Five Jewellery students and Kath Duncan, a member of the jewellery teaching team, recently visited India as part of the College’s highly successful UKIERI programme, which is managed the Business Development team. The team was meeting up with two UKIERI project partners. Project Tres, based in Goa, aims to empower women through providing them with the skills to make items of jewellery and fashion accessories which are then sold internationally. The Glasgow Kelvin team spent two days with them, sharing learning on jewellery making techniques and teaching the women new skills. The team also spent time talking about gender equality and women’s empowerment and hearing some of the heart breaking but inspirational stories of the women who are now part of Project Tres.
The team then moved on to Coimbatore, in the state of Tamil Nadu, to meet with Chandrans Yuva Foundation. This organisation works with people with additional support needs, visual impairments and members of the transgender community to provide them with employment and life skills. A big part of Chandrans is jewellery making and our students and Kath spent a lot of time in discussion about the specialist techniques used to make some of their spectacular Indian jewellery. The visit generated considerable interest in the Indian media and the college featured in both newspapers and television.
The college’s partners had also arranged for the students to meet with a number of jewellery manufacturers and suppliers in Coimbatore. This was a unique opportunity to interact with major influencers in the Indian jewellery sector and to start to develop new links that could be of benefit to the college in the future.
On the last day, the delegation visited two schools in Coimbatore. These schools catered for the poorest people in India society. They are not supported by the Indian Government and rely of charitable donations. Many of the pupils, who range from 4 to 14 years old, do not have shoes or sufficient food and would not have access to any education at all if it was not for these supported schools. College students and staff spoke at length with staff at the school about the challenges that they face and how they are overcome.
This visit provided college students with a unique insight into India and showed a part of Indian society that very few westerners will ever see. It is the start of the long term relationship between the jewellery department and India and the college looks forward to welcoming colleagues from India to Scotland in 2020.