This resource was made possible by an Art Fund Curatorial Network Grant with additional support from the British Plastics Federation, Worshipful Company of Horners, and Plastics Historical Society.
It is the result of collaboration between the Dress and Textiles Specialists (DATS) led from the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) with Glasgow Museums; and the Plastics Subject Specialist Network (PSSN) led from the Museum of Design in Plastics (MoDiP).
Project team members were Connie Karol Burks, textile expert, and Stephanie Wood, textile expert and project manager, both V&A; Edwina Ehrman, dress historian, and former curator at the V&A and Museum of London; Susan Lambert, PSSN convenor and project leader, MoDiP, Arts University Bournemouth; Rebecca Quinton, textile expert and DATS chair, Glasgow Museums; Dr Anita Quye, plastics and textile expert, University of Glasgow’s Archives and Special Collections; and Dr Leanne Tonkin, plastics and textile expert and conservator, Nottingham Trent University. A call to the Plastics Historical Society led also to the significant involvement of Jim Massy, scientist and textile industrialist. He brought what in retrospect was essential scientific knowledge to the project.
Building the toolkit
The content and structure of the resource was agreed by the project team. Then, using a model of participatory research, knowledge was pooled and discussed at five specialist workshops held at the V&A, MoDiP, Leeds Museums and Galleries, Westminster Menswear Archive and the University of Glasgow’s Archives and Special Collections. Each workshop studied a range of objects from the venue collection which led to the choice of garments in the Documented garment exemplars. The V&A workshop focused on high fashion; MoDiP’s on more everyday garments; Leeds' on tailoring; Westminster Menswear Archive's on menswear and specialist clothing; and the University of Glasgow's Archives and Special Collections' on information gleaned from archival sources.
The workshops were attended in person and online. Attendees in addition to the project team included Emma Bowron, Oriole Cullen, Dr Louise Dennis, Joana T. Ferreira, Vanessa Jones, Pamela Langdown, Jannicke Langfeldt, Dr Susan Mossman, Katherine Pell, Natalie Raw who led the Leeds Museums and Galleries workshop, Alison Spence, Dr Daniel Sprecher who led the Westminster Menswear Archive workshop, Sonnet Stanfill and Lucie Whitmore. Their insights and ongoing support for the project were invaluable.
Building on the knowledge shared at the workshops, imparted in project team meetings, and through email exchanges, the toolkit, through an iterative process, was compiled by Susan Lambert, edited by Edwina Ehrman, and copy-edited and formatted for the DATS booklet by Rebecca Quinton. Texts were contributed by Connie Karol Burks, Edwina Ehrman, Dr Brenda Keneghan, Dr James Massy, Dr Anita Quye, Natalie Raw, Dr Danielle Sprecher, and Dr Leanne Tonkin. The scientific facts were checked by Dr Brenda Keneghan.
Fibre sampling and analysis
Fibre samples were taken by Nora Brockmann at the V&A, Emma Bowron at Leeds Museums and Galleries, and Lizzie Cherry of Janie Lightfoot Textiles at Westminster Menswear Archive and MoDiP. Their analysis was undertaken by Louise Garner, PhD student, working to Dr Katherine Curran, Institute for Sustainability, University College London. Lucia Burgio from the V&A also provided support.
Photography was undertaken by David Lindsay at Leeds Museums and Galleries; photographs of MoDiP objects are courtesy of MoDiP, Arts University Bournemouth; of WMA objects courtesy of Westminster Menswear Archive, University of Westminster; and of V&A objects courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The resource has been peer-reviewed by users at a workshop held at the Museum of London led by Dr. Lucie Whitmore. Further peer-review workshops in collaboration with the Dress and Textile Specialists (DATS) are planned.
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