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Stuart Hall Library Clothes, Cloth & Culture Group Françoise Dupré, Victoria Kuhr, Ruth Marie Tunkara

26 Jun 2014

The theme of our meeting on 26 June 2014 is 'Cloth & Social Action'. The presenters will be Françoise Dupré, and Victoria Kuhr & Ruth Marie Tunkara from 'Knees Up'

Françoise Dupré is a London-based French artist and a senior lecturer in Fine Art at Birmingham City University.Her cross-disciplinary practice-led research aims to open up and argue for social and aesthetic creative contexts that combine local and cosmopolitan subjectivities, the domestic and the public. Using looping, stitching, construction and assemblage techniques, Dupré makes textiles-based sculptures and temporary installations for art and non-art spaces including shops, hospitals and libraries. Combining individual and collaborative-participatory approaches, she has worked with a wide range of communities in the contexts of migration, post-conflict and health.

For the Clothes, Cloth and Culture group, Dupré will focus on her strategic approaches to making in multicultural and cross-disciplinary social (art) practice. She will argue for a crafting practice that fosters a transformative art making as context for the materialization of a social art object. She will discuss her concept of cultural practice that uses the plasticity and sociability of craft, its generative process of becoming and empowerment, to bind haptic experience to the making of socially meaningful art objects.

Victoria Kuhr and Ruth Marie Tunkara are part of a team of staff and residents from Knees Up – a community-building project in Bethnal Green, London. Their presentation is entitled Weaving a community tapestry.

Knees Up is a project of Quaker Social Action, an anti-poverty charity operating in East London since 1867. Knees Up‘s work is based in diverse and densely populated areas of housing and their aim is to work alongside residents, developing local assets to build a welcoming and active community. Utilising a pioneering approach to community development, Knees Up seeks to reinstate a belief in the possible by focussing on what is strong in communities, rather than what is wrong with communities.

One element of Knees Up is to spot local talents and ideas that can be developed into inclusive community initiatives. As such, a knitting and crochet club was born from the desire of local residents to create an activity; based on the skills of the community, that could transcend age, background, and economic status. Since airing the idea, it was a matter of weeks until gifted knitters started teaching other residents their craft. Engaging women from different backgrounds and of different ages, the knitting club has created a space where each taught stitch, each story told and each shared experience adds to a connected and multi-layered community tapestry.

Listen to the presentations on SoundCloud

Françoise Dupré 

Knees Up: Victoria Kuhr & Ruth Marie Tunkara

Question & Answer session