Past Events

Rage Embroidery: Stitching Art Histories of Disability and Incarceration

Public Event Series – Jess Bailey, Isabella Rosner

  • 22 March 2024
  • 2:00 – 3:30 pm
  • Part of our public events programme 'Gender and Cloth' convened by Dr Jess Bailey
  • The Foundling Museum

Join our host 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, those who are 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 disabilities 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.

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

This workshop will take place at the Foundling Museum. All making supplies are provided free of charge and workshops are in-person only.

All workshops are wheelchair accessible.

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

Image credit: Mary Frances Heaton, Untitled, c. 1852, linen with cotton thread. Photo courtesy of the Mental Health Museum.

About the speakers

  • 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.

  • Headshot of Isabella Rosner

    Isabella Rosner is the Curator of the Royal School of Needlework and a research associate at Witney Antiques. She recently completed her PhD at King’s College London, researching Quaker women’s needlework, waxwork and shellwork ca. 1650 to 1800. Passionate about schoolgirl samplers and early modern women’s needlework, Isabella hosts the Sew What? podcast about historic needlework and its stitchers. She was one of the 2023 BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers; has spoken on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4; and has published and lectured widely.