Alice Creischer
Social Fabric Symposium
Mar 10, 2012


This symposium brings together a dynamic group of writers, curators and artists working with textiles. Taking Iniva's Social Fabric exhibition as its starting point, it aims to explore textile production and consumption in relation to global trade, labour and radical politics.

Morning Session: SOCIAL FABRIC

Professor Sarat Maharaj
Professor Maharaj will set the pace by teasing out the main structures of thinking and some key concepts around ‘social fabric' for the day.

Artist's Presentation
Sudhir Patwardhan
(Social Fabric exhibiting artist)
Drawing on his personal knowledge of the history of the textile workers in Lower Parel (the mill district of Mumbai), Patwardhan will discuss the representation of class in his work; the difficulties of representing individual workers belonging to a ‘working class' post 1980s and the simultaneous but contradictory aspect of the growing segregation of classes in the city of Mumbai.

Professor John Hutnyk
(Goldsmiths, University of London)
Professor Hutnyk will help us to make sense of the references to Karl Marx in the Social Fabric exhibition by setting them into the wider context of Marx's writings on cloth and the factory system. He will also explore issues around the trade monopoly that was the East India Company.

Grant Watson/ Alice Creischer
(Social Fabric exhibiting artist)
Social Fabric curator, Grant Watson and artist Alice Creischer in conversation.

Lunchtime tour of the Social Fabric exhibition at Rivington Place

Afternoon Session: TEXTILES IN ART

Professor Janis Jefferies
(Goldsmiths, University of London)
Professor Jefferies will be opening the afternoon session with a reflection on key moments within the history of textiles in art in Britain, drawing on her vast experience and knowledge of the field, setting Social Fabric into this context and reflecting on pivotal shows such as Woven Air, which she curated at the Whitechapel Gallery.

Carol Tulloch
(TrAIN Senior Research Fellow)
Harmonious Possibilities: the use of textiles in the exhibitions ‘A Riot of Our Own' and ‘Handmade Tales: Women and Domestic Crafts'
Exhibitions on Britain's Rock Against Movement (1976-1981) and domestic crafts may seem worlds apart. Tulloch initiated shows on these subjects in 2008 and 2010. One of her concerns was to explore harmonious coexistences in Britain between different cultural groups. The significance of textiles in these exhibitions was considerable, notably within the context of activism, contemplation and self-definition.

Slavs and Tatars
and Kit Hammonds (RCA) 
Slavs and Tatars will give an overview of the use of textiles within the work of arts collective. This will be followed by a conversation between Sharifi and curator, Kit Hammonds.

Joana Vasconcelos
A documentary on Joana Vasconcelos' piece Valkyrie Trousseau, 2009. This documentary shows the collaboration between Joana and a community of artisans from Nisa (a small town in the Alentejo region, Portugal, renowned for its arts and crafts), as well as the work process and also features interviews with women artisans who are the protagonists of a unique tradition in Portugal.