Seminar - Arts, Crafts, Affects

Activity: Participating in or organising an academic or articstic eventExternal workshops, courses, seminarsResearch

Ulrike Gerhardt - Organiser

Margaret Tali - Organiser

Handi/crafts have made a visible and present return in contemporary art. Many artists have found their tools of expression in traditional media which require special training and skills that are often passed down through generations. Yet these manual ancestral techniques have complex connotations which can be pinned down to their specific purposes; these range from spiritual to communicative, ecological to existential, and last but not least, economic needs.

The area of handi/craft and textile studies has long been neglected and marginalized in art history writing. Yet textile art often has a strong conceptual and epistemic grounding and the use of crafts and old techniques brings to the fore new possibilities of resistance and alternative worldbuilding. In various Eastern European countries between the late 1960s and mid-1980s, many communities were formed around textile art, transforming the genre into an experimental, progressive, and community-feeding way of art making (Hock 2013). More recently, over the last decade, textile, quilting and embroidery techniques have seen a renaissance that urges us to rethink this research field as an increasingly intertwined and interdisciplinary terrain of art, design, material culture and handi/craft.

Feminist art historians have suggested that embroidery and related media have provided women with weapons of resistance, offering a potential challenge to the boundaries between high and low, gender and class relations, and their intersections with identity, race and diasporic memories (Parker 1984, Smith 2014, Plummer 2022). In this context, embodied herstory can be understood as women’s history embedded and encrypted in gendered techniques, textures and patterns, through which this historical knowledge is being carried, lived and transformed through generations, continents and local contexts.
Seminar - Arts, Crafts, Affects


Seminar - Arts, Crafts, Affects: Documenting HerStories and Worldbuilding


Tallinn, Estonia

Event: Seminar