Thursday, 15 to Saturday, 17 March 2012, The Senate Room (Senate House, First Floor) and the Stevenson Lecture Theatre,  British Museum, London

This Conference arises from the AHRC-funded project Weaving communities of practice. Textiles, culture and identity in the Andes, based at CILAVS in collaboration with the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at Birkbeck and the Instituto de Lengua y Cultura Aymara (ILCA) in La Paz, Bolivia. The Conference aims to expand the scope of the ideas developed during the project, by sharing ideas with more than 30 leading international experts in the field, including textile scholars and curators from a variety of overseas and UK museums. This conference seeks to generate an Andean contribution to current debates on history, materiality and technology. Through specific thematic approaches, the conference will explore the ways woven products served as records of technological knowledge, and socio-cultural  and productive relations. Textiles are examined here as historical and contemporary media where power relations – political, class or gender relations – are expressed and played out, whether in dress or other hierarchies of social categories. The conference also explores textiles as expressions of world-view and the sacred, as well as a part of a regional and a world heritage.

Keynote speakers: 

Ann H. Peters (Univ. of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, USA)

Tom Zuidema (Anthropology, University of Illinois, USA)

Conference convenors:    Denise Y. Arnold and Luciana Martins

Topics include: Textiles as documents; textiles and interrelated semiotic practices; textile technologies and social consequences; textiles and social identity; woven complexity and social complexity; the textile productive chain; woven networks; iconographic studies, textile techniques and structures; technique, technology and image; weaving languages, patterns, and symmetries.

A roundtable on the history of Andean textiles and contemporary art chaired by Valerie Fraser will explore textiles as a form of artistic expression. Confirmed artists include Susie Goulder (Warmi), Cecilia Vicuña and Elvira Espejo. This roundtable will be followed by the opening of Textile Sculptures, an exhibition of recent work by Warmi at the Peruvian Embassy.

Simultaneous interpretation in English and Spanish will be available, with the exception of Tom Zuidema’s keynote lecture at the British Museum, which will be delivered in English.

Please click here to download the updated Conference Programme pdf format and here for the Conference Poster pdf format.

This conference is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), with the collaboration of the Institute for the Study of the Americas, the British Museum, the History Workshop Journal, the Peruvian Embassy and Birkbeck School of Arts.