The Textiles and Materiality Research Cluster is part of the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology at Concordia University. Textiles and Materiality brings together research creation expertise from textile arts and material culture to experiment with methods, processes and interdisciplinary modes of thinking that will shape the future of textiles, material objects and charged experiential spaces.
The cluster fosters research-creation expertise in textile arts and technologies, such as complex weaving, electronic fabrics, interactive garments, rapid prototyping technologies, emerging materials, soft surfaces, and smart fashion. The synergy, momentum, and strategic collaborations that emerge from this collective, support innovation in new material research practices, leveraging the rich potential of interdisciplinary work.
The cluster is located in the Engineering and Visual Arts Complex (EV) in downtown Montreal, at 1515 Ste-Catherine Street West. There are four designated research spaces currently under management of the Textiles and Materiality Cluster.
Barbara Layne is a Professor in Fibres and Material Practices at Concordia University and the Director of Studio subTela. She lectures and exhibits internationally, most recently at Columbia University (NYC), The Museo Textil de Oaxaca, Mexico, the Festival de la Imagen in Colombia, and the Kaunas Biennale of Textiles in Lithuania. Her work is supported by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts and Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Layne combines traditional materials and digital technologies. Natural materials are woven in alongside microcomputers, sensors and wireless systems to create flexible LED fabrics that are responsive to external stimuli. The resulting garments and wall hangings propose new possibilities for fabric and human interaction.
Kelly Thompson is an Associate Professor in Fibres and Material Practices and MFA Studio Arts programs at Concordia University. She exhibits her work internationally in exhibitions, festivals and biennials. Visