Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Knitting History Forum Conference 2016

I always enjoy the Knitting History Forum events and this year's Conference was really good. Our host at the London College of Fashion, Professor Sandy Black, had arranged an excellent afternoon of presentations.

Our first speaker was Gieneke Arnolli, Curator of Fashion and Textiles, Fries Museum, The Netherlands and her two-part talk began with a fascinating exploration of "Typically Frisian Knitting, between fact and fiction". The second part of Gieneke's talk was about "Curating the Knitting Exhibition 'Breien!'". There is a great short trailer for 'Breien' on Youtube which gives a taste of the exhibition. I wish that I had been able to visit the Exhibition when it was on.

Gieneke was followed by Hanna Bäckström, PhD Candidate in Textile Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden on "The publication of knitting and crochet patterns in Northern Europe 1790-1870. Hanna represented her data on maps and it was fascinating to see the geographical changes in the concentration of publications in Europe during this "forgotten publishing boom". Hanna concluded with some "Brief remarks on recent knitting history research in Sweden".

Michelle Hanks is a PhD Candidate at the London College of Fashion and she presented her research on "The Hand-Knitted Gift: using knitting as a research tool". The discussion that followed was very lively! As well as members sharing their own experiences of giving and receiving hand knitted gifts, the issue of the "unwanted" gift was raised......

Roslyn Chapman PhD, University of Glasgow gave an excellent and very entertaining presentation on "Cultural Sensitivities: Debunking the myths of Shetland lace". This thought-provoking presentation challenged our definitions of some well known knitting terms and labels. You can read more about Roslyn's research with the Shetland Museum here.

Our final discussion topic covered reflections on knitting in the media - how would we represent the history of knitting? In particular, we all watched a documentary made last year, The Secret History of Knitting, to which several of our members had contributed. You can view the documentary here.

The Knitting History Forum AGM and Conference is held in early November each year. You can read about previous speakers and topics covered here. Annual membership is £25 and this includes the Conference. All are welcome to join us!