STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The R. L. Shep Memorial Book Award is given annually to the publication judged to be the best book of the year in the field of global cultural heritage textile studies. The award consists of a monetary award funded by an endowment established by R. L. Shep in 2000. The purpose of this award is to encourage the study and understanding of textile traditions by recognizing and rewarding exceptional scholarship that focuses on textiles through the lens of cultural practices and ancestral heritage. The endowment is administered by the Textile Society of America, which appoints an Award Committee to judge nominated books.
ELIGIBILITY FOR AWARD
Nominations are open to English language books (including bilingual or multilingual publications in which all essential information appears in English) published in 2022. For the purpose of the award, “global cultural heritage” or “cultural practices and ancestral heritage” textiles topics are defined as the non industrial textiles of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Native and Latin America, as well as those of identifiable cultural groups in Europe and North America. Books on subjects closely related to textiles (such as dyeing, basketry, costume design, etc.) may be nominated and will be considered based on their centrality to the intent of the award as judged by the Award Committee. Books of a variety of formats, including monographs, anthologies, and exhibition catalogs may be nominated.
Books written or produced by committee members are ineligible for the prize. An Award Committee member who wishes to have his or her book considered must step down and be replaced by another Board-appointed member.
In order to avoid the practice of giving awards to “insiders,” books written or produced by current members of the Board are also ineligible for the prize.
Individuals who have previously received the R.L. Shep Award are ineligible for nomination for a period of six years.
CRITERIA FOR JUDGING
The Award Committee will judge the nominated books on the basis of two main criteria:
a.) The book brings the highest standard of research and scholarship to a topic of significance to the field of global cultural heritage textile studies.
b.) The book presents its material in a manner that is accessible and engaging for the public as well as for textile scholars.
The committee will look in particular for a successful balance of these two criteria. Books with high production values, such as exhibition catalogs, are likely to be selected only if they contribute significant new scholarship to the field.
NOMINATION AND JUDGING PROCESS
Nominations for books published in a given year must be received in writing by the chairperson of the Award Committee by September 18, 2023. Nominations must include the title of the book and name of at least one author or editor, year of publication, name of publisher, if known, and briefly summarize the main subject/contributions of this book and why it deserves to win this award (150 words maximum). Nominations may be submitted by anyone. Nominations for books from 2022 are closed for 2023.