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Deputy Vice-Chancellor the keynote at worldwide textile symposium

Matter of Material conference at acclaimed Turner Contemporary in Margate

AN international symposium exploring the role of textiles in contemporary art practice has been opened with the keynote speech from a University of Chichester academic.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Catherine Harper headlined the Matter of Material conference at the acclaimed Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate.

The symposium brought together academic researchers with worldwide makers and curators to discuss the use of fabric in art and how textile can be viewed as beautifully-designed cloth.

Professor Harper, a woven-textiles practitioner, specialises in large-scale public commissions and performances whose work has been exhibited across the UK and Ireland, as well as mainland Europe, North America, Russia, and Japan.

As the editor-in-chief of international journal TEXTILE: Cloth and Culture, she has published academic articles on her innovative research exploring the stained and bloodied cloths of Ireland.

The Professor of Textiles, who joined the University of Chichester in November, also writes on women's identity and feminist practice: the basis of her distinguished 2007 monograph Intersex.

Professor Harper said: “The Matter of Material conference sits in conversation with Karen Wright’s curation of the Entangled: Threads of Making exhibition, and continues the infinite construction of the multi-dimensional web – actual, textual, material, digital, sensual, somatic, decorative, functional, ritual, personal, social and economic – of textiles.

“A web that twists and turns through history and into contemporary culture, and across themes that range through art and craft dialectics, gender and identity politics, the discourses of cloth, body and architecture, of labour and technology, of techno-design and practice, and the contextual realms of material and visual culture.

“The keynote lecture will draw upon notions related to textiles in these fields that have proved useful to me in ‘thinking my domain’, and offers potential ways in to consider Entangled’s threads of making in terms of meanings that matter.”

The Matter of Material symposium will be held on Thursday 27 April and has been organised with the International Textile Research Centre, of the University for the Creative Arts, to examine the expanding field of textile art.

Among the guest speakers who joined Professor Harper was renowned artist Freddie Robins, whose research involves the perception of knitting as a craft.

To find out more about Professor Harper, her research within the field of art and textile practice, and publications exploring women’s identity and female practice, visit

Alternatively for more about the Matter of Material symposium at the Turner Contemporary go to