Jump to main content

Pforzheim Scholarship revisited - Berlin

“This is a dream!” That was Christiane Köhne’s reaction years ago on being an artist-in-residence at Deutsches Technikmuseum. As one of 19 scholarship holders who, since 2011, have had the opportunity to use the historical machines in the “Manufactory Jewelry Production” exhibition workshop in order to develop modern designs.

Artists in Residence

A young woman uses tongs to retrieve finished pewter castings from a yellow rubber mold.
Luisa Fastabend (scholarship holder 2015) studied the centrifugal casting process intensively. Since 2006 she has used the knowledge thus acquired to support the German Museum of Technology by working as a demonstrator in the jewelry workshop.

The scholarship is intended for graduates of the jewelry course at Pforzheim University. Every year an international jury selects one or two scholarship recipients from the list of applicants who then have the opportunity to work for three to six months in the museum’s jewelry workshop. The Artist-in-Residence grant is a joint project of the Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin and the C. Hafner Gold and Silver Refinery. Together they seek to preserve the knowledge and skills of the endangered artisanal manufacturing techniques for jewelry and support young jewelry designers in their creative work.

The scholarship is part of the “Manufactory Jewelry Design” project, which was given the “Best Practice” designation in 2015 by the German UNESCO Commission. The project is an example of how museums can not only preserve tangible objects, but intangible cultural heritage as well. The project gives young designers access to machines and tools that are rarely seen outside of a museum – and especially not ones that are operative. They will be taught how to use the machines by the jewelry production staff and can then work independently on their designs.

A young man is sitting at a goldsmith table soldering a bracelet.
Fabian Jäger was the first scholarship holder in 2011. Today he works as the workshop supervisor and property manager in the EMMA creative center in Pforzheim, where he imparts knowledge about handmade jewelry production to other creative professionals.

Visitors to the Deutsches Technikmuseum have the opportunity to see the historical machines in action in the jewelry workshop. Both the scholarship holders and the tour guides demonstrating the machines are happy to provide insight into jewelry production. The fact that the historical machines and tools are not used to artificially reproduce a previous production but rather harnessed to develop new modern designs is what makes this exhibit distinctive. The museum workshop and its exhibits are thus brought back to life. Research, experimentation and considerable creativity stand at the center of the workshop’s activities. The resulting products range from art objects to serially produced jewelry pieces.

You can find out more about the scholarship on the blog (in German) kept by the scholarship holders during their stay at the Deutsches Technikmuseum. They use the blog to document their overall impressions as well as their production steps.


Invitation card for the opening of the exhibition

10 Year Anniversary

The scholarship will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2021. The festivities included an exhibition put on by the Deutsches Technikmuseum in cooperation with the Noon Gallery in Berlin. Interested parties were cordially invited to take a look at ten years worth of work that the scholarship has produced. Many of the artists were at the opening in person.

Selected pieces will be presented in the gallery until Christmas.