The Textile Working Group

The Textile Working Group promotes the study of historical textiles. It provides opportunities for technical examination of textiles and a place to exchange ideas about approaches to textile research in academic study.

The fragility and complexity of textile material has made this a difficult field for research. Textile studies have been side-lined or set apart from broader art historical practices; however, there is a growing outside interest in the medium today. Given The Courtauld’s history in British textile manufacture, this group hopes to re-establish the institute’s connection to textiles and be a part of the growing movement in textile study today. Our goal is to share knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of textile media through the study of objects, technical workshops, and discussion with experts in this field. We will consider textiles in light of their conservation and technique, and within the context of inter-mediality, cultural encounters, colonialism and the phenomenology of making.


This group meets regularly to exchange ideas, discuss relevant readings and methodological approaches. Upcoming events include handling sessions with museums and galleries and technical skills training workshops (such as dyeing, spinning, and weaving). The group aims to host a conference centred on textiles in the coming years.

Activities are organised by a team of Courtauld Doctoral students who research textiles (Jessica Gasson, Carole Nataf, Jordan Quill, Margaret Squires and Julia van Zandvoort). Membership is open to faculty and postgraduate students, early-career academics and early career art world professionals with an interest in textiles.

To join please contact: including a brief outline of your interest in textiles.