MFA Program

Alchimia Master’s Degree Program in Contemporary Jewellery and Body Ornament

Alchimia’s MFA program develops over a two-year period with the aim to expand and deepen the students’ knowledge and skills in studio-based jewellery design. The program is intended to generate further critical understanding in and of the discipline, strengthen individual artistic approaches and positions, and investigate new possibilities for marketing and promotion.

The objective of the course is to render the students independent and qualitatively highly prepared in every aspect of their work, not only including research, creation, and production, but also networking, and exhibiting and self-presentation in relation to galleries and collectors. Therefore, in the second year of the program, students are not required to live in Florence, but can choose any city in Europe as their base. A personal tutor appointed by the school will follow their developments, while intensive workshops, seminars, and training periods are held in Florence.

Special attention is put on the ability to position one’s own work within a contemporary context and to critically evaluate and debate one’s progress. The program also involves more collective activities, such as the realization of events, comprising the complete production process — including fundraising, curating, and writing the appropriate texts.
The students enrolled in our second year of the MFA, who would like to stay in Florence, have the access to a workshop space exclusively designed for them.

First Year

Presence in Florence is mandatory in the first year of the program.

During the first year, the main focus for the students is defining their Personal Project. This first phase of research explores design methodologies in different contexts, technical and digital inductions, introduces emerging technologies and new materials, and helps the students refine their presentation skills. Set projects, such as seminars, technical and conceptual workshops, exhibitions, and group critiques, will run alongside to implement individual research.

Students are expected to develop and deepen ideas for the definition of the Personal Project on an individual basis, managing their time between the more group-oriented activities. By the end of the year, the students are expected to have developed their contextual, critical, and research skills in order to fully concentrate on their Personal Project during their second year.

The curriculum culminates in an exhibition, which presents the outcomes of the first year of experience, and in the submission of a dissertation on the Personal Project, to be carried out during the second year.

Main Areas of Study:
For a detailed course catalog, contact the school office.

New Perspectives in Modern & Contemporary Art History
This course offers a stimulating, rigorous and wide-ranging, and organic exploration of the development of modern and contemporary art history. Rooted in both historical and critical methods, as seen from several perspectives, such as; the eyes of artists, art historians, historians, philosophers, and curators. The course is designed to combine skills in creative and precise visual analysis, close reading of texts, and the cultivation of independent and original thinking and research. Throughout the course, each student will be asked to research and react on specific themes through the context of art history; body related art being one example.

Goldsmithing & Technical Jewelry Lab Specializiation
Professional techniques and skills of jewelry making and manufacturing are explored. The emphasis is put on the creative and intellectual development in conjunction with refinement of technical skills. The use of specialized techniques for particular materials in jewelry making are paired with the use of sophisticated tools and machines to allow the students to further trust in their creative processes and give them confidence in making as well as the possibility to take bold decisions.

Jewelry Photography & Digital Photo Processing
Students will work with the basics of still life photography with a special focus on jewelry. In this course the students learn how to take documentary images of their jewelry, acquiring a basic knowledge of proper object display, cleaning and processing for image clarity, consistency of style, and a knowledge of file management suitable for print use, web display and competition/ application entries. The course will deal with all aspects of the subject including the shape and position, and how these and surface relate to the lighting and background. A particular focus will be on the various possibilities in the postproduction of the images.

Material Experimentation
This course will teach students advanced methods in the selection, testing, and appropriate use of materials, processes, and techniques associated with jewelry design and fabrication using both hands-on skills and modern technology. They will enhance their ability in choosing the appropriate materials, media, methods, techniques, technologies and precise tools allowing them to successfully integrate and balance the creative and practical aspects of their projects. Students will decide the nature and direction of their projects and thus are encouraged to take full responsibility for the management of their experimentation. They are expected to demonstrate a capacity for in-depth research and a high level of insight, critical judgment, creativity, and technical competence in accordance to a graduate level of study.

Research Methodologies & Processes
This course is designed to teach students to utilize materials, media, techniques, methods, technology and tools with precision, skill, and creativity. In conjunction with the Material Experimentation course and through the duration of this course, students will choose the nature of their project and participate in informal, working critique sessions. At the end of the course each student will need to give a presentation to the group employing the essential use of communication, which is such an important in process the professional practice of an art jeweler.

