Adornment and Gender: Engaging Conversation

Documentation archive San Francisco field trip, November 2016
Adornment and Gender: Engaging Conversation examines the role that jewellery, fashion, tattoos and other forms of body adornment play in individual expressions of gender.

PRAKSIS’s 9th residency, Adornment and Gender: Engaging Conversation developed with artist, writer and curator Benjamin Lignel, in collaboration with Norwegian Crafts will focus on (I) sharing existing research, (II) discussing research methodologies within this field, (III) considering appropriate methods for disseminating sensitive material and (IV) explore the ethics that surround gathering and sharing this often personal information.

Benjamin Lignel together with PRAKSIS and Norwegian Crafts has selected a diverse group of ten talented participants from arts, crafts, jewellery, fashion and research backgrounds. These include: Tone Bjerkaas (NO), Auli Laitinen (SE), Matt Lambert (US), Nanna Melland (NO), Darja Popolitova (EE), Aleyda Rocha (MX), Mallika Roy (US), Heidi Sand (NO), Shweta Sharma (IN) and Ahmed Umar (NO).

For info about the residents follow this link

Photo from previous PRAKSIS residency

Public Events:

During the two residency sessions there will be organised events open to the public, starting with:

Meet the residents

12.30 – 16.00  26 April 2018 at PRAKSIS, Rådhusgata 19, Oslo.

This cohort of eleven residents are brought together from backgrounds that include art, craft, fashion and data ethnography, by a common engagement with the role of adornment in the expression of gender identities. Meet the residents offers a chance to get to know each resident participating in Adornment and Gender: Engaging Conversation: Tone Bjerkaas (NO), Auli Laitinen (SE), Matt Lambert (US), Benjamin Lignel (FR), Nanna Melland (NO), Darja Popolitova (EE), Aleyda Rocha (MX), Mallika Roy (US), Heidi Sand (NO), Shweta Sharma (IN), Ahmed Umar (NO). During this intimate session each resident will briefly present their practice, followed by the opportunity for questions and further discussion.

Please note places are limited // Reserve a place via this link.

Benjamin Lignel: Talk on the research to date

2 May 18.00-19.30 at PRAKSIS, Rådhusgata 19, Oslo.

Gender and adornment, a tentative discussion. On Lignel's agenda: Presentation of a cast • some intriguing images are shown • where doubts are expressed • the treasure box • knowledge situated • building on bias: Medusa • getting alternative readings • surfing on aporetic complexes • some quotes and images are discussed • possible development on Passing • the question of making things public • thank you and refreshments, during which more conversation may happen, please.

Symposium: Adornment and Gender // Engaging Conversation 

10.00 - 16.00  25 May 2018 (venue will be announced shortly).

How is adornment used to express or subvert gender identities? What ethical issues need sensitive handling in collecting and sharing personal stories? Which emerging methods of dissemination most effectively communicate such complex research?

Through the residency, Adornment and Gender: Engaging Conversation, eleven local and international residents - coming from the fields of fashion, contemporary jewellery, anthropology, performance, photography and data gathering - are working together on the hypothesis that adornment is a means to endorse and challenge the gender status quo. They are interested by the fact that this ongoing negotiation finds complex, simultaneous and incompatible expressions in craft and life. Having pooled their current research and questions, the group are keen to spend a day with you discussing the methods available today to make sensitive, personal testimonies public.

This one-day symposium looks at the role of jewellery, fashion, bod-mods and other body adornment in the expression of gendered identities with a focus on 3 main areas: (I) sharing and discussing existing research, (II) considering appropriate methods of dissemination of sensitive, personal material and (III) exploring the ethics that surround gathering and sharing sensitive or personal information.

The lineup for the day includes:

Artist, psychologist, and writer Mah Rana (UK) will present her project, Meanings and Attachments (2002 - ongoing), a worldwide series of public-participation events archiving ‘jewellery’ stories through text, audio, portrait photography and film. Rana’s practice centres around human relationships, narratives, material and experiential processes.

Loraine Furter (CH) and Sarah Magnan (FR) often work together in their practices as designers and researchers. The two will talk about ways to rethink the articulation between online and in-print, and questions of online usership.

A panel will debate the ethics of making / sharing / transmitting conversations with at-risk or marginalized communities. When is it OK to have restricted access conversations? How do issues of exploitation and voyeurism conflict with ideals of social participation?

Residents from Adornment and Gender: Engaging Conversation will identify key questions that have arisen from their collective activity, continuing and opening the discussion with the audience.

About Benjamin Lignel

Benjamin Lignel is an artist, writer and curator. He was the editor of Art Jewelry Forum between January 2013 and December 2016, and edited three books under AJF’s imprint, including the first book-length study of jewelry exhibition-making. His most recent curatorial project was Medusa, Jewellery and Taboos (2017) at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, in collaboration with Anne Dressen and Michèle Heuzé. Lignel has lectured extensively on craft, and likes to organize (or co-organize) symposia on jewellery, of which The Public and Private Lives of Jewellery (Zimmerhof, 2011), Forgetting Jewellery (Paris, 2017) and The Fuzzy, the Fake and the Double - Trouble in Ornament (Paris, 2017). He is a guest teacher at the Akademie der Bildende Künste (Nürnberg), Alchimia (Florence), Warren Wilson College (Swannanoa) and a mentor in the Handshake 4 pedagogical program (New Zealand). Lignel regularly contributes essays to magazines, monographs and museum publications, and is on the editorial advisory board of Norwegian Crafts and of the Journal of Jewellery Research.

Benjamin Lignel is currently working with co-editor Namita Wiggers towards a series of publications on adornment and gender. He lives in Montreuil (France).


Creating mixed, temporary communities for living, working, conversation and learning around themes of mutual interest, PRAKSIS’s residencies are research-intensive, responsive, high-energy experiences.

From 2016 PRAKSIS has been hosting a series of residencies exploring a variety of formats for the development of creative practice through discussion and shared experience. Each thematic residency is open to Oslo based, national and international applicants through open call with applications welcomed from anyone with relevant experience and interest. PRAKSIS´ key strategy focuses on supportive encounters between practitioners and thinkers from different backgrounds and differing career stages, both within the core residency group and Oslo's broader community.

Through these residencies PRAKSIS aims to:

  • Function as a catalyst for development of creative practice through, discourse, research and cross-cultural dialogue.
  • Increase public insight into the ideas and processes at the core of creative practice.
  • Address topics of contemporary relevance, contributing to international critical discourse.
  • Foster mutual understanding via artistic practice and international exchange.
  • Create new, lasting connections between practitioners and organisations, locally and internationally.
  • Facilitate innovative arts projects that benefit creative professionals, local organisations and the public.
  • Encourage and promote excellence through supportive dialogue.

For more info please follow link

PRAKSIS and Norwegian Crafts would like to thank OCA (Office for Contemporary Art Norway) for helping make it possible to host the international residents.