Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles

Over the last few weeks we’ve all had to come to terms with cancelled trips, gatherings, and celebrations. Many more plans will likely be cancelled over the coming weeks and months. For me the hardest thing hasn’t been the confinement. I’m a homebody anyway, and have grown comfortable with quiet and isolation. For me the hardest thing has been a lack of new stimulus and input. My way of coping with and processing the world involves a lot of wandering and observation, of looking at new things in new spaces, and using them to think about old things in new ways. Now that I live near London, the ever-changing parade of exhibitions and events on offer has been a welcome distraction and balm against the stresses of work and life.

Today I’m the feeling loss of this distraction acutely. As excellent as the internet and my home media library have been, entertainment you have to curate for yourself is never quite the same as entertainment curated for you by others! And it doesn’t offer the same magical feeling a ‘day out’ can grant you. Tate Britain’s Aubrey Beardsley exhibition, for instance, was something I’d been looking forward to for months. Another exhibition I’d been looking forward to was Two Temple Place’s Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles, which I had planned to visit at the end of March.

Happily, the latter has now started exploring various ways to take women’s textile collections online. The original exhibition set out to celebrate ‘seven pioneering women who saw beyond the purely functional, to reveal the extraordinary artistic, social and cultural importance of textiles’.

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Art vs Craft: Zine-Making as Feminist Practice

At the beginning of December, students and staff at Winchester School of Art (where I work) took part in a series of Critical Media Practice workshops, focused around the theme of ‘Gendering Technology’. The workshops developed practical skills, but also explored the gendered dimensions of technology’s access and use, and the framing of debates around gender identities and technology. Together with digital media scholar Mihaela Brebenel, I ran one of these workshops, and the topic of our session was ‘Zine-Making as Feminist Practice’. You can find the session slides here. The workshop was inspired by my previous experiences with zine-making at Feminist Archive South, by the fabulous work done by Anti-Precarity Cymru to raise awareness about casualisation and neoliberalisation in academia (including a 2019 calendar!), and by an article by Carly and Jennifer Jean Bagelman.

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