Since 2014, the Skills Academy has looked to bring together the transmission of skills and the exploration of techniques, to blend practical applications with prospective work. For its third edition, it hosts twenty-one professionals of all ages: eleven artisans, six designers and four engineers. All of the participants applied to the programme seeking to hone and enrich their skills in an environment that facilitates dialogue and emulation. This singular moment in their career enables them to explore the multiple dimensions of a material that is integral to their practice, in the company of leading specialists.
The chosen theme of metal opens up a diverse range of trades and materials. From jewellery and treasure to tools and weapons, metal’s symbolism and usages were once precious and rare, until industrial alloying techniques signalled the advent of a triumphant modernity. Today, with new technologies creating a massive demand for rare metals, an examination of our intensive use of these resources seems more necessary than ever.
The Academy participants share and enrich their knowledge and skills through a series of conferences (open to the public, reservation required) overseen by authorities in fields ranging from fundamental elements to creative perspectives, from R&D to military innovation, and from architecture to locksmithing. They also attend masterclasses led by experts at metalwork studios, exhibitions, and small businesses, whilst sharing and comparing their own practices in workshops. Finally, as is the case for each edition of the Academy, the collective reflection is extended through an encyclopedic volume dedicated to the year’s theme, co-published with Actes Sud.