AJF Website Standards
As an organization, AJF has varying responsibilities and these affect the content published on our website. While the organization is committed to commissioning high-quality texts about contemporary art jewelry from established writers and thinkers, we are also committed to helping to develop new writers and thinkers in the field. Taking the opportunity to work with unproven writers to develop the resources of our sector means the quality of the site’s content may appear uneven.
While some of our site’s content will relate to the very best in contemporary art jewelry, other content will concern itself with jewelry that may not have achieved recognized success. This is because AJF has a responsibility to engage with the sector as a whole, not just those aspects of contemporary art jewelry that represent the highest levels of practice.
We recognize that the diversity of AJF’s membership and its historical origins mean the organization will publish different genres of content on our website in hopes of achieving the proper balance necessary to serve all. Examples include academic essays, blog-style polemics, reviews, personal statements, journalistic coverage and so on. It is important that AJF respect and encourage this approach to contemporary art jewelry.
We also want to acknowledge the difficult challenge AJF faces when producing critical reviews in a field that has resisted serious and considered statements expressing opinions or points of view. Although critical dialogue has flourished in academic settings, thoughtful and informed documentation of the concepts and expectations of the field have been few and far between. It is our belief that an honest appraisal of the work and products related to contemporary art jewelry is vital to a healthy cultural environment. Legitimacy for contemporary art jewelry is won by forming convincing arguments for its value in the conceptual, as well as financial, realm.
Undergirding the content that AJF publishes on its website is a concern with ethical standards and appropriate relationships. It is difficult to provide a set of rules, but AJF should be very careful to maintain an ethical approach in its commissioning and accepting of content.
It is important that AJF identify the different ethical responsibilities involved in any situation. For example, organizers of an event, or curators of an exhibition, cannot review their own event or exhibition because of conflict of interest. AJF has responsibilities of independence and critical thinking whereas organizers or curators have primary responsibilities to the funders, institutions and makers involved. However, they may provide a statement about what their intentions are and how they have gone about their task – and whether, from their point of view, the exhibition or event was successful or not. For similar reasons jewelers cannot review their own work, but can provide an artist statement.
In a relatively small sector like contemporary art jewelry, there will often be conflicting responsibilities and obligations. It is AJF’s task to identify these and, if they can’t be avoided, declare them to our readers. It is AJF’s responsibility when commissioning and accepting content for the website to ask about possible conflicts of interest and networks of obligations that might affect the writer’s ability to perform the task we are wanting them to undertake. When such conflicts or obligations arise, it is AJF’s responsibility to find solutions.
AJF walks a fine line between the need to maintain the integrity and independence that allow our readers to rely on our judgment and our responsibilities to member galleries and other funders. This tension can be managed, as long as we are alert to the dangers and strive to ensure that we always behave ethically.