An Introduction To Textiles As A Feminist Discourse (Sort Of)

10 Jun 2024

Regular hours

Mon, 10 Jun
18:30 – 20:30

Timezone: Europe/London

Cost of entry

Tickets are sold on a donation basis, as we want EVERYONE to be able to access this knowledge. Our classes are also recorded, and each ticket offers access to the live class, as well as 7 days worth of access to the recording.

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Hosted by: The Feminist Lecture Program

Our classes take place via zoom on Monday evenings, with a different topic and lecturer each week, hosted by our founder Luisa-Maria MacCormack. A Zoom link will be sent to ticketholders from Eventbrite or Outsavvy (depending where their ticket was bought) before the lecture begins.

The Feminist Lecture Program welcomes guest lecturer Kate Robinson to explore the feminist history of textile art forms.



In myths and fairytales weaving and spinning are often performed by women. The Greek Metis, and the Morai, the Roman Texere and the Hindu Maya are amongst many female personifications connected to weaving the cloth of the world, along with the archetypal old crone, who is often depicted as being bent over her spinning wheel deep in the forest, meting out fates.

But the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin exemplifies the sometimes complex relationship between weaving and feminism, for it is not the girl in the tower but an impish little man who spins the straw into gold. And in fact, in many cottage industries, it is not traditionally women but men who weave cloth. In both rural and urban centres, weaving was often the domain of men. And now, new digital printing and weaving techniques mean that most weaving is done by machine. Whose domain is it now? Has AI taken the place of the crone?

Contemporary textiles are the ground of exciting visual art that bridges the gaps between craft and fine art, digital and human-made, theory and practice, including 2D and 3D work. This lecture will look at the background and history of textiles from a mythic, as well as from a practical, point of view before moving on to examine some of the exciting visual art being made now across the globe from Australia, to the Far East and Europe. Be prepared to dive into the past, as well as to learn about artists practising now, you're in for a feminist tour through the rich history of textiles.


Dr Kate Robinson is a visual artist and writer working in sculpture, theatre and performance. With commissions from the National Theatre of Scotland, BBC and LUX and arts residencies at, amongst others, Inverclyde, Govan Cross, the University of Glasgow and the Yermilov Centre in Kharkiv, Ukraine, her topics of research span archaeology, environment, language, science and art history.

Working in permanent as well as transient materials, Kate’s public sculpture is sited nationally and internationally. She has won awards for writing and for visual art, including the John Keppie Award for Sculpture, a Guardian/Modern Painters Award for Writing on Art and the Robert Graves Poetry prize shortlist. Her PhD focussed on Renaissance philosopher, Giulio Camillo and resulted in a solo exhibition at the Collins Gallery, Glasgow, and the book of her thesis, ‘A Search for Source of the Whirlpool of Artifice’, published by Dunedin Academic Press, Edinburgh.

Current projects include being UNESCO virtual Writer in Residence, working with the Australian Tapestry Workshop in Melbourne, and international arts project evaluator, working with Izolyatsia, an arts organisation in Kyiv, Ukraine. Meanwhile she's working towards an exhibition inspired by archives going back to 1876 from the Western Baths, in Glasgow, where she has been appointed as the new Artist and Writer in Residence.

Banner image credit: Sheila Hicks, Palitos con Bolas, 2008-2015, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Gift by Itaka Martignoni and Cristobal Zañartu in 2017, © Centre Pompidou, 2017 © ADAGP, Paris


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