• 1 to 22 March 2024

Gender and Cloth

Four free workshops with the Foundling Museum, The Museum of Transology and QUEERCIRCLE

In-person only

Convened by Dr Jess Bailey

Book tickets

Join our host Jess Bailey and special guests for hands-on workshops and museum tours celebrating how different artists and communities have explored gender through cultural traditions of cloth. Learn quilting, weaving, embroidery and dress history while discussing how gender intersects with our understanding of disability, class, diaspora, incarceration and much more. We will use our hands and our minds to explore textile art history, learning how to think, as in the past, through storied legacies of specific techniques and material traditions. Attend a quilting bee, sit at a loom, catalogue dress history and stitch a sampler at inspiring London museums.

This programme is an introduction to the subject and is open to all; BA and MA students are especially encouraged to attend.

Workshops will take place at the Foundling Museum and QUEERCIRCLE. All making supplies are provided free of charge and workshops are in-person only. All workshops are wheelchair accessible.

Registration via Eventbrite is now open. Spaces are limited in order to create intimate discussion and instruction during making sessions; please join the waiting list if registration is full.

The Quilting Bee: Working Class Women's Art History

A Hands-on Workshop at the Foundling Museum

1 March 2024, 10am – 11.30am

Join our host Jess Bailey, UCL, alongside historian Deb McGuire, Oxford Brookes University and advisor to The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles, and author Ferren Gipson, SOAS, at a quilting bee. As three researchers who come from families of quilters, Jess, Deb and Ferren will share knowledge at the intersection of feminist art history and artistic practice. Participants will try their hand at North Country-style quilting on historic replica quilting frames while considering how the working-class culture of the quilting bee might offer art historians new roads of inquiry. From Wales to Gee’s Bend, they will talk about quilt culture with an attention to gender and class. Participants will also be introduced to some of the Foundling Museum's textile tokens by Collections Manager, Alison Duke. The collection represents the largest surviving archive of working-class textiles in the UK. Book tickets.

The Museum of Transology: Collecting and Curating Clothing

A Behind the Scenes Collection Tour with the Museum of Transology at QUEERCIRCLE

11 March 2024, 2pm – 3.30pm

Join our host Jess Bailey, UCL, and special guest E-J Scott, founder of the Museum of Transology, and go behind the scenes at one of the UK’s most significant new museum collections. Founded in 2014, the Museum of Transology preserves and exhibits Queer and Trans clothing as part of its growing collection. Learn how the collection is shifting museum conventions and critically considering collecting practices around gender. Drawing from his work as a curator and historian of dress and fashion, he will take us behind the scenes during a pivotal moment in the collection’s current cataloguing at QUEERCIRCLE to understand how Trans stories can be amplified with cloth. Book tickets.

Weaving as Archive: Looms, Diaspora and Gendered Threads

A Hands-on Workshop at the Foundling Museum

15 March 2024, 2pm – 3.30pm

Join Jess Bailey, UCL, and special guest multidisciplinary artist and researcher Raisa Kabir to learn the foundational principles of weaving while exploring the relationship between our bodies and the loom. Drawing on recent exhibitions of her practice such as work included in Cotton: Labour, Land and Body at Crafts Council, Raisa will explore how critical histories, artistic practice and pedagogies of weaving can come together to deepen our engagement with textile art history. She will help us consider weaving itself as an archive of embodied experiences of geographies, gender and diaspora. Participants will work on looms at the Foundling Museum. Book tickets.

Rage Embroidery: Stitching Art Histories of Disability and Incarceration

A Hands-on Workshop at the Foundling Museum

22 March 2024, 2pm – 3.30pm

Join Jess Bailey, UCL, and special guest Isabella Rosner, Royal School of Needlework, to learn intersectional art histories of embroidery. Participants will learn foundational embroidery stitches while encountering the rich art history of how people with a disability, neurodivergent and chronically ill artists such as Lorina Bulwer and Agnes Richter used embroidery in the past as a method for self-expression and vital protest. Amplifying the disability, justice-led work of contemporary artists, participants will also consider what it means to engage with these histories today when the rights of people with disability are under attack in the UK and elsewhere. Workshop participants will leave with their own embroidery work-in-progress and a research zine by artist Dolly Sen. Book tickets.

Banner image: Ferren Gipson, COMPLEMENTS, 2022 linen and cotton with hand-stitched sashiko thread 167.6 x 155.6 x 1.3 cm / 66 x 611 / 4 x 1/2 in. Image courtesy of Ferren Gipson

About the speaker

  • Headshot of Jess Bailey in front of a quilt

    Jess Bailey (she/her) is an associate lecturer in history of art at University College London where she teaches Medieval art and methodology courses. Her published research addresses the representation of disability and gendered violence. Jess earned her PhD from UC Berkeley in 2022 with funding from the Paul Mellon Centre and Wellcome Collection among others. Passionate about the wider accessibility of art history, Jess runs a public education project, Public Library Quilts, where she uses the making of quilts to amplify social justice-informed visual and material culture research. Jess organises public art history programming such as The People’s Quilting Bee lectures with Sharbreon Plummer and quilt fundraisers for groups including Land in Our Names and True Colors United. She is the author of Many Hands Make a Quilt: Short Histories of Radical Quilting.