Francesca Wilcox (OD 2013), pictured below, has been busy making history, and we thought you might like to know a little more about how …
At the Dragon I enjoyed a variety of creative pursuits, including jewellery for the Dragon Sale. I studied GCSE Design and Technology Jewellery at St. Edward’s where my teacher, Sally Spencer, told me about The Goldsmith’s Centre Foundation Programme which I went on to do after A Levels. I then began working towards a Gemmology Diploma but my studies were interrupted by COVID-19 and it was uncertain when the course would resume.
In February 2021, whilst studying Horology at Birmingham City University’s School of Jewellery, a competition was announced which was open to all of the SoJ students to design the medals for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The competition started off individually and then we were put into teams of three where I worked alongside Amber Alys with Cat Caeiro for almost 18 months. This was my first large-scale project and we were there for the entire process from conception of the original designs through to manufacture. As part of the competition process, we had to present to the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee. We wanted the project to be as sustainable as possible and approximately 1,900 prize medals and over 10,000 commemorative medals were produced for the Games.
“We wanted the project to be as sustainable as possible.”
We worked on the medal design as a team and then my main focus was the ribbon. As the Games are all about being inclusive, I wanted the medal to be accessible to everyone. This is why I wanted it to be adjustable. I chose sliding straps instead of a buckle or a clip so that it would be easy to adjust for those who might not be able to see it or hold it as easily as others. It also has the added bonus that wheelchair athletes can wear it so that it sits on their sternum rather than their laps.
I have gained many new skills including media training and worked with some inspiring people. I also met people I would never have expected to, such as the Prime Minister and Earl of Wessex. However, the best part of this experience and the culmination of all our hard work was seeing the winning athletes presented with their medals. I was lucky enough to get to see some of the medal events such as Beach Volleyball and Weightlifting. Knowing that I have had a hand in creating something that the athletes will treasure is a wonderful feeling.
Congratulations Francesca on your brilliant achievement!
Let us know what you’ve been up to since your Dragon Days, we’d love to share your story.
Header Image: Francesca (far right) and her fellow winning teammates.