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The University of Southampton
Winchester Luxury Research Group

Future Guest Lecture

Published: 22 January 2015
Dr Peter Oakley

Dr Peter Oakley will visit WSA on the 29th April 2015 to give a guest lecture on: 'Moralising Gold Supply Chains'

During the late twentieth century the supply chains for gold were considered by the majority of consumers (when they were considered at all) to be driven by simple commercial imperatives. That notion was shattered during the first decade of the twenty-first century by the appearance of ethical campaigns, led by advocates determined to present major players in the gold industry as morally reprehensible. The ‘No Dirty Gold’ campaign sought to shift the purchasing of gold onto a moral register, in order to challenge the activities of large mining corporations. It was followed by the Fairtrade Foundation’s ‘Fairtrade Gold’ initiative, which had aspirations to support subsistence mining communities at the expense of big business. By directly targeting a luxury material and playing on its inherent social ambiguities, campaigners hoped to thoroughly moralise the purchasing of gold objects. Dr Oakley’s presentation will examine the forces behind this developing social phenomenon, describe the trajectories of a selection of major campaigns, and consider the extent to which these have impacted on public attitudes, gold miners and the actions of consumers, producers and retailers of luxury goods.


Since 2012 Dr Peter Oakley has been Research Leader for the School of Material at the Royal College of Art, supporting the development and management of staff research projects across the ceramics and glass, fashion, jewellery and metal, and textiles programmes. Through his work at the RCA Peter has acquired an extensive knowledge of a wide cross-section of the luxury goods sector.

Peter’s own research interests include the fine jewellery and watch industries and their supply chains. He has a particular interest in manufacturing using gold, precious metal assaying and the development and promotion of ethical gold sourcing initiatives and campaigns.

In the past Peter has worked on design projects and in restoration teams, lectured in the applied arts and developed university programmes for staff employed in the heritage industry. Peter is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institution, an Honorary Research Fellow at UCL, a member of the advisory board for the Sustainable Luxury Forum and a member of the editorial board for the peer-review journal Luxury: History, Culture, Consumption.

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