Contemporary British Silversmiths
SKILLS TRAINING PROGRAMME
Protecting skills for future generations
The Contemporary British Silversmiths Skills Training Programme is a national training programme run by silversmiths for silversmiths, and delivered through a peer mentoring and learning model. It responds to industry demand for skills training for makers, while creating the next generation of tutors.
Conceived by Rauni Higson, former Chair of Contemporary British Silversmiths, and developed with Tony Bedford, it launched in 2017 in partnership with the Goldsmiths’ Centre with the first courses running in 2018. The programme is now managed by the Contemporary British Silversmiths Charity.
Our aim is to create a virtuous circle of skills transfer to protect and pass on essential skills and techniques for the future. We do this by harnessing the experience of master silversmiths such as Tony Bedford, Ray Walton, Michael McCrory, Brett Payne and Rod Kelly, to teach and develop course content and learning resources.
We deliver residential courses with face-to-face learning in specialist workshops, creating a supportive environment where learning, skills sharing and networking continues beyond the teaching environment. Supporting the development and cohesion of our silversmith community is an important aspect of the programme.
We also recognise the opportunity of digital programing to provide support, facilitate skills-transfer, peer mentoring and learning which we deliver through online courses, seminars, resources and discussion groups. Our Technical Zooms are part of the community-driven aspect of Contemporary British Silversmiths and are free to all members. They are an informal opportunity for our members, regardless of their skillset, to share knowledge and develop connections with other makers. They are focused on different technical themes and often are the result of conversations from the CBS WhatsApp discussion group where members are able to share tips and ask for technical advice. Recordings of the Technical Zooms are available as a resource for members along with our Top Tips videos.
The CBS Skills Training Programme is led by Rauni Higson with a Steering Committee including Tony Bedford, Abigail Brown, James Dougall, Cara Murphy and Ray Walton.
TRANSFORMING TRAINING FOR SILVERSMITHS
‘The majority of craftspeople work on their own, so it’s nice to know there are infrastructures and communities out there to help.’
- Cara Murphy, Silversmith
Courses are currently available to Graduate and Full members of Contemporary British Silversmiths. Through the generous support of our partners, we are able to offer subsidised participation for CBS members and aim to keep all associated costs as low as possible. If you are a practising silversmith and are interested in becoming a member, please get in touch.
To date we have successfully delivered courses held across the UK at locations in North Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Birmingham, Sheffield and London as well as online-distance learning courses.
INTRODUCTION TO HINGE-MAKING
Tutor: Ray Walton
Format: Online distance learning with students in their own workshops
Date: 12 May - 9 June
BOX-MAKING INCORPORATING HINGES
Tutor: Ray Walton
Format: 5-day residential course
Venue: The Goldsmiths’ Centre, London
Date: 8 - 12 August
MAKING A PAIR OF HOLLOW-FORM OBJECTS USING RAISING OR SEAM-RAISING
Tutor: Tony Bedford
Format: 6-day residential course
Venue: Yorkshire Art Space, Sheffield
Date: 22 - 27 August
The following courses have been successfully delivered and have accompanying teaching resources. Please contact us if you would like to see any of these offered again or have suggestions for other topics.
PARTNERSHIP, SPONSORSHIP & SUPPORT
We are very grateful to The Goldsmiths’ Centre, The Clothworkers’Company and South Square Trust for partnering with us to deliver our programme, and to Argex for enabling all beneficiaries and tutors to work with silver.
We are also grateful to The Pearson Silver Foundation and the Incorporation of Goldsmiths for sharing and supporting our vision at the outset.
We welcome approaches for support from organisations and individuals to help the next generation of makers develop skills, run successful silversmithing businesses and preserve heritage crafts. We are also very interested to hear from like-minded organisations and institutions who may want to run courses in partnership with us.