7.00pm - 8.30pm Wednesday 25 May 2022 "Aesthetics and Personhood of the Black Body"
Teleica Kirkland: A fashion historian, and professor in cultural and historical studies at London College of Fashion Teleica Kirkland is also the founder and Creative Director of the Costume Institute of the African Diaspora, an organisation dedicated to researching the history and culture of dress and adornment from the African diaspora.
SUMMARY: Far from the usual images of the Caribbean as a place of eternal sunshine, hedonism and extreme violence, the region is an incredibly religious and pious place where people are still deeply superstitious and very strongly wedded to their cultural beliefs. Nonetheless, the entire territory does carry historic baggage due to slavery and colonialism that tends to predetermine how people from these islands are perceived by the wider global society.
This historic baggage leads to the politicisation of black bodies which has negated the humanity of black people. One of the ways black people have sought to distance themselves from this politicisation and reclaim their humanity has been through the adoption of respectability.
This research will discuss how women who emigrated to the UK from the Caribbean during the Windrush Era (1948 – 1972) used clothing as a tool to establish their dignity and how the adoption of respectability politics informed their behaviour and style of dressing.
Apart from considerations of increasing self-worth, this presentation will query the power of clothing and adornments to change deep-seated fears and beliefs about black people and ultimately enquire whether clothing and cultivated aesthetics of the black body has ever been able to provide the necessary absolution from vilification.
7.00pm - 8.30pm Wednesday 29 June 2022"Who you be? Black style body & identity".
N D Henry: PhD Researcher Graduate Teaching Assistant in Media and Communications at the University of Leicester and founder of Black Cover Archive a digital collection of independent creative global magazines.
SUMMARY: Who yuh be?: Black style, body & identity captures the conversation between Caribbean mother and her black British daughter through visual storytelling. Black style has been influential on the history of dress from the 20th century. However, there are limited enquires on culture and history of style and dress in the black diaspora. This essay focuses on the mother's photographic images from the 1960s to 1990s and the dialogue created between mother and daughter. Investigating in what ways has styling of the black body influenced the shaping of their identity.
7.00pm - 8.30pm Wednesday 27 July 2022. "In my Grandmother's house".
Molara Obanishola: Omolara Obanishola is an academic, and creative specialising in the fields of fashion cultures and communication. She teaches across art and design and textiles programmes at University of the Arts London alongside visiting lecturer at other universities.
SUMMARY: This SUMMARY: 'In my Grandmother's house'. For the first time in more years than I can remember I was allowed into my grandmother's bedroom. When I was a child, the objects in her bedroom were exciting treasures... not meant for big eyes and small hands. As an adult I understand that these objects tell their own stories.
This presentation looks at a number of 'fashionable' objects from my grandmother's house and how their stories shine a light on the experience of African and Caribbean migration to Britain and the complex but hopeful lived experiences of its inhabitants.
7.00pm - 8.30pm Wednesday 30 August 2022 "St Kitts and Sea Island Cotton"
Leonie Edmead: A graduate of Manchester School of Art Leonie is a designer whose objective is to create a space to appreciate lesser known cultures by unravelling the threads of identity and history.
SUMMARY: Being born in the UK of Kittitian heritage, I often search for ways to visualise my cultural lineage through textiles. This presentation explores the interaction between textiles and dress as an expression of identity during the period British colonialism, and considers the impact and importance of textiles as a communicative tool of identity. It examines the manner of textiles production in the colonies, focusing particularly on the production of cotton: West Indian Sea Island Cotton, a luxurious fabric with a brutal history, used prodigiously throughout Europe in shirt making. This yarn the qualities of which are widely acknowledge, is also a critical factor often overlooked in the post-colonial discourse on identity and textiles. As a designer in the textiles sector and a decedent of the community that produced the yarn, this discourse is of particular interest to me. In this presentation I will underscore the importance of textiles to identity by unravelling its threads.
7.00pm - 8.30pm Wednesday 27 Sept. 2022 "The history and creolisation of Caribbean dress in Art History"
Serena Lee: Serena Lee is a lecturer in Fashion History and Contextual Studies at London College of Creative Arts. She is also a cultural historian interested in the study of dress and art history, with particular interest in Black studies. Serena attended Birmingha A BA Hons. graduate in Fashion Business and Promotion from Birmingham University and an MA in Fashion Critical Studies from Central Saint Martins she is the founder of instagram platform @georgian_diaspora, a curated space of multicultural figures in art history, with a focus mainly on the 18th - 19th centuries. Serena has worked with the Royal Maritime Museum on the Migration and Belonging project, BBC Radio 4 on a Black Beauty and Hair documentary, she has also guest lectured at various Courtauld and other institutions.
SUMMARY: Due to the dominance of western fashion history, the history of Caribbean dress is hardly ever researched. In light of recent interest in black British culture since the BLM movement in 2020, the Windrush scandal, and recent research into cultural institutions, links to slavery, has furthered interest in Caribbean history. This presentation will look at the history of art, style and Caribbean British culture. The presentation will illuminate the complexities of accommodation and resistance through style and dress, showing that these complex responses are not opposites but woven into each other. Thus, revealing the dynamics of race, class and gender in art history.
7.00pm - 8.30pm Wednesday 27 October 2022 "The Jamaican Fashion Guild"
Elli Michaela Young: is Member of the The National Archives User Advisory Group, a PhD Researcher at the University of Brighton and visiting lecturer at Middlesex and London Metropolitan universities.
SUMMARY: The Jamaican Fashion Guild Limited
In the 1960s the island of Jamaica had ambitions to become the first fashion capital of the Caribbean. The Jamaican Fashion Guild Limited (JFG), played a critical role in the promotion of a specific Jamaican identity through the design, production and marketing of Jamaican fashion post-1966. The Guild gathered a group of fashion and textile designers, companies, and makers whose remit was to create, produce and market ‘intrinsically Jamaican’ fashions. The Guild would go on to sell its clothing across North America with some success. Members of the Guild sold their clothes in high-end department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, New York, I Magnin, San Francisco and T J Eaton Company, Canada. In addition to selling clothing in large and small stores, the group regularly hosted fashion shows across the United States and on flights and cruise ships filled with North American tourists destined for the Caribbean Island. This paper is a work in progress and forms part of my PhD research. I will introduce the archival material (images and newspaper articles and garments) I have collected thus far, to show how the organisation was marketed, what they were designing and making for North American Fashion Market.
7.00pm - 8.30pm Wednesday 30 November 2022 "Power Dressing: Headwear as an Act of Resistance"
Sharon Morgan: Born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents, Sharon Morgan is a Design Technology and Engineering Teacher, and a Milliner in private practice.
Most of the literature written on the experience of colonized people, proceed from the position of the hegemony of the colonizer. The
exceptions to this, are the writings of the anti-imperialist anti-colonial resistance theorists, such as Franz Fanon. Power Dressing: Headwear
as an Act of Resistance, draws on the traditions of the anti-imperialist school of writing to analyse and develop a narrative that better explains
the objective experiences and actions of a populations living under
neo-colonial practices. The presentation is based on observation gained, through living amongst the Windrush generation and their offspring, settled in the United Kingdom and will consist of a series of images accompanied by a narrative.