Symposium 2016

Symposium 2016

Crosscurrents: Land, Labor, and the Port
Textile Society of America’s 15th Biennial Symposium

Savannah, GA, October 19-23, 2016
Organized in Partnership with Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD)

View the Program Outline


The 2016 Textile Society of America Symposium will take place in Savannah, Georgia on the campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. To maximize scholarly interchange, the Symposium will consist of multiple, concurrent sessions, plenary and keynote speakers, a poster session and curated exhibitions that will intersect with the scholarly program. In addition to the symposium sessions and exhibitions, there will be a series of dynamic pre- and post-conference workshops and study tours to local and regional art institutions and collections, receptions, special programs, and an awards ceremony.


Academic Program Co-Chairs: Jessica Smith, Professor of Fibers and Susan Falls, Professor of Anthropology, Savannah College of Art and Design

Exhibitions Chair: Liz Sargent, Professor of Fibers, Savannah College of Art and Design


Most Symposium programming takes place at the Hyatt Regency Savannah located along the waterfront at 2 W. Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401. Special programs take place around Savannah’s historic district including the keynote address, contemporary exhibitions, site seminars, tours and workshops.


For Crosscurrents: Land, Labor, and the Port, we invited participants to explore the ways in which textiles shape, and are shaped by historical, geographical, technological and economic aspects of colonization and/or globalization. How and why have textile practices moved around? As they travel, how have they been translated, modified, or used within acts of compliance or resistance? What impact have different regimes of labor, consumption, aesthetic valuation, or political/social economy had on textile production, use, and circulation? These questions apply to contemporary or historical fine art, utilitarian, or ethnographic textiles, and are addressed through scholarship or creative practice.

Due to its location and history, the southern United States is an ideal place to examine the interaction between local practices and global markets. Contributions explore textile practice in the broader contexts of agriculture, labor, innovation, or exchange. Papers represent a range of historic and contemporary perspectives on the role of technology and alternative economies in shaping design, production, circulation, consumption, exhibition, collection, valuation, interpretation and use of textiles.

Presenters come from around the world and represent a range of textile-related disciplines and interdisciplinary areas, including but not limited to history, anthropology, archaeology, art, conservation, geography, design, economics, ethnic studies, history, linguistics, material culture studies, mathematics, science, political science, sociology, and theater, among others. In addition to our usual submission categories (papers, organized sessions, roundtables, films and other media), for 2016 we extended the call to include poster sessions and curated exhibitions that will be on view at seven Savannah galleries.