Textile Intersections - Conference Call

Press/Media: Research cited


Anni Albers defined textiles as all work composed of threads and/or fibers (Albers, 1965). This definition may have changed, but textiles are still often defined by their form and/or structure, rather than by the nature of materials that compose them. Textiles offer qualities for different domains: from architecture to interiors and fashion, from agriculture to sport and medicine, from music to performance.

Period1 Aug 2023

Media coverage


Media coverage

  • TitleTextile Intersections
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media typeWeb
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    DescriptionConference call.

    Anni Albers defined textiles as all work composed of threads and/or fibers (Albers, 1965). This definition may have changed, but textiles are still often defined by their form and/or structure, rather than by the nature of materials that compose them. Textiles offer qualities for different domains: from architecture to interiors and fashion, from agriculture to sport and medicine, from music to performance. 

    The ubiquity of textiles means we often don’t think about their complexity because they can appear simple and humble. This complexity is hidden in their familiarity, it is seen and felt in their textures, it is observed in their ability to bring people together, it can be invisible in scale. Igoe’s (2021) interlacing of textile design theories gives these nuances of textiles a louder voice and transmits the intangible within textiles in a palpable way. The “one and the many” (Albers, 1965) dilemma textiles present calls for their relationship in the history of philosophy, textiles’ processes and materials, production economies, their use, contexts and cultural values, and their politics, to be further investigated. In this context an interdisciplinary perspective could reveal new knowledge and open up debate around how textiles are to be seen as specific for certain epistemologies, linking mathematics and mechanics, computation, and philosophy of technology (Heinzel, 2012).  

    Textiles proliferate many aspects of our daily life, they act as fluid objects, surface for decoration or more functional modulations, acting as “soft computers” (Berzowska, 2005) which may now incorporate sensors and actuators. They not only have high capacities, but they also offer a source for rich fictional explorations and narratives (Loeve, 2013). In most cases, textiles are “more than just textiles”, at the crossroad of different disciplines and scales (Heinzel & Hinestroza, 2020). Physical and digital are negotiating their primacy (Lovink & Hui, 2016; Galloway & Hui, 2022), and material data dialogue with our biological homeostasis (Havenith, 2002). This dialogue between digital and physical is ever present. In the context of digital fabrication, we see the transformation and democratization of practices, as well as aspects of consumers’ personalization of products. Through research at the intersection of organic and inorganic: we spin, weave and knit textiles, we grow and regenerate our fabrics, we put spiders at work to produce synthetic nerves the size of nanowires. Textiles intersect and touch every aspect of our world and into the metaverse, textile intersections give space to explore and discuss our entangled relationship with textiles, through our work, research and study. 

    At the same time, the volume of textile production poses a series of complex ethical and environmental challenges. The climate emergency calls us to action, we have exhausted resources and are filling our environment with waste and microplastic residue. We must pay attention to the ecologies of textiles! It is well known that the textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and we consume textiles at a speed and volume as never before (Fletcher & Tham, 2014). The multiple crises that are shaking our world are adding another layer to the already existing challenges we are facing. Not only do we have to reduce consumption, but we need to ensure that those who consume less can afford textiles, and that those textiles are of a better quality. 

    We also have to be aware of the relationship(s) between practices and discourses. If we accept that certain practices find it hard to translate experiences into concepts (Polanyi, 1967), then we also need to acknowledge that the articulation of theoretical positions, as well as the contexts of discourses are not neutral. We need proper translations between different modes of existence (Simondon, 2016), between different mediums (Jucan, Parrika, Schneider, 2018) and the ways we are framing the issues we encounter. If we are about to adopt Bruno Latour’s perspective (Latour, 2017), we also need to ensure not only that we put in place “positive” policies, but also to ensure we do not simply replace old discriminatory patterns with new ones. Personal, local, and global politics are coming together, while we still need to address situations case by case. 

    The aim of the Textile Intersections conference is to offer a platform where the cross and interdisciplinary perspectives related to textiles are possible, to discuss the nature of collaborations textiles tend to establish with other disciplines, as well as to address the outgrowth for each discipline. Which are the reasons for interdisciplinary research and who gets involved? How are these collaborations initiated? What makes a successful collaboration leading to innovative research? What are the issues? Why collaborate? What kinds of questions can different disciplines answer and in which cases is an interdisciplinary perspective essential? The conference invites actors in the field of textiles to analyze the way we are negotiating between different interests, different knowledge domains, resources, contexts, group interests and beneficiaries. The aim of our conference is to listen to different experiences, to confront our problems and fears and advance new perspectives.

    We are looking to receive papers that look both into the processes of fabrication and manufacturing, as well as in the contexts of consumption and the critical evaluation of these case studies, where both STEM and humanities approaches are encouraged. Collaborative, interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary perspectives will aim to address the breadth of textiles: from materials and techniques to processes, from applications to social and industrial configurations, from historical to contemporary aspects related to textiles. Textile techniques are some of the oldest technologies, avant-garde of the industrial revolution and in many cases they continue to be a barometer of the changes and reconfigurations that are taking place in industry and society. We encourage an approach which allows concurrent epistemologies to come together to support multidimensional perspectives related to the complex phenomena of textiles.


    Albers, A.  (2017). On Weaving, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Berzowska, J. (2005) “Electronic Textiles, Wearable Computers, Reactive Fashion, and Soft Computation”, Textile, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp. 2–19.

    Fletcher, K. & Tham, M. (eds.) (2014) Routledge Handbook of Sustainability and Fashion, London: Routledge.

    Galloway, A. & Hui, Y. (2022). “A Brief History of Digital Philosophy in 10 Expressions”, Dialogues in Philosophy and Technology Research Seminar IX, On-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSB6ev8rsys (accessed on 2nd of January 2023).

    Havenith, G. (2002) “Interaction of Clothing and Thermoregulation”, in Exogenous Dermatology, 1 (5), 221-230, DOI: 10.1159/000068802.

    Heinzel, T. & Hinestroza, J. (2020) “Revolutionary Textiles: A Philosophical Inquiry on Electronic and Reactive Textiles”, Design Issues, 36 (1): 45–58, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1162/desi_a_00574. 

    Igoe, E. (2021) Textile Design Theory in the Making, London: Bloomsbury Academic.

    Jucan, I. & Parrika & J., Schneider, R. (2018) Remain, Lüneburg: Meson Press in collaboration with Minnesota University Press.

    Latour, B. (2017) Où atterrir ? Comment s’orienter politique, Paris: Editions La Découverte.

    Loeve, S. & Bensaude-Vincent, B. & Gazeau, F. (2013) “Nanomedicine metaphors: From war to care. Emergence of an oecological approach”, NanoToday, 2013, vol. 8, no. 6, pp. 560–565, DOI: 10.1016/j.nantod.2013.08.003. 

    Lovink, G. & Hui, Y. (2016) “Digital Objects and Metadata Schemes”, E-flux Journal, #78, December.

    Polanyi, M. (1967) The Tacit Dimension, New York: Anchor Books. 

    Simondon, G. (2016) On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects. Trans. C. Malaspina and J. Rogrove. Minneapolis: Univocal.
    PersonsElaine Igoe


TitleTextile Intersections
LocationLoughborough University in London, London, United Kingdom
Period12 Sept 2019 → 14 Sept 2019


  • textiles
  • design research
  • interdisciplinarity
  • architecture
  • Design