Touring Brooches ACJ exhibition Meaning and Messages

Meanings and Messages – ACJ’s 25th Anniversary Touring Exhibition 

New Brewery Arts 

4th April – 18th June 2023 

The Association for Contemporary Jewellery presents a major touring exhibition, showcasing 60 brooches from 60 current members. With one of the brooches having been created by me, Catherine Marche  .

The show also includes work from members in the UK, Australia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Hungary, Taiwan, USA, and US Virgin Islands.

Materials include PLA filament, jesmonite, paper, silver and gold, aluminium, copper, enamels, wood, textiles, ceramics, semi-precious stones, fur, and an array of found objects – gramophone needles, leather gloves, spent bullet cartridges, military ribbon, and denatured citrus fruit peel.

An Exhibition of Brooches

We have chosen to focus on brooches for this exhibition, as they form the ideal jewellery archetype for conveying meanings and messages. Brooches can be subversive and are often used by people in the public eye, political figures, or sovereignty to convey important messages. These messages may be hidden, subtle or more of an overt protest!

The response to the brief from our membership is diverse - with many drawing on global challenges such as climate change, social justice, governance, resources, pollution, pandemics, and conflict. Several of our members created works that form personal tributes to loved ones and heroes. The beauty of the natural world plays a prominent role, either by capturing the wonder of life around us, or serving as a reminder of the impact we have as custodians of our planet. Equally, the response within these themes varies greatly, with some creating works that speak of the wider impact around the globe and others crafting personal narratives about how these challenges have impacted them personally.

Meanings and Messages is curated into six distinct themes

This enables us to invite the audience to view them as a frieze of related objects, that may spark dialogues between the brooches - as well as encourage conversations and reflections from viewers.

The brooches are exhibited without the artists statements being shown alongside them – encouraging the audiences to give their own responses to the works and imagine for themselves what the meanings and messages might be. For those wanting to uncover the true intentions behind each work – the statements can be found in our catalogue.

Through this exhibition we aim to share contemporary jewellery with new audiences and communities. Many of our venues and partnerships are new relationships for the ACJ in its 25th anniversary year. The move towards the audience playing a larger role in participating with the works is reflected in a co-created programme of talks, residencies, and workshops across our 6 venues.


Stepping Out Brooch by Catherine Marche - rabbit fur, sterling silver, cultured freshwater pearl, nylon, pmc

Touring Programme

  • St George’s Arts Centre - Gravesham Borough Council - in partnership with LV21 – 30th April 2022 – 29th May 2022

  • Exeter University – Conference Pop Up exhibition - 1st -3rd July 2022

  • Vittoria Street Gallery – Birmingham School of Jewellery – 19th September- 28th October 2022

  • Mission Gallery in partnership with Swansea College of Art UWTSD – 16th November – 21st December 2022

  • Goldsmiths’ Centre – 9th January – 24th February 2023

  • New Brewery Arts – 4th April – 18th June 2023

The exhibitors were selected by an expert panel consisting of

Melanie Eddy – Designer, Educator and ACJ Director

Dairu Han - Year 3 BA student - Birmingham SOJ

John Moore – Artist

Debika Ray – Acting editor of Crafts magazine

Rebecca van Rooijen – Benchpeg Co-Founder and Editor

Exhibition Manager - Joanne Haywood

For more Information,