ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History / symposiums


press release:
Textiles and Politics

Textile Society of America 13th Biennial Symposium

September 19 - 22, 2012 - Washington, DC

  Report by Michele A. Hardy, Textile Society of America:

Michele A. Hardy, PhD, External Relations Director, Textile Society of America,

See photos on the TSA Facebook page! More info and full program is available on

The Textile Society of America’s Biennial Symposium, Textiles and Politics, held in Washington, D.C., September 19 – 23, 2012, was a tremendous success.  The symposium’s topical theme attracted a record-number of presenters and participants from around the world (over 400 participants from 37 countries), while membership in the organization is at an all-time high.

Textiles and Politics was literally kicked off with Joyce J. Scott’s keynote address “Unplugged.” A consummate storyteller—Scott lectured, teased, berated, performed, and sang her personal history of making politically charged art.  With over 150 presentations spread over three days; the symposium offered a profusion of choices.  The special panel on Central AsianTextiles:  Politics and Process brought together experts from Uzbekistan, the United Kingdom and the United States to offer their insights.  This was complemented, later in the week with a seminar on Uzbek velvet ikat weaving, with master weavers who came to the conference with their loom and dyed warp to demonstrate (supported by a generous grant from the Trust for Mutual Understanding).  Other highlights included the panel Material Matters:  The Politics of Making and Materials featuring some of the most original textile thinkers and makers working today. Other panels included a variety of subjects ranging from Sustainable Artisan Practices, Textiles and Slavery, the Arts of Royal Collections, Early Modern Trade, and Politics of Color, as only a few examples. 

Participants were spoiled with intimate behind-the-scenes tours of some of D.C.’s most well known museums, including the Library of Congress, the Textile Museum, Dumbarton Oaks, National Museum of American Indian among others.   Lavish receptions were held at both the U.S. Botanic Gardens (sponsored by the Robert and Ardis James Foundation) and the Textile Museum (sponsored in part by the Hajji Baba Club of New York and Ezra Mager) where symposium participants also enjoyed a special preview of “The Sultan’s Garden: The Blossoming of Ottoman Art.”

The symposium proved, once again, that scholarly interest in textiles continues to thrive and that the Textile Society of America is a catalyst for rich, complex, interdisciplinary conversations about textiles.  Mark your calendar—the conversation continues in Los Angeles in 2014!


TSA’s prestigious 2012 Founding Presidents’ Award for the best paper at the symposium was selected from the five nominated papers. The Award was given jointly to Miriam Ali-de Unzaga for her paper “Embroidered Politics” and Kristy Robertson for her paper, “Felt Space: Responsive Textiles, Fabric Dwellings and Precarious Housing.”
Altogether, six authors of five papers were nominated in this year’s competition. 
Congratulations goes to Susan Falls and Jessica Smith for “Provenance: The Story of a Textile and its Journey to the Slave Quarters”; Sarah Parks for “By Your Exertions Conjointly with Ours: British Printed Cottons in Brazil, 1827- 1910”; Eulanda A. Sanders for her paper “The Politics of Textiles Used in African American Slave Clothing.” The winners receive a certificate and a monetary award and all finalists receive complimentary Symposium registration.
TSA was proud to sponsor five excellent candidates for this year’s Student and New Professional Scholarships which provides free Symposium Registration toemerging talent in the field of textile studies.  Selected from 33 applicants, the recipients included:  Dr. Selin Ipek, Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, Turkey; Mara Kaktins, PhD candidate at Temple University Department of Anthropology; Jane Lynch is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Michigan; Rachel Silberstein is a PhD candidate in Oriental Studies at the University ofOxford, UK; and Laura Stemp-Morlock completed her Master of Theological Studies at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Canada.
In addition to these full scholarships, TSA was able to provide 14 partial Symposium fee waivers to further encourage emerging scholars and artists to attend.

The 2012 Brandford /Elliott Award for Excellence in Fiber Art was presented to Olivia Valentine.

For further details about the award winners and nominated scholars as well information about the selection process, please visit the TSA web



home Last revised 12 October 2012