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PROJECT THREADWAYS SYMPOSIUM: TEXTILES ACROSS TIME AND PLACE

The Quilts of Gee’s Bendby William Arnett, Alvia Wardlaw, Jane Livingston, and John Beardsley; Sewing machine folder from Alabama Chanin’s Building 14 production facility by Abraham RoweFashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes by Dana Thomas; “Detail of fabric bolt”, 2013 by Rinne Allen; “The Ashcraft Mills Baseball Team”, date unknown courtesy of University of North Alabama Collier Library, Archives and Special Collections; “Contact sheet of Sherry Hipps, an oral history subject for Project Threadways”, 2021 by Hunt Fanelli 


Maya Angelou wrote, “The truth brings the past into the present and prepares us for the future. That’s what truth does.”  

This year’s Project Threadways Symposium theme is “Textiles Across Time and Place: Examining a complicated past to create a more sustainable future.” The virtual event takes place on April 16th and 17th with presentations about the geography of textiles, material culture across time, and also themes of race, sustainability, and fast fashion. 

Through the symposium and our work at Project Threadways, we acknowledge to understand the present and to create a more sustainable future, we must look to and learn from the past.  

As part of our mission, “We are proud of our region but are well aware of the pain that surrounds the research we are undertaking. It is our responsibility to tell all truths, not just the convenient ones. We seek to partner with all like organizations and presenters that can advance our research, provided they offer objective research. To the best of our ability, we intend to be transparent in our methods and our data. This project is meant to document a community and should be open to that same community’s examination. We do not seek to press an agenda upon the data we collect or the stories we document. Project Threadways will follow where the data leads us.” 

Through our partnership with and funding from the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area (MSNHA) we have developed a textile timeline—looking as far back to 3000 BCE when cotton was being cultivated in Mexico and Arizona through the Industrial Revolution, where, in the 1790s, Samuel Slater established the first successful water-powered cotton-spinning mill in the United States and to more recent events like the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013.  

The timeline will be presented virtually at the symposium and available to view at projectthreadways.org. The timeline is part of a a growing exhibition that will be on view in and around our community in the future.  

The symposium is open to the public with a variety of ticket tiers and a pay as you wish option. We also have an optional making workshop, VIP experience, and more.  

Register for the virtual Project Threadways Symposium on April 16th and 17th here.  

Learn about our organization here or below.  

Find the schedule of events here or below.  

About Project Threadways

Founded in 2019 as a 501(c)(3), Project Threadways records, studies, and explores the history of textiles. The organization utilizes Alabama Chanin’s experience, founder Natalie’s vision, and a partnership with and funding from the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area (MSNHA) to record oral histories, expand an ongoing exhibition, offer community programming, and plan annual symposiums among many more exciting endeavors.  

About The Symposium  

Symposium speakers will focus on the geography of textiles, material culture, sustainable fashion, enslaved people, and fast fashion. The list of speakers includes Carrie Barske-Crawford, Jessamyn Hatcher and Thuy Linh Tu, Dana Thomas, Katie Randall, Kate Knowles, and Julius Tillery.  

The virtual event will include a tour of The Factory—Alabama Chanin’s production and manufacturing facility, engaging lectures and talks, a making workshop with The School of Making, and inspiring conversation. A variety of ticket tiers are available: VIP, General Admission, and Pay as You Wish (recommended $35).  

This event is in partnership with the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and Alabama Chanin.  

All ticket sales will go to 501(c)(3) certified Project Threadways.  

For details and more information, contact events@alabamachanin.com  

Ticket Tiers  

VIP  

Cost: $525
This ticket gives you access to all events Friday, April 16th and Saturday, April 17th. Your virtual experience includes a tour of The Factory—Alabama Chanin’s production and manufacturing facility, a making workshop with The School of Making, a virtual cocktail hour and discussion, inspiring and engaging conversation, and access to all lectures and talks after the event. VIP guests will also receive a quarterly newsletter, Threadways, with exclusive textile stories and project updates, and access to two virtual discussions over the course of 2021.   

General Admission 

Cost: $65
This ticket gives you access to all events on Saturday, April 17th. Your virtual experience includes a virtual cocktail hour and discussion, inspiring and engaging conversation, and access to all lectures and talks after the event.   

Pay as you Wish  

Cost: You Choose (Recommended $35)
Pay as you wish and receive access to either the morning or afternoon session on Saturday, April 17th.   

Making Workshop 

Cost: $85.00

Choose to add Friday’s making workshop to your General Admission ticket.  

Schedule of Events 

Please note all times are CST.   

Friday 

2:00pm – 2:15pm Symposium Welcome + Introductions
2:15pm – 3:00pm Virtual Tour of The Factory
3:00pm – 4:00pm Virtual Making Workshop
4:00pm – 4:45pm The Future of Threadways with Natalie Chanin and Carrie Barske-Crawford + Virtual Cocktail Hour Discussion
4:45pm – 5:00pm Closing Remarks 

Saturday

Each presentation will last approximately 30 minutes with a 30 minute Q&A to follow.  

Morning Session 
8:00am – 8:15am  Symposium Welcome + Introduction
8:15am – 9:15am  Material Culture Across Time from Carrie Barske-Crawford
9:20am – 10:20am  The Geography of Textiles with Katie Randall, Jessamyn Hatcher, Thuy Linh Tu
10:25am – 11:25am  The Future of Fashion with Dana Thomas
11:30am  – 12:30pm  Break 

Afternoon Session  
12:30pm – 12:40pm Opening Remarks
12:40pm – 1:40pm An Expanded Oral History with Katie Randall
1:45pm – 2:45pm  Enslaved People and Fast Fashion with Katie Knowles
3:00pm – 4:00pm Black Cotton with Julius Tillery
4:00pm – 5:00pm Virtual Cocktail Hour Discussion 


The event and exhibition are supported through funding provided by the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area.

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