The TSA Founding Presidents Award for the best paper presented at the 2012 Symposium, Textiles & Politics, was jointly awarded to Miriam Ali-de Unzaga and Kirsty Robertson. FPA was established in 2006 as an initiative to recognize excellence in the fields of textile studies. It is named in honor of the TSA’s five, founding presidents (Peggy Gilfoy (deceased), Milton Sonday, Lotus Stack, Mattiebelle Gittinger, and Louise W. Mackie) and was first awarded in 2008.
Miriam Ali-de Unzaga earned an MA in Islamic Humanities from the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, and a PhD from the Institute of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford. She is currently Visiting Scholar at the Papyrus Museum-Austrian National Library researching Egyptian medieval textiles. Her paper, “Embroidered Politics” examines the rich, politically charged context of a magnificent embroidered tunic used and re-used by Andalusi and Castilian rulers during the 10th and 11th centuries.
Kirsty Robertson earned a PhD from the Department of Art: Studies in Visual and Material Culture, Queen’s University, Ontario. She serves as an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art and Museum studies at the University of Western Ontario. In “Felt Space: Responsive Textiles, Fabric Dwellings and Precarious Housing” she examines various contemporary fabric dwellings and how they are a metaphor of the precarity of home in the 21st century.
Altogether, six authors of five papers were nominated in this year’s competition. Congratulations go to Susan Falls and Jessica Smith, Sarah Parks, and Eulanda A. Sanders. The winners receive a certificate and a monetary award and all finalists receive complimentary Symposium registration. Further details about FPA, the nomination process and previous winners, can be found TSA Newsletter, September 2012.
Submitted by Michele A. Hardy
TSA Director of External Relations