research / afterschool




Afterschool is the research project of the Jewellery Design department of St Lucas University College of Art & Design Antwerp that concentrates on the reinforcement of a post-graduate practice. The research team consists of jewellery designers Hilde De Decker (department head), Hilde Van der Heyden (lecturer), Pia Clauwaert (lecturer) and Liesbet Bussche (researcher). Students from the department, alumni of St Lucas and external amateurs are also closely involved in the research project.

In today’s economic and social climate, young designers and artists are compelled to be even more active in their search for creative and financial possibilities of survival. Besides their artistic work and personal vision, communication, networking and strategy play an increasingly important role. Afterschool explores, questions and intervenes in all aspects that are crucial to launch or continue a successful artist’s practice.

Afterschool focuses on ‘cultural entrepreneurship’ but challenges in particular its artistic and inherent aspects. The entire creative spectrum – from designing and making to exhibiting, promoting and selling an artwork – is examined. What change in design can deliver better communication? What can be achieved with a new styling, a strong campaign or a different setting? Are there still novel contexts in which to present work, and what will that achieve? These are already some of the questions the research team wishes to raise. Thanks to well-thought-out interventions, designers can position themselves more visibly and therefore more effectively. Naturally, the ethical and aesthetic issues that are indissolubly linked to the subject are also discussed. And that quickly reveals the boundaries of what is considered artistically (ir)responsible compromises.

Besides the artistic output, an extensive network, a clear strategy and an intensive funding policy form an important part of the proper workings of an artist’s practice. PR, branding, profiling, management and organization are discussed extensively in Afterschool. With successful practical examples, (future) designers and artists are initiated into the necessary concepts and skills of the functional management area. More productive and more profitable interventions can also lead to the professionalization of a practice.

In addition to theoretical and practice-oriented research, Afterschool also aims to function as an information platform and meeting place for beginning and more experienced artists. The research team wishes to create a ‘space’ in which new perspectives, contexts and possibilities are presented and stimulated. The research project is seen as a source of (digital) information and inspiration, and as a binding agent and creative base of operations for national and international designers and artists.

Hilde De Decker:
Hilde Van Der Heyden:
Pia Clauwaert:
Liesbet Bussche:

More information on Afterschool and other research projects of the Jewellery Design department: