Friday, 4 May 2012


I am very sad not to be able to attend the 44th Zimmerhof symposium, a key event in the world of contemporary jewellery taking place on June 7th-10th, 2012 in Bad Rappenau-Zimmerhof (Germany). Although I usually report only about events I do attend, I can’t help but mention it in this blog as this year’s program promises to be exciting, not only because it was put together by my fellows from the jewellery association la garantie!

Zimmerhof is a yearly reunion of around 200 members of the jewellery field - students, makers, designers and historians - taking place in an impressive old farmhouse estate in Bad Rappenau-Zimmerhof, a small town situated between Heidelberg and Heilbronn in the state of Baden-Wuertemberg, south Germany.


Bar and conference

While the four-day event revolves around talks and presentations, it also provides the opportunity to chat at length with those peers we often only ‘bump into’ in other events: it’s an occasion to exchange information, communicate about one’s work, and generally have a good time together.

Luxe, calme et volupté

 Sports and games

In order to keep both the attendants and the organisers on their toes, the lectures are always organised by a different team of jewellery professionals: two, sometimes three, people choose a theme, and select a roster of international speakers accordingly. The speakers come from Spain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, and France. According to the tradition, visitors are encouraged to bring a couple of their own pieces, which are shown on Friday night on the now legendary Schmucktisch (jewellery table). The 2012 edition will also stage the first jewellery Pecha-Kucha (more on facebook).

La garantie, in charge of this year’s program, is a French association whose purpose is to promote jewellery outside its primary audience of specialists, to reflect on and compare the different ‘types’ of jewellery, from the traditional to the post-disciplinary, through various approaches: historical contextualisation, the confrontation of current practices, the promotion and critical analysis of contemporary trends. 

The organisation team has chosen “the public and private lives of jewellery” as the general theme for this edition. On the first two days, the program will tackle the different public spaces in which contemporary jewellery can be found and how actors in the field have sought to challenge the boundaries between those spaces. The last two days will focus more specifically on the private space (how ownership transforms jewellery) and the body.

As the organisers say: “Our aim, in choosing this theme, is to deal with issues that have cropped up recently in opinion pieces and academic texts, and in contemporary practice: how makers sometimes produce for museums, and forget the user; how museums in turn try to propose ‘hands-on’ exhibition projects; how some individuals have literally gone ‘on the street’ to meet the user; how the body is at once a destination, a reference, and an arena of transformation. In short, we intend to provide a platform for debate on the exciting and problematic to and fro of contemporary jewellery between maker, wearer and institution”.

The organisers also hope that the program will give the attendees an opportunity to test a growing interest in the field for exhibition design against the larger historical and theoretical context of museology & (contemporary) jewellery exhibition history.

Last but not least - as the mandate of la garantie is not only to organise, but also to disseminate research & ideas on jewellery - the results of the symposium will be published both online and in print. I will be impatiently waiting for them!

Accommodation in the “barn”

For those lucky enough to be available, they can register until 10th May 2012 and find all details, including the program, the organisation team, accommodation, and travel on the symposium website.

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