Project Threadways, as a concept and idea, has been in the works for several years—taking shape in Natalie’s mind for even more. Last spring, the planning, learning, researching, and visioning came to life at the inaugural Project Threadways symposium, held at The Factory in April. Following the symposium, Project Threadways was officially established as a nonprofit 501(c)(3)—allowing us to further realize its mission of recording, studying, and exploring the history of the textile industry in The Shoals community, and the American South. Project Threadways continues to work in partnership with the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area to record oral histories, expand its exhibition, offer community programming, and plan the 2020 symposium among many more exciting endeavors.
Today, registration opens for the 2020 Project Threadways Symposium on April 16 – 18 at The Factory. Picking up where the 2019 symposium left off, the theme of this year’s symposium—“Textiles Across Time and Place: Examining a complicated past to create a more sustainable future”—places the story of textiles in our community in to a broader context by providing an overview of the timeline of textile history in the United States from the indigenous people who inhabited this area and the fibers they grew through the cotton economy of the antebellum south leading up to the Reconstruction era, sharecropping, and tenant farming. It also maps out the geography from the northeast corridor down through our region, highlighting the once-thriving textile cities and towns.
Symposium speakers will focus on the geography of textiles, material culture, sustainable fashion, and clothing of the enslaved. The list of speakers includes Carrie Barske-Crawford, Jessamyn Hatcher and Thuy Lihn Tu, Dana Thomas, Katie Randall, Kate Knowles, and Julius Tillery. (More on each of them soon.)
The three-day event will include tours of the area, a Friends of the Café Dinner with chef Whitney Otawka, a special lunch with Lisa Donovan, Angie Mosier, Cheetie Kumar, Judith Winfrey, and Anna Marshall, engaging lectures and talks, workshops, (more) good food, and conversation. This year a variety of ticket tiers are available: all-access, Friday access, and Saturday access.
Purchase tickets to the 2020 symposium here.
Give to Project Threadways here to further support our cause.
Check back on the Journal as we lead up to the symposium for speaker highlights, reading lists, resources, and Notes from the Field.
And find the 2020 schedule below.
Thursday, April 16, 2020
6:00pm – Registration, Cocktails, + Exhibition Opening: Textiles Across Time and Place
Friday, April 17, 2020
9:00am – Late Registration + Rivertown Breakfast @ The Factory
10:00am – Welcome + Introduction
10:30am – The Factory Tour with Natalie Chanin
11:00am – Short Break
11:15am – Material Culture Across Time with Carrie Barske
12:15pm – Short Break
12:30pm – Cloth Bound Lunch featuring Smithy Ironware with Lisa Donovan, Angie Mosier, Cheetie Kumar, Judith Winfrey, and Ann Marshall
2:00pm – The Geography of Textiles with Katie Randall, Jessamyn Hatcher, and Thuy Linh Tu
3:00pm – The Future of Fashion with Dana Thomas
4:00pm – Cocktail Hour + Small Bites @ The Factory
6:30pm – Open evening; optional dinner in downtown Florence
Saturday, April 18, 2020
9:00am – Rivertown Breakfast @ The Factory
10:00am – An Expanded Oral History with Katie Randall
11:00am – Clothing of the Enslaved with Katie Knowles
12:00pm – The State of Threadways: Bag Lunch + Brainstorming
2:00pm – Black Cotton: Farming, Fashion, Future with Julius Tillery
3:30pm – Optional: Making Workshop or Open Afternoon
5:30pm – Pope’s Tavern Tour with local historian Brian Murphy
6:30pm – Farewell Cocktails + Small Bites @ Uniform Shop: Tour of the Future with Carrie Barske