Yorkshire Year of the Textile programme continues to inspire

Yorkshire’s rich textile heritage, reflected in the University’s history, is providing fertile ground for academic and artistic community engagement.

Community Canopies created at Yorkshire Year of the Textile Knit/Lit workshops


The Arts Council England-funded Yorkshire Year of the Textile project has already supported some innovative artistic commissions, research-led exhibitions, and successful community workshops.  You can enjoy the results around campus for the rest of the summer and into the autumn.

The community-created Knitted Canopies which have appeared in front of Clothworkers’ Building Central (pictured above) have been hand-knitted at various Knit/Lit workshops around Yorkshire over the summer.  These workshops give participants a chance to learn to knit with their hands, share textile memories, and hear and write poetry from poets.  

There’s still chance to sign up for the next Knit/Lit workshop in Haworth on Wednesday 31 August, with artist Elizabeth Gaston and poet and playwright Rommi Smith.

You can also see on campus Configure by Jane Scott (below left), teaching fellow at the School of Design.  This is a knitted assembly constructed using powerful new computerised knitting technology.

The piece is a response to Mitzi Cunliffe's Man-Made Fibres. Cunliffe’s work celebrates the excitement surrounding the development of synthetic fibres and the potential that they were seen to afford.  Next time you're walking past Clothworkers South, take a closer look!


Perhaps, like School of Medicine lecturer Dr Emma Storr, you might be inspired to respond to Man-Made Fibres through poetry.  Dr Storr’s sonnet (above right) is one of several written as part of the programme so far.  You can read more on the Yorkshire Year of the Textile Facebook page.

Yorkshire Year of the Textile events will continue into the autumn, with Thread, a response in music, dance and light to Quentin Bell’s The Dreamer, planned for Light Night on Friday 7 October, and the Revolutionary Fabrics exhibition at the M&S Company Archive will remain open, highlighting M&S’s innovative use of synthetic fabrics from the 1930s until the present day.

You can keep up-to-date with events by subscribing to the programme’s newsletter.  Keep an eye out too for a Year of the Textile events leaflet to be published in September.

Professor Ann Sumner, Head of Cultural Engagement at the University, says: “Cultural engagement on campus is a key programming strand in the lead up to the launch of our Cultural Institute in October. The Yorkshire Year of the Textile programme is helping us to transform our campus spaces and encourage more visitors to campus to explore our cultural attractions.”

Those of you with an interest in all things textile-related may also like to visit The Synthetics Revolution – a collaboration between the Yorkshire Fashion Archive, ULITA and the Enterprise of Culture project charting the rise of synthetic fibres in everyday clothing: at the ULITA gallery until 1 December.

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