London College of Fashion Panel Discussion


London College Of Fashion Panel Discussion

London College Of Fashion, London

John Princess Street
Wednesday 5th February 2020 5:30pm-7:30pm

A panel discussion 'This is not just a piece of cloth. Care-full entanglements', followed by drinks reception.

Invited panellists Sera Waters, Catherine Dormor, Alexandra M Kokoli, Kimberly Wahl, Ellen Sampson and Tracey Moberly

Organised by Basia Sliwinska and Caroline Stevenson.

This event is free but you need to register

This panel discussion addresses female disruptive agency executed through textile work.

This is part of UAL Research Season.

Rosa Luxemburg (1898), a Polish-Jewish revolutionary and agitator, in one of the letters to her lover, Leo Jogiches, writes, ‘Do you know what I have been feeling very strongly? …Something is moving inside me and wants to come out… In my ‘soul’ a totally new, original form is ripening that ignores all rules and conventions. […] I want to affect people like a clap of thunder, to inflame their minds not by speechifying but with the breadth of my vision, the strength of my conviction, and the power of my expression.’

This panel discussion addresses female disruptive agency, following Luxemburg’s affective vision and actions, executed through textile work that is responsible and response-able to social injustices and cultural exclusions. It focuses on care-full activist practice that untangles and exposes patriarchal traditions associated with aestheticisation and culturalisation of space, or more specifically, uncaring territory marking and making.

Invited panellists will explore issues concerning the dispossession of others and the colonisation of the private through the public while addressing the tactile labour invested in versatile textile practices.

Textile activism

Sera Waters: Care-full textiles for unsettled times

In this talk Sera Waters will discuss how her art practice endeavours to enact an intergenerational ethics of care for increasingly unsettled times. Her hand-based and care-full textile methods manifest an activist and feminist form of truth-telling; using intimate materials and methods to recognise the knots of disavowed pasts, and by confronting intergenerational responsibility. Growing up in regional Australia in the 1980s, Waters was of a settler colonial generation that inherited a blinkered set of colonial historical narratives riddled with gaps, blank spots, denials and ignorance. These patriarchal, colonial and nation-building accounts have now been decimating and devastating Country in Australia, and its people, for over two centuries. Realising that many of these untruths have been passed along through the domestic matter of familial lines, Waters has focussed her practice upon unpicking homely materials, repetitive patterns, “women’s work” and inherited traditions to set them toward truth-telling trajectories which reimagine a care-full future.

Dr. Sera Waters is an artist and academic based in South Australia. Her doctoral research explores the inheritances of settler colonialism through domestic traditions and ‘genealogical ghostscapes’. In 2006 Waters was awarded a Ruth Tuck Scholarship to study hand-embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework (UK). Through her care-full practice she examines textiles, repetition, pattern and intergenerational traditions. Waters exhibits across Australia and internationally, lectures at Adelaide Central School of Art, and is represented by Hugo Michell Gallery, Australia.


Catherine Dormor: The Seamstress and the Traveller: the stitch as a space for generous encounter

In this talk, I want to consider the space of the stitch and its capacity to think about communality and collaboration. As a hand and craft activity, the stitch becomes a mode for participative dialogue and a means by which to consider the tactics of making. In an industrialised context, the machine stitch is formed through the intertwining of two threads, laminating the cloth and creating a space of proximity and exchange. Both forms are contingent, precarious ecologies, that challenge and remodel concepts of space.

Dr. Catherine Dormor is an artist and theorist, currently Head of Research Programmes at the Royal College of Art. Her research brings together textile materiality, imagery and language as a strategy of practice. Forthcoming publications include: A Philosophy of Textile (2020) and Transnational Belonging (2021, Dormor & Sliwinska). Recent publications include: The Erotic Cloth (2018, Millar & Kettle) and ‘The Event of the Stitch’ (2018, Textile). Forthcoming exhibitions include: ‘New Craftsmanship’, Tsinghua University Museum, Beijing (Dec 2019); ‘Conversations’, St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, (2020);

Alexandra Kokoli: Between Heritage and Haunting

Drawing on psychoanalytically-informed approaches to textiles by Pennina Barnett and Claire Pajackowska, among others, I will reflect on the special relationship between textiles, bodies, and embodiment, and explore some of the ways in which the materiality of Sera Waters's chosen media broaches questions of official and suppressed histories, (un)belonging, trauma, and repair, both metonymically and metaphorically. I will revisit my text ‘Do Textiles Think?’ to expand on the potential agentic properties of textiles beyond thought and into affect.

Dr. Alexandra Kokoli (Middlesex University) is an art historian and theorist who writes widely on art, feminism, and visual and material culture. Her books include The Feminist Uncanny in Theory and Art Practice; and (as editor) Feminism Reframed: Reflections on Art and Difference; and The Provisional Texture of Reality: Selected Talks and Texts by Susan Hiller, 1977-2007. She is a Paul Mellon mid-career fellow (2020) for her research into the legacies of the women's peace camp at Greenham Common.


Dr. Kimberly Wahl holds a PhD in Art History from Queen’s University, Canada. Her book Dressed as in a Painting: Women and British Aestheticism in an age of Reform (University Press of New Hampshire, 2013) examines the gendered discourses of the Victorian art world, and their crucial role in the dissemination of artistic ideals in the dress cultures of late-nineteenth century Britain. Current research examines broader intersections between feminism and fashion history—exploring dress reform and artistic/alternative clothing practices as embodied forms of cultural critique.

Dr. Ellen Sampson Professorial Fellow in Fashion at University for the Creative Arts. an artist and material culture researcher her work explores the relationships between bodies, memory and clothing, both in museums and archives, and in everyday life. Using film, photography, performance and writing she explores the ways that garments become records of lived experience. She was previously Polaire Weissman Fellow at the Costume Institute, of the Metropolitan Museum of art. Where her project The Afterlives of Clothes examined the phenomenological of clothing archives. She is co-founder of Fashion Research Network an interdisciplinary network for researchers in fashion and dress.

Tracey Moberly is a film maker, artist, author and lecturer; a feminist and activist who has undertaken many campaigns and projects to bring light to social injustice. She has exhibited prolifically on a wide range of issues which include domestic violence in Russia & UK; gun crime amnesties; the London Living Wage, social housing problems amongst many other topics - raising awareness and introducing important dialogue around sensitive and hard to tackle subjects. She has organised projects and exhibited her work at Tate Modern, Tate Britain and the National Portrait Gallery in London. Her book, Text-Me-Up contains a complete archive of every text message she has ever received from 1999 onwards. She has created and exhibited several intricate embroideries of text messages. She unofficially opened London Fashion Week by making a lingerie collection of 80 pieces, spun and sewn out of human hair, which formed part of a tv programme, and she has worked with the Haitian flag making community to produce a series of Voodoo flags. Tracey is currently working on a series of banners and books with post-industrial ex-mining communities, using traditional techniques along with the spinning and dying with natural dyestuffs.

Tracey is also a film-maker: her recent short film, PARIAH, produced in collaboration with Robbie Ryan, just completed a two year world tour ending at the Venice Biennale. IRRADIATE, produced in collaboration with Paul London recently won best Experimental Short and was the official selection at film festivals across Africa, America, Cyprus and the Netherlands. She is now working on a new documentary on The Firm; the legacy after the Kray Twins, which will be released later this year.

Tracey is co-owner of the former Foundry in East London.

This event is free but booking is essential.

The event will be held in RHS West at London College of Fashion, John Princes St campus.