Golsmiths, London – New Approaches to Textile History

Sourcing the Archive, New Approaches to Textile History

7 Nov – 8 Nov 2013

Goldsmiths, University of London
Lewisham Way, New Cross, London SE14 6NW

Textiles attract through their sensory appeal – their texture and weight, smell, malleability, sound, retention of owners’ and makers’ bodily traces – factors only fully appreciable through physical engagement with them. Yet many, especially modern, historians have relied – often of necessity – on documentary or visual sources to research textile history. The 2013 Pasold Conference, jointly organised by Goldsmiths Department of History and the Goldsmiths Textile Collection will explore how tacit knowledge of material and affective relationships can be traced through the words we think with (Lakoff & Johnson 1999, 2003) with a view to asking: how can our engagement with textile sources extend our knowledge of the past? What can textiles communicate that other sources cannot? Building on a range of recent events which encourage engagement with the materiality of textiles, textile archives and/or the relationship between textiles and other historical sources the Conference will seek to identify textiles’ unique contribution to the advancement of historical understanding and practices.

Goldsmiths’ acclaimed history of innovative work in the textile arts will be celebrated during the Conference with a special exhibition of material from the Goldsmiths’ Textile Collection, ‘an eclectic, international treasure trove of textiles’. There will also be an optional afternoon of object handling in the Collection to generate discussion around new ways of writing history.