Second Year

Presence in Florence is not mandatory during the second year.
The students enrolled in our second year of Master, who would like to stay in Florence, have the access to a workshop space exclusively designed for them.
During the second year, students finalize their Personal Project by setting up their own studio space in a location of their choice, gathering in Florence only at given intervals for critical review, seminars, and workshops. During this phase, the students will more broadly reflect on their work in relation to contemporary cultural production and discourse. The aim of this phase is to strengthen their individual positions as designers and artists, learn how to critically evaluate their work, and how to present it within an exhibition context. The students are responsible for the development of their Project, according to a schedule that is subject to a timetable of deadlines for delivery and review throughout the year. The second year concludes with the realization of a solo exhibition and a catalog or artist book by each student.

Main Fields of Study:
For a detailed course catalog and program, please contact the school office.

Advanced 3d Digital Design
In this course, students will be introduced to the techniques of design for digital fabrication through the translation of their designs into digital objects. Students will become familiar with the software necessary to produce constructions for 3D printing and how to effectively design their pieces in a way that will be compatible in a 3D printed format. Issues of digital craft and construction assembly will be informed by the functional, aesthetic, and theoretical ambitions of the work.

Cultural Analysis Trough The Arts
Designed to investigate cultural heritage and intercultural relations in order to manage and develop individual artistic identities and effective interaction with others, this course guides students through a process of collaboration, group work, and negotiation. Cultural heritage and identity are major concerns in contemporary society and present enormous creative possibilities. Lessons are designed to awaken awareness of both ones individual cultural heritage and the understanding and promotion of diversity. Its final goal is to enhance and further develop one’s self-reliance, original thinking, independence, and self-confidence as an artist.

Exhibition Curating for the Applied Arts
Practical and theoretical features in curating are dealt with in a practice-based exercise in which the students present a proposal for an exhibition, including reflections on all aspects of curating, such as artistic, logistic, economic, and financial issues. A particular focus will be given to the development of oral and written communication skills to clearly define and articulate their opinions, ideas, intentions, and outcomes. Students will learn to oversee every detail of the production and organization of an exhibition. This will include researching the social context, possible audience, and any additions aspects that may arise. The combination of historical/ critical study, case study analysis, and qualitative empirical research will help define and examine the curatorial practice from various viewpoints to aid in a successful display.

Visual Communication Development
This course explores the diverse situations in the contemporary jewelry market and explains how to undertake the making of jewelry safely and efficiently, observing professional working practices. It helps teach students to communicate ideas and information effectively in visual forms and present the materials in a variety of situations. On completion of this program of this course the student will be able to successfully use a wide range of sources to generate, select, develop and present innovative solutions for the communication of his/ her work through the production of a book, website, artist statement, and final presentation.

Guided Professional Research
Through discussions with the principal professors, students initiate a program of study within negotiated sessions. Students determine the nature and direction of their practical work and thus are encouraged to take full responsibility of the management of their project. They have to develop a range of strategies and methods to enhance their creative practice, study, research and self-sufficiency. They need to develop their initial ideas through to finished pieces that demonstrate knowledge and understanding of various jewelry designs and making processes. The goal of this course is to give the students the means to identify personal strengths and needs, accommodate to changes, and work within contexts of ambiguity, uncertainty and unfamiliarity.

Independent Professional Practice
At this final stage of the program the students are provided with a tutor who follows them as they refine an expansive body of work over a 6-month period. The work will reflect the individual’s competence in their chosen area of specialization and also provides the opportunity for the artist to reflect on their own practical and academic development. In addition, this course enables students to confirm and fully take advantage of their emerging knowledge and understanding of the materials, processes and techniques in their chosen specialization. This allows them to affirm their personal design identity. It is an opportunity to focus their energies on the production of a concept or theme based, signature collection that is suitable for inclusion in a public exhibition of their work.

Marketing and Web Development
This course will cover the major developments in current and emerging media and technologies and their implications and potential for the communication of concepts, ideas, and artworks. The students will learn how to efficiently use the contemporary marketing tools and they will learn to analyze and employ trend forecasting and examine methodically cultural and sociological issues in order to utilize them successfully in their design and marketing concepts.

Thesis
At the end of the MFA program, students are required to present all their valuable research that is completed through out the 2 years of study in a form of a book and a solo exhibition. Accentuating all of what they have learned in the courses of curating, creative writing, cultural analysis and creative processes in a concrete and tangible way. The program aim is to complete a professional body of work presented to the public as a start of an independent career.

For a detailed course catalog, contact the school office at info@alchimia.it.

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