Jewellery Girls Q&A: Caroline Broadhead, CSM

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The BA course leader on the school’s successful female students.

As part of our Jewellery Girls Rule issue for July, Professional Jeweller heard from 21 females leading their sector of the UK jewellery industry about the challenges of today’s business, making their mark and their inspirations. Today we hear from Caroline Broadhead, the course leader for the BA Jewellery course at Central Saint Martins.

Professional Jeweller: Tell us about your career to date. What is your background and how long have you been teaching jewellery at CSM?
Caroline Broadhead: After graduating from Central School of Art and Design (as it was known then) in 1972, I set up my own practice in Covent Garden, sharing workshop space with two colleagues. My work explored value, movement and change in various different materials and it developed into hybrid work in the area between clothing and jewellery. I also set up and ran a business with Nuala Jamison, making buttons and acrylic jewellery for Jean Muir and other dress designers. Over time, the concerns of my work developed to other things that come into contact with or represent the body: shadows, clothing, chairs which have been exhibited widely internationally as well as large scale installations. I also collaborate with choreographers, designing for dance and performance. I have been the course leader for BA Jewellery at Central Saint Martins for four years now. Previously, I taught at Middlesex University for many years part time, so this is my first full time job.

PJ: In your role as a course tutor you must see lots of future design talent; which female designers have stood out or gone on to become successful designers in recent years?
CB: I see many talented students who do extraordinary things. The students are predominately women so I have many to choose from. Notable CSM graduates include Maiko Takeda and Hollie Paxton. They are both finishing at the Royal College of Art this year. Hollie Bonneville Barden, who graduated in 2009, is now head designer at De Beers. Last year’s graduate Caroline Kernick is at Van Cleef & Arpels in Paris and many others are key players in the industry here and abroad.

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PJ: Where do you see the jewellery industry heading in the next few years?
CB: Ethical practice and sourcing of materials is a growing concern. The awareness of the damage to the environment and to the workforce in extracting traditional jewellery materials from the ground is increasing and there is a movement to promote ethically sourced materials. I hope the jewellery industry takes note and acts soon.

PJ: Who do you consider inspiring female figures in the UK jewellery or luxury goods industries?
CB: Since I have been at CSM I have come into contact with many people who are keen to build a relationship with the course, donating equipment, funds and student awards. These are longsighted gestures to maintain and develop the creative future of the industry. Among them are successful women such as Solange Azagury-Partridge, Nadja Swarovski and Corinne Avakian who have all been extremely generous in their patronage of young talent. It is an inspiration and a pleasure to work with them.

To read the Jewellery Girls Rule issue in full online, click here

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