[ISEA2011] Paper: Åsa Ståhl, Kristina Lindström, Margareta Melin & Johanna Rosenqvist – Stitching Together an Editorial Sewing Circle


This paper shows how meaning is created through the process of arranging and re-arranging fragments; how meaning is created through patches, seams and quilting.

Various researchers have been using metaphors from textile handicraft in relation to knowledge construction, writing techniques and other forms for disseminating knowledge (eg. Haraway, 1988; Brännström Öhman and Lovholts, 2007).

The paper will, however, focus not only on metaphors, but also on the practice itself of quilting (Brännström Öhman and Lovholts, 2007) and seams (Sundén, 2008).  We use the concept of quilting as it allows us to move beyond the single narrator and include multiple voices. The concept of seams is used, as it puts focus upon the things that hold thoughts, stories, memories, and knowledge together, as well as what separates them (Sundén, 2008).

More specifically this paper draws on our experiences of the sewing circle Stitching Together, to which people were invited to embroider text messages by hand and/or by using an embroidery machine, which has been programmed to receive text messages. In Stitching Together knowledge is materialised through textile and create new knowledge from working with textile material.

In one version of the sewing circle we invited participants to put these fragments of conversations together, to create new narratives, and thus partake in what we call an Editorial Sewing Circle . This also included a patchwork-seminar in which we (authors) had prepared patches of texts, which were placed on the floor in front of a circle of audience, and used as a starting point for discussions. Throughout the seminar the participants were asked to make their own patches and join the conversation.

Based on these text-patches, and the conversations that took place during the seminar, we will in this paper tell a story that embraces several academic perspectives such as that of editorial boards and that of sewing circles as historical, professional and artistic forms for collaboration, production and hierarchies.

  • Åsa Ståhl is a PhD student in Media and Communication Studies at the School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University, Sweden. With a background in radio journalism and sound art her interest has been, for the last decade, on telling stories, re-telling others’ stories and creating platforms/situations for collaborative storytelling. As part of her collaborative PhD project she has started to focus more on philosophy of science, actors and networks, mobility and ethics. misplay.se
  • Kristina Lindström, Malmö University, Sweden
  • Dr. Margareta Melin PhD in Journalism, Associate Professor / Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University. Her research lies in the crossroad of journalism studies, feminism, cultural studies and artistic research. Melin’s artistic practice lies in the realm of textile, and Melin has worked as textile designer and costume designer.
  • Dr. Johanna Rosenqvist completed her PhD in Art History and Visual Culture, at Lund University in 2007. Her dissertation interrogates the institutional boundaries of Art through examining the aesthetics of sexual difference in the case of Swedish Handicraft of the 1920s and 1990s. Since 2007 she has been Associate Professor/ Senior Lecturer in Design and Art History and Visual Culture at Linnæus University, Växjö, Sweden. Presently Rosenqvist is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cultural Sciences at Lund University, researching performative aspects of arts and crafts. As KOEFF her artistic practice lies in producing noise and performing at venues mainly in Sweden but also f ex in Germany and China. ”Performative Handicraft. The Making of Gender in Artistic Practices” is the working title of Johanna Rosenqvist’s post doc research project. The project explores the performative aspects of practical skills by focusing on how notions of gender are used to communicate different artistic genres. The objective is to present and discuss the visual representations of art being made. klaustrostudio.com/koeff.htmlPerformance at Dogzstar, Istanbul, 17.09. 2011  Video: Koeff Live at Motvikt 2008 2

Full text (PDF) p. 2305-2311