Call for Papers – Textile & Place

Exploring memory, social and political issues through textiles

From 23 to 24 April 2020, the Conference Textile and Place will take place in Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University with the aim of exploring politics through textiles. The debates will be built on the findings of the first conference also organised at MMU.

Mapping memories and places, the stories of trade and history transmission, migrations and cultural exchanges are some of the topics that will be raised during this exchange. The connections between communities, movements and alternative narratives through textile issues to be examined.

“We use the word politics as a broad term to indicate how textiles is implicated in particular places and is part of the relationships between groups or organisations and used to confront issues of power.  Textiles can fix us to a place and also be part of the process of making change.”

Invited keynote speakers are Dr. Fionna Barber, Jessica Hemmings, Assadour Markarov, and Vic McEwan.

If you wish to submit your paper, take into account some of the topics suggested:
  • Textiles as a medium of protest and activism.
  • Textile sites which represent migration and globalisation.
  • Narratives of community and social interaction encountered through textiles.
  • Responsibility, textiles and the places we live.

Submit your abstract and short bio by Friday, 8th november 2019.

The papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication in a special issue of TEXTILE: Cloth and Culture.WHO SHOULD PARTICIPATE?
We welcome papers from, textile artists, artists exploring textiles among other materials, designers, academics, early career researchers, art, fashion and textile historians, curators and archivists, ECRs, PhD candidates.We also welcome short films and audio-visual work that explore textiles and place for our ‘Film as textile site’ space.

Herero Women

I discovered Herero women in Pinterest thanks to the amazing photgraphic work made by Jim Naughten in 2012.


An amazing work featured globally by several media.

For someone like me who loves patchwork and is so interested in women´s heritage and identity, you can imagine how impressed I was, and am still, by the strength and power these dresses and their models communicate.

Today, Refinery 29 shared an amazing short video clip Herero´s Women Dresses and the struggle they confront to make the genocide (90% of the community killed) committed againts this people around 100 years ago. The media was written by Annie Georgia Greenberg with Connie Wang and published on 19 February 2018.

Indeed, Herero dresses, inspired by Victorian dresses and patterns, are a symbol of this fight against German colonialism.

Keeping alive the dresses they were forced to wear, these dresses are more than a cultural tradition, a symbol of resilience (Connie Wang).

If you wish to know more, read Hildi Hendrickson´s paper (1994) The ‘Long’ Dress and the Construction Of Herero Identities in Southern Africa

Hendrickson, Hildi. (1994). The ‘Long’ Dress and the Construction Of Herero Identities in Southern Africa. African Studies. 53. 25-54. 10.1080/00020189408707800.

This paper investigates the uses and meanings of the ‘long’ dress among Ovaherero in Namibia and Botswana. Long dress design, construction, and historical development are detailed, and the role of other Africans in the nineteenth‐century adoption of the long dress is highlighted. The dress is found to mark women’s transition to marriage and motherhood and eloquently to symbolise the responsibilities of adulthood and women’s acquiescence to them. While physically constraining, and laborious to construct and maintain, the dress celebrates women as engenderers of highly‐valued, immutable social relationships. In it, women represent Herero society, ‘traditionalism’, and history within a wider, plural socio‐political world.

Amazingly, inheritance in Herero of Namibia and Botswana s passed through the mother’s clan, while residence, religion, and authority are taken from the father’s line (Source).

To know more about genocides, you can always read recently published book: Women and Genocide: Survivors, Victims, Perpetrators by Elissa Bemporad & Joyce Warren