Workshops and Events

Textile and Place Conference 2023

Tuesday 17 October 2023 (09:30—17:30)
Wednesday 18 October 2023 (09:30—12:30)

Manchester Metropolitan University, 153 Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6BR

The Textile and Place conference explores how textiles engage with contemporary societal and environmental challenges whilst drawing on our histories and traditions. Hosted by Manchester School of Art and in partnership with the British Textile Biennial, the 2023 conference builds upon the debates of Textile and Place conferences 2018 and 2021, which acknowledge the importance of the local discourse of textiles in the North West of England and its global connections. This year the conference will present a programme of key notes, panel discussions, films and exhibitions from international and local contributors.

Textiles is a key discipline at Manchester School of Art with roots in the design training for the city’s cotton manufacturing industry. Likewise, the British Textile Biennial 2023 programme is presented against the backdrop of the historic industrial infrastructure in Pennine Lancashire and traces the routes of fibres and fabrics across continents and centuries to and from the north of England in a series of commissions and exhibitions. Through this partnership, the Textile and Place conference will present three thematic sessions:

— Regenerative Acts: exploring sustainable relationships between the land, the people who live on it and the textiles that come out of it.

— Time, Space and Non-Places: discussing textile as future orientated, how materiality can be experienced through digital and non-physical realms.

— Collaboration in Conversation: focusing on collaborative and community forms of making.

The conference will question the regenerative potential of textiles as both a material and practice, exploring how textiles are taken from the ground and how they are returned to it. Through presentations and panel discussions we will explore how we can learn from our traditions to reimagine our future and question how textiles can act as a medium for challenging exploitative nostalgic narratives and contribute to a more resilient culture. It will then explore textile as an expanded field to consider how it describes and maps specific places but also connects with broader notions of space that we inhabit through digital and non-places.

On Wednesday 18th October, the conference will reflect upon forms of leadership found within collaborative forms of making as we move towards the opening of the ELIA conference at the School of Art on the Wednesday afternoon. Keynote and panel discussions in the morning will explore how textiles can leverage the power of indigenous heritage and use narrative making as a tool for social change. Through a series of in-conversations we will explore how textiles enable connections through community-based and collaborative practices.