of the method but goes on to suggest ways in which soldering can be used to explore ideas and produce unique pieces. Written both for beginners and for those wishing to extend their knowledge, Soldering for Jewellers will inspire a more creative use of this key process.


Articles for magazines: Various

I contribute regularly by writing articles for publication, collaborating with various organisations to manage and contribute to symposiums, conferences and exhibitions and has built up an online profile by setting up and continually updating five Network pages for the Association for Contemporary Jewellery.

Judging panels: Various

I am also a regular participant on selection and judging panels such as Rising Stars, the Crafts Council Hothouse programme, Craft and Design awards, Surrey Artist of the Year, Milan Jewellery Week, Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair Manchester, Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District, Goldsmiths Apprentice Scheme and the Festival of Crafts.