The Founding Presidents Award was inaugurated in 2008 to recognize excellence in the field of textile studies and to ensure that the finest new work is represented at the organization’s biennial symposium. The awards are named in honor of the five founding presidents – Peggy Gilfoy (deceased), Milton Sonday, Lotus Stack, Mattiebelle Gittinger and Louise W. Mackie.
The TSA Founding Presidents Award for the best paper presented at the 2018 Symposium, The Social Fabric: Deep Local to Pan Global was awarded to:
Trish FitzSimons is a Professor and Acting Head of the Griffith Film School, Griffith University. She is a documentary filmmaker, social historian and exhibition curator. Recent work includes Navigating Norman Creek (2015) and Australian Documentary: History, Practices, Genres (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
Madelyn Shaw is currently the Curator of Textiles at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. She was a Visiting Fellow at Griffith University in Fall 2015, working with Trish FitzSimons to develop the project titled The Fabric of War: The Global Trade in Wool from Crimea to Korea.
Their co-authored paper, The Fabric of War: Wool and Local Land Wars in a Global Context, part of a larger project exploring the relationship between wool and war, examines how, in the industrial age, the “deep local” effects of taking land from indigenous populations and turning it over to sheep pastoralism both encouraged and was encouraged by the “pan-global” trade in wool that resulted.
The TSA Founding Presidents Award for the best paper presented at the 2016 Symposium, Cross Currents: Land, Labor and the Port, was awarded to:
Jean L. Kares is an independent scholar, instructor, writer, editor, artist and occasional curator. She holds an MFA in Art History from the University of British Columbia, specializing in China. She currently teaches topics in Asian art history and textile history for Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies and writes for the journal Studio: Canadian Art and Design. In 2015, she curated the exhibition “Interwoven Stories: Textiles, Costumes, Cultures” for the Chinese Cultural Centre and Museum in Vancouver, BC. Her paper, Performance, Adaptation, Identity: Cantonese Opera Costumes in Vancouver, Canada, interrogates an historical moment that links the costumes in the MOA collection, Vancouver’s Chinese immigrant community, ritual performance, and the city’s Golden Jubilee Parade of 1936.
The TSA Founding Presidents Award for the best paper presented at the 2014 Symposium, New Directions, was awarded to:
Olivia Valentine creates architectural scale textile installations exhibited nationally and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions have included Panorama at Pasajist in Istanbul and 1:1 at Happy Collaborationists Exhibition Space in Chicago. Olivia received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010 and her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Recent awards include a Fulbright Fellowship for Installation Art in Turkey (2012-13) and the Brandford/Elliott Award for excellence in Fiber Arts (2012.) In this paper, she speaks about her time in Turkey, presenting her research into İğne Oyasi, the regional needle lace often seen at the edge of a headscarf, and her studio production, where she used her research material to create Oya at new scales in new materials and contexts.
Emilie Wellfelt is an anthropologist and historian with over a decade’s experience of field work in Indonesia. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Linnaeus University in Sweden researching historiography in oral societies. She has a special interest in textile traditions in Eastern Indonesia. Her paper, The Secrets of Alorese ‘Silk’Yarn, is based on fieldwork among weavers in the village Uma Pura, situated on a small island in the Pantar strait, and reveals the secret behind the characteristic shiny finish of the ‘silk’ sarongs from Alor.
Three other authors were nominated in the 2014 competition. Congratulations to Margarita Gleba, Eric Mindling, and Ann Peters.
The TSA Founding Presidents Award for the best paper presented at the 2012 Symposium, Textiles & Politics, was jointly awarded to:
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.
The winners of the 2010 FPA award, presented at the 12th Biennial Symposium, held in Lincoln, Nebraska were:
Nancy Feldman and Claire Odland, for “Shipibo Textile Practices 1950-2010”.
Deborah Barkun and Jools Gilson-Ellis for “Choreographed Cartography: Translation, Feminized Labor, and Digital Literacy in half/angel’s The Knitting Map”.
These two, jointly authored winning papers reflect the theme of the 12th Biennial Symposium through connecting space and technologies in innovative ways. Barkun and Gilson-Ellis, for example, connect knitting with Global Positioning Systems and other interactive current mapping technologies. Feldman and Odland, use an ethnographic film, made in 1959, to work forward and backward in time enhancing their Shipibo textile research.