Introducing the HANDSHAKE model

The HANDSHAKE project (HS) selects emerging New Zealand jewellery artists and allows them to develop ideas and work for a succession of exhibitions with the assistance of a chosen or appointed mentor. After two projects, a fresh selection of the previous HANDSHAKE projects got new opportunities to develop work for a number of exciting challenges that can include collaborations and national and international exhibitions. The progressive nature of the programme aims to build independent makers with an innovative and energetic practice.

The project began in February 2011, and was created by Wellington-based artist, curator, tutor and jewellery activist Peter Deckers. The idea was born out of recognition of the need for ongoing support for talented New Zealand graduates after completing their jewellery or art study. HANDSHAKE reverses the old apprentice model, whereby a mentee works for a mentor – here the mentor, through feedback and support in the development of ideas and presentation, works more for the mentee.

HANDSHAKE puts on a series of exhibitions for each project. These are unique, purpose made and a natural progression of each makers’ work from their former exhibition.

The HANDSHAKE project (HS) model was piloted in 2011 and has proven to be a unique way for emerging New Zealand jewellery artists to develop skills that build upon a serious art practice. It includes mentoring feedback and professional development with an extensive exhibition programme. This multifaceted project gives these artists numerous opportunities that inspire development and networking.

HANDSHAKE is a space where established artists hand over some of their quality knowledge to those asking for a ‘hand’; it is a two-way project that encourages symbiosis and give & take. HANDSHAKE offers two stages: the first stage is with a mentor followed up with a programme without their mentor. In the second stage, the mentor becomes their colleague and in most cases their collaborator. This allows the HS artist to develop into an independent maker.

The series of exhibitions for each project are purpose made to inspire the natural progression of each maker’s work. Therefore no HANDSHAKE exhibition is the same.

Each project is recorded and reflected on the HANDSHAKE website ( which also includes current and past developments and their outcomes. Blog posts, documented exhibitions, publications and exhibition catalogues form together a solid archival package that can be shared around the world.

The HANDSHAKE project could only succeed thanks to the continued funding of Creative New Zealand, support of Whitireia NZ, Makers 101, JEMbooks, those who donated their expertise and all others involved.


   watch this video

View data of all HANDSHAKE projects


HANDSHAKE is funded by CNZ with the core support of Whitireia NZ, Makers 101 and JEMbooks


Pin It on Pinterest