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CIAD to organise biennial international dress conference

Mar '20
Pic: Costume Institute of the African Diaspora (CIAD)
Pic: Costume Institute of the African Diaspora (CIAD)
The Costume Institute of the African Diaspora (CIAD) will host its 2nd biennial conference to look at how fabrics and textiles have been utilised within global communities of African heritage to document their social histories on May 9 at London College of Fashion (UAL). The event will be research based exploring fibres, threads and fabric of African diaspora.

The conference will bring together academics and researchers from across the world working in the field of material culture, African fashion, film studies and textiles.

“I want people to be able to understand that the development and use of everyday items of fabric and clothing starts at the level of fibre creation and the weaving of threads. That within these woven, knitted matted structures is the foundation of our lives and the essence of our existences,” said Teleica Kirkland, founder & creative director, CIAD.

Due to the unique conditions of these interwoven realities, fabric and textiles within many communities of African heritage, start life out as one thing and finish life as something completely different. A wrapper, head tie or scarf, might become a skirt or a shirt or an embodiment of ritualistic practice. From there it might go on to be a cushion cover or something else entirely before it ends its life generations later as a rag or a dolls dress.

This embedded process of reuse, recycle, renew and the narratives that they inhabit are the stories told through these aspects of material culture that carry the essence of African heritage. These important narratives are largely left out of mainstream conversations, specifically omitted from the current buzz of sustainability, thus further erasing this innovative approach to sustainable practice as used by people of the African diaspora.

Travelling from Brazil, through the Caribbean to Botswana and beyond, the conference will address three main themes: Creative Economy and Sustainability, Identity and Representation and Resistance. Alongside these panels, CIAD will introduce keynote speaker Dr Carol Ann Dixon, who will set the tone of the conference. Presenting a paper titled ‘Textured Materialities’, Dr Dixon will spotlight eight cities regarded as key centres of creative influence across Africa and high-profile artists of the same region and its diasporas to explore the significance of objects of material culture for the construction and expression of individual and collective identities in the twenty-first century. There will also be a unique opportunity to participate in an Adinkra cloth printing workshop led by Daniel Antwi, a generational custodial of the sacred symbols.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (PC)

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