Sofie Boons

Sofie Boons, Research Associate

I joined the CFPR as a Research Associate and Craft Council Research Fellow as part of E3 Research England in November 2019 following a previous post at The British Academy of Jewellery as Head of Academy.

I am studying towards a PhD and my supervisory team is Sarah Bodman, Laura Morgan and Tavs Jorgenson. In the research project I am investigating the design implications, possibilities, and limits of utilising man-made crystals in the development of jewellery designs and how related processes could be introduced into contemporary jewellery practice.

In my role I collaborate with a team of researchers from a range of different disciplines and external companies in the Centre for Fine Print Research state-of-the-art laboratories, using and developing equipment, novel ideas and projects. I am working towards securing funding to develop and conduct collaborative and independent research to achieve objectives.

Prior to joining UWE I worked at the British Academy of Jewellery, where I supported the owner in the role of Head of Academy carrying responsibility for the overall leadership and management of the educational institution and its team of approximately 40 members of staff. During my tenure as Head of Academy we achieved the Matrix Standard, BAC accreditation, successfully passed ISI Inspections, and achieved an OFSTED Good Grade in the very first OFSTED inspection of the Institution. Furthermore, the Academy was registered on ROATP to continue its delivery of apprenticeships. The Academy successfully met quality and performance targets of a number of awarding and subcontracting organisations. In my role I oversaw the development of SQA Level 2-6 qualifications in Jewellery Manufacturing and Design, and achieved validation for the BA (Hons) in Jewellery Design and Production by Kingston University. Passionate promoting a culture of innovation, continuous improvement, efficiency, value for money and equality and diversity, I acted as Lead of Safeguarding and personally managed the access and participation strategy. Finally I successfully developed and managed an Erasmus + funded project in collaboration with the Hochschule Trier (Germany) and Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School (Italy).

After I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp as Bachelor ‘Jewellery Design and Silversmithing’; I finished my Masters project ‘The fifth Sense of Jewellery’ at the MAD-Faculty in Hasselt and completed postgraduate studies in ‘Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery’ at the Royal College of Art, where my work was awarded the Theo Fennell Overall Excellence Award. I have continuously worked as an independent designer producing bespoke commissions or work for international exhibitions and galleries. My research practice as an alchemical jeweller is not restricted to a certain material or technique and through collaboration with others I look for new and innovative alternatives to the traditional. (

I have extensive experience teaching in my subject and have achieved the Level 3 Award in Teaching and Learning and the Level 3 Certificate in Assessment. I am a visiting lecturer at the London College of Fashion and am regularly invited to give lectures, most recently at the Materials Research Exchange 2020 conference.

My work has been shown globally at a range of galleries and exhibitions (Valerie Traan, Antwerp Diamond Museum, Gallerie Zijsprong, Vander A Gallerie – Belgium, Shengxi Museum of Fine Arts, TAFA Art Museum, Gaugin Gallery – China, Cultural History Museum – Finland, Next Level Galerie – France, Gallery Format – Norway, Mint, Design Museum, Phillips Gallery, The Vaults Gallery – UK, Schmuckmuseum – Germany, etc) and pieces have been included in the permanent collection of Gallery Marzee.

I have been selected as One to Watch by the Design Council and was awarded STROOM and Design Vlaanderen grants.

I am the excited producer and host of the BAJ Podcast (

Design, Craft, Jewellery, Metalworking, Metallurgy, Rhino, 3D, 3D print, Object Studies, Material Innovation

Area Of Expertise
Jewellery Design/Manufacturing, Metalwork, CAD/CAM, Rendering, Drawing, Metallurgy

Research Topics/Interests
Material Innovation; Jewellery; Crystal


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