The Project Threadways logo beside an image of two hand-sewn quilts.



In 2019, and after 20+ years of planning and work, Natalie and the Alabama Chanin team officially formed Project Threadways as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to record, study, and interpret history, community, and power through the lens of fashion and textiles. That year also marked the inaugural Project Threadways Symposium, now an annual event that brings together scholars, artists, activists, and thinkers to explore how the act of making textiles has shaped the lives of individuals and communities. In addition to collecting oral histories and conducting research, staging events that serve as centers for conversation is crucial to the work that we do.

Today, we announce the 2023 Symposium, held April 20-22 in The Shoals. The theme is The Collective: Textiles as Community, exploring the power of small groups to create big changes through the everyday act of making. Project Threadways will share stories of those who have gathered to weave, make, craft, sew, and tuft—creating economic opportunity, organizing resistance, and achieving self-determination from their work. 


The symposium kicks off Thursday, April 20, with a dinner at The Factory at Alabama Chanin, prepared by Nicole Mills, Chef de Cuisine of Pêche restaurant in New Orleans. The all-inclusive evening features guest speakers, a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, a full-course dinner, and wine pairings. Find more information and purchase tickets here.


Friday and Saturday programming includes two days of presentations, exhibitions, and conversations. Speakers include Katie Knowles, historian of textiles, clothing, and U.S. slavery; Aleia Brown of East Carolina University; Vallarie Pratt, scholar of Georgia chenille; Diana Weymar of the Tiny Pricks Project and Interwoven Stories; artist Donna Mintz of the Hambidge Center; Viola Ratcliffe of Bib & Tucker Sew-Op; and more. Attendees will tour an exhibit at Florence’s historic Pope’s Tavern Museum curated specially for the symposium. 

The 2023 event will offer in-person and virtual experiences, with multiple ways to participate. Find more information and purchase tickets on the Project Threadways website


Thursday, April 20, 2023
5:30pm – Registration and Cocktails
7:00pm – Project Threadways Dinner with chef Nicole Mills

Friday, April 21, 2023
9:00am – Breakfast
9:30am – Welcome
10:00am – Presentation by Aleia Brown*
10:45am – Presentation by Vallarie Pratt*
11:30pm – Presentation by Donna Mintz*
12:15pm – Lunch
1:30pm – Presentation by Viola Ratcliffe*
2:15pm – Panel discussion*
3:00pm – STITCH screening, followed by conversation with Natalie Chanin + Ansley Quiros*
4:30pm – Presentation by Katie Knowles at the Kennedy-Douglass Art Center
5:45pm – Pope’s Tavern exhibition and dinner

Saturday, April 23, 2022
9:00am – Breakfast
9:30am – Presentation by Diana Weymar
10:30am – Hands-on sewing circle with Diana Weymar
12:30pm – Lunch
1:15pm – Tour of The Factory
2:00pm – Panel discussion
3:30pm – Oral Presentation with Carrie Barske Crawford and Jimmy Shaw
4:00pm – Closing Remarks

– Please note all times are CST.

– All events take place at The Factory at Alabama Chanin unless otherwise noted.

– Events marked with an asterisk* are available for virtual streaming and participation.

– The Project Threadways Symposium is in partnership with the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, the Alabama Humanities Alliance, and Alabama Chanin. Proceeds for all ticket sales benefit 501(c)(3) certified Project Threadways. 

This program is supported by funding provided by the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area. 

This project is also supported by the Alabama Humanities Alliance, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the Alabama Humanities Alliance or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Chandelier, wine glasses, and Heath Ceramics plates at The Factory in Florence, Alabama.


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