” Our Universal Beads”

Location: Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo
Date: Friday 13th – Sunday 15th October 2017

Online Registration

or Download Registration Form and register offline.


The bead culture of Sarawak, part of a greater Malaysian heritage, is rooted in centuries of tradition.  An ancient maritime trading network linked Sarawak to the world; the beads most treasured today came from production centres on the Malay Peninsula, India, China and even further afield.

In the hands of Sarawak’s craftswomen and collectors, these masterpieces of the glassmaker’s art became intrinsically ‘Borneo Beads.’

The Borneo International Beads Conference links our indigenous tradition with the bead cultures of the world.


Thursday 12th October

  • 2:30pm Arrival of invited guests
  • 3:00pm Arrival of Guest-of-Honour
  • 3:00pm – 5:00pm Official Launch of BIBCO 2017
  • Tour of “BEADS ABUZZ” (beads exhibition & sales)


Full event details: PROGRAMME & CALENDAR. And if you’re staying on to explore Kuching do check out our hand-picked tours we’ve customised for you: POST-CONFERENCE TOURS



13 – 15 October, 12 noon to 6 p.m.

Hands-on workshops in the literal sense of the word : use needles, crochet hooks,  thread, string, pliers, hammers, awls and punches, even a blowtorch!



For more information, email us at


 Some of our invited Speakers

An Yia Yao, China:   ‘Chinese Beads, 600 BC to 600 AD’
This paper covers an exciting  chapter in the cultural history of China and Central Asia, where treasures of polychrome beads have been excavated over the years.An Jia Yao has led numerous key archaeological excavations, researched  ancient ceramics and glass, and her work has been widely cited by Chinese and foreign scholars alike.
Bunchar PongPanich, Thailand  ‘Ancient Beads of Southern Thailand and adjacent Regions’
This paper covers the ancient Beads of Thailand especially  the southern peninsula/Kra Isthmus,  the western region along southern Myanmar,  and the central Chao Phrya basin.Bunchar PongPanich is a medical doctor with a deep interest in the history  of his country and region. He recently published ‘Beyond Beads’.
Dora Jok, Sarawak  ‘Beads go to your Head – Beaded Hats in Borneo’
This paper is a survey of  beaded headgear found in Borneo  and the symbolic importance. The main emphasis is on the beaded hats of the Orang Ulu of Sarawak and Kalimantan.Dora Jok  is Curator of Ethnology and Collection Management in the Sarawak Museum. Her work includes the documentation of ethnographical artefacts, and editing the Sarawak Museum Journal.
Eleanor Lux, USA  ‘Native American Bead Lore and Beading Techniques’
This paper examines the various beading techniques of Native Americans, specifically the    ‘Gourd stitch’ which was first used by the Kiowa and Comanche groups.Eleanor Lux is a designer and artist who has  published widely. In 2016 Eleanor was named an ‘Arkansas Living Treasure’, an award that recognizes a lifetime of work and teaching.
Emmanuel Osakue, Nigeria  ‘Beads of West Africa’
This  paper  presents an analysis of  African Beads, and traces the role beads played in indigenous communities, with special emphasis on West AfricaDr.Emmanuel is  a Senior lecturer in Limkokwing Institute of Creative Technology.  His works and articles have been locally published, and he participates in the vibrant local arts scene.
Floor Kaspers, Netherlands  ‘Lesser-known Bead Manufacturing Centres in Europe’
This paper presents a study of European bead-making in Bohemia, France and Germany, and the influence of the Posser beadmaking process.Floor Kaspers is a researcher and artist who has studied European beadmaking traditions.  ‘Beads from Briare’, ‘Beads from Tucson’, ‘Beads from Jablonec’ and ‘Beads from Germany’.
John Miksic, Singapore  ‘The Medieval Bead Trade in Southeast Asia’
This paper examines the ancient glass and stone beads of Southeast Asia, and the influx of Chinese products on the medieval bead market of the region by about the 14th century.Dr Miksic’s  has done research on many sites in Sumatra, Java and Singapore.  He has spent nine years in Indonesia; he is now a lecturer in history at the National University of Singapore
Margaret Mueller, Australia ‘Beads of Ethiopia, Past into the Future’
This paper traces the history of Ethiopian beads and amulets, a subject that has received little serious study in the past.Margaret Mueller completed her academic studies in Fine Art and Design at Monash University, Australia. She  is President of the Melbourne Branch of the Bead Society of Victoria, Australia.
Marilee Wood, USA ‘A Medieval Whodunit’
This paper explores  the 9th century explosion in the trade of  glass beads.  It will show that intensive world trade and near-monopolies are not just a modern phenomenon.Dr.Wood is an Honorary Research Associate at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, where she studied  archaeological beads from Old World sites.
Pam Annesley, Australia ‘Metal Clay Beadmaking’
This paper, and the accompanying workshop, will be of great interest to bead-makers eager to experiment with new materials.Pam Annesley is a well-known artist and worker in metal clays and related materials