Gifting in Gothenburg

Good news!  Julia will be delivering a research paper at the 10th European Academy of Design conference in April 2013.  Her paper develops the research carried out through the Campaign for Objects in Purgatory.  It is called ‘Making, Gifting, Connecting’, and explores the role of hand-making in gift exchange, and the possibility of creating a positive attachment to an object through a designed process.

The EAD is an excellent platform for design research and it is exciting to have the paper accepted!   The conference will be in Gothenburg, Sweden from April 17-19 2013. The website is here:


Product Life Cycles

Laptops and mobile phones are domestic products that we sometimes grow attached to.  Do you have any old electronic devices that you can’t use, but can’t bring yourself to get rid of?

This week I went to a very interesting and valuable workshop run in connection with the RSA’s Great Recovery project.  The workshop explored the problems and possibilities connected to developing circular systems of design, production and consumption.  At the moment, design and manufacture are ‘linear’ processes that rarely consider the end of the product’s life cycle.  When a laptop or mobile phone comes to the end of it’s useful life, it is not easy to dissemble, or to extract and reuse the valuable raw materials used in its construction.

OiP website shredded hard drive

The workshop took place on the premises of S2S, who specialise in the recycling of WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), and the destruction of data.  I am fascinated by the material fragments created by shredding a hard-drive, and the thorough and secure processes used to make sure the data is permanently destroyed. Here’s a photo:


Uncherised Gifts in Bratislava!

This October the Campaign for Objects in Purgatory went on a journey to Sperkstret International Jewellery Symposium in Bratislava, Slovakia.  Julia gave a lecture about the Campaign and her practice as a jewellery designer, and ran a (very informal!) workshop exploring uncherished gifts, in the cosy café next to the Academy of Art and Design.


We had some good discussions about creating value in objects, and also about how we deal with stuff that we don’t value.  Sperkstret was a great opportunity to meet other jewellery artists and think creatively together. 


One participant told us about her Mum, for whom receiving gifts is an integral part of her job as a doctor.  After years of putting up with unwanted gifts, she started to request useful things in exchange for her support and expertise, like vegetables from the garden, or eggs from the chicken. She realised that she could break the unspoken rules of gift giving, and in doing so she has turned a dysfunctional system for accumulating things into a productive personal economy!


There were some inspirational talks given by jewellery artists, such as Jorge Manilla.  He showed some moving images from Mexican culture, such as votive offerings.  He uses with imagery that deals unequivocally with emotional extremes. Here's his website:

© Julia Keyte 2012