Fibres, Threads and Fabrics: Textile Development as Material Culture in the African Diaspora

Teleica Kirkland's picture
Call for Papers
December 27, 2019
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Black History / Studies, Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, Sociology, Cultural History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies


The second biennial dress conference of the African Diaspora

Saturday 9th May 2020, University of the Arts London: London College of Fashion, London, UK

The construction and production of textiles and fabrics amongst people of African Heritage is something that has not only helped them clothe and adorn their bodies, but textiles and fabrics have been used in the restoration and establishment of dignity and the achievement of elevated social status and aggrandisement.

We must make a distinction between textiles and fabrics and how we are expecting their usage to be explored for this CFP. Textiles constitute any material which has been produced through interlacing; mulching, matting or plaiting this includes straw plaiting and fibres that are formed from tree bark, sap or other bio cultures. Fabrics are materials that are produced through weaving, knitting, crochet and bonded fibres. Due to the creativity and circumstances of the people from Africa and the African Diaspora, all of these methods of producing textiles and fabrics have been used in the creation of dress and adornment.

As a result of this resourcefulness, we understand that fabrics and textiles have very much become a part of the material culture that determines the consumption, behaviour, practices and cultural customs that verify the social reality of people of African heritage.

CIAD’s second dress conference of the African Diaspora aims to understand how the design, development, construction, and production of textiles and fabrics have been utilised for dress and adornment and used as signifiers of material culture.

PhD’s, researchers, writers, textile producers and curators are being invited to present papers using their current research, collections or other scholarly activity to discuss the many different ways people of African heritage have used fabrics and or textiles to identify and represent themselves or their cultural group; establish, maintain or elevate their social status; convey and communicate political or social messages; highlight or preserve craft practices or as a means to engage with sustainable development.

Potential speakers are being asked to submit a 300 word abstract with the title of their paper. Each speaker will be allotted twenty minutes to present their paper; slide presentations are not necessary but are welcome.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 27th December 2019. Notification of the outcome will be advised by e-mail on or before Friday 24th January 2020.

Contact Info: 

Costume Institute of the African Diaspora,

London, UK.

Contact Email: