UK Conference call for papers

Outside – Activating Cloth to Enchance the Way We Live

An international conference and forum for practicing artists, craftspeople, activists, curators, students and volunteers who are excited by the potential of cloth to enhance the way we live.

 Date:                                        23rd January 2012

Organisers:                               Penny Macbeth and Claire Barber

Venue:                                      School of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH, UK

Contact:                            /


As humans our relationship with cloth is multifaceted and complex, at a most fundamental level, cloth brings warmth, protection and security, yet cloth has a role in cultures and communities that goes beyond this, within the conference we hope to explore its value, relevance and impact on societies today.

This conference acts as a forum for practicing artists, craftspeople, activists, curators, students and volunteers who are excited by the potential of cloth to enhance the way we live in contemporary society today. In an attempt to be positive and resourceful within the precariousness of economic crisis we hope to examine the dreams, visions, plans, hopes for cloth within a wide range of public and community settings. It is an invitation to recognise constantly evolving fields of expression outside traditional gallery, institutional or campus settings.

Outside: Activating Cloth to Enhance the Way We Live builds upon relationships the University of Huddersfield has established with communities in the West Yorkshire region during the last eight years. During this time the political and economic landscape has shifted, and this has necessitated and steered new approaches to working outside the university campus. The students on the course have initiated wide ranging approaches in the production of crafted textile pieces, often with people that live in some of the most deprived areas in the UK (on the index of multiple deprivation) or have very specific needs.

Through a series of Key note speakers and blind peer reviewed papers we will attempt to expand the dialogue that has emerged and propose the following themes for further discussion and invite you to submit abstracts:

  • Cloth as a form of protection
  • Reclaiming community through cloth
  • Cloth to raise awareness
  • Community and participatory approaches to cloth
  • Cloth to engender health and well being
  • Cloth used as a form of generosity
  • Cloth as a form of tacit communication
  • Cloth to instigate global network

We welcome contributions from individuals working in the field of textiles, art, crafts, curatorship, education, philosophy, community work, health… to present new and existing work on these themes or present unique perspectives in response to Outside; Activating Cloth to Enhance the Way We Live.

Confirmed key note speaker: Jennifer Marsh, founder and director of the public art project The International Fiber Collaborative (IFC) and her work on The Dream Rocket Project which incorporates work by more than 450 artists and 2,500 students spanning 15 countries.

 Conference papers and presentations will be selected by a double blind peer review panel including:

Professor Lesley Millar is Professor of Textile Culture at University for the Creative Arts and curator of a number of significant international textile exhibitions, including ‘Lost in Lace’ currently showing at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, ‘Textural Space’, ‘Through the Surface’ and ‘Cloth & Culture Now’.

Dr. Jessica Hemmings is Head of Context at Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland, current projects including compiling a Textile Reader for Berg Publishers (2012) a book on woven textiles for A&C Black (2012).

Dr. Catherine Harper is Head of School of Architecture and Design, University of Brighton. She is committed to a career that allows her to make a meaningful contribution to research in her discipline and community of practice. She is editor of Textile: the Journal of Cloth and Culture (Berg) and Editorial Board member of the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education (Taylor & Francis) 

Dr Robert Clarke is a senior lecturer at Huddersfield University where he teaches contextual theory in the School of Art, Design and Architecture. He is a practicing artist with research interests in drawing and philosophy.  

Betsy Greer is a maker, writer and researcher currently living just outside Washington DC. Blending social science, the handmade and past histories, she works with craft’s relationship with activism, or craftivism.

Joanne Stead is course leader for  BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy at University of Huddersfield, teaching interests are in the area of the social model of disability, social justice and inclusion.


Contributions to the conference may be made in the form of academic papers and/or illustrated presentations. We are now inviting submission of abstracts and up to three images with a submission deadline of Tues 3rd May 2011. Submissions should be sent to 



  • Maximum 300-word abstract submitted by e-mail


Abstracts Date

Deadline for submission of abstracts: Tues 3rd May 2011

Target date for notification of selection of abstracts: Mon 4th July

 Full Paper’s

  • 2,500-5000 word full paper submitted by e-mail
  • Selected authors will be offered the opportunity to revise and resubmit their papers according to the comments of the editorial team.
  • Presenter edits paper to 2000-2,500 word for the conference
  • Full paper published in hard copy following conference (publisher tbc)

Full Paper Date

Deadline for submission of full papers: Fri 30th Sept 2011

Reviewer’s feedback for publication: 2nd Dec 2011

The Presenter edits the paper down to 2,500 word for the conference

Conference Programme

Target date for publication of provisional programme Sept 2011

Target date for publication of full and final conference programme Early Dec 2011

 Conference: 23rd January 2012


School of Art Design and Architecture

University of Huddersfield,


Huddersfield, HD1 3DH 

Penny Macbeth, Head of Department Art & Design         Claire Barber, Lecturer Textile Crafts                  

E:                                              E:                                               

T: +44 (0)1484 473130

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