The Stitching Together research network brings together researchers, professional textile practitioners, project commissioners and textile enthusiasts to foster critical dialogue around participatory textile making – making textiles with others – in research and practice. The network is led by Dr Emma Shercliff (Arts University Bournemouth) and Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd (Nottingham Trent University).
We are establishing critical dialogue around participatory textile making methods, collating examples of best practice and arguing for their value. We disseminate this knowledge to academic and non-academic audiences and hope to prompt new participatory initiatives.
Outputs of the network include:
- the Stitching Together Good Practice Guidelines, aimed at facilitators of participatory textile making workshops and projects in diverse settings
- a double special issue of the Journal of Arts & Communities, with 15 case study articles critically discussing research projects that involve participatory textile making
- a film that provides an introduction to the network and to the use of participatory textile making in academic research
- a growing collection of online case studies, describing a diverse range of participatory textile making projects in practice and research contexts
- recordings of Stitching Together events: the Good Practice Guidelines launch and the Study Day films, presentations and discussions
- an ‘in conversation’ video, created for National Centre for Research Methods
- a ‘Sharing Practice’ case study for Engage, the gallery education network
- a guest post for the Social Research Association blog
- a guest post for the ArtWorks Alliance blog
- a case study resource for the Engage website
The network was funded by the UK’s Arts & Humanities Research Council from January 2019 to June 2021. The grant funded network activities that responded to three research questions:
- How is participatory textile making being used as a new methodological approach to research?
- What issues does this raise for the validity and effectiveness of the research?
- How do participatory textile making projects engage and impact participants?
We ran a 2-day Case Study Workshop at Clayhill Arts in April 2019, which brought together researchers using participatory textile making across a range of disciplines to examine ways in which this new methodological approach is being used in research contexts.
A 1-day Critical Reflection Workshop at the Arts University Bournemouth in June 2019, with input from researchers, ‘critical friends’ from associated academic fields, project commissioners and professional textile practitioners, focused on investigating the validity and effectiveness of these new methodological approaches for research contexts.
Our online Study Day in May 2021 was dedicated to exploring the participant’s perspective and brought together a highly diverse range of projects via films, presentations and discussions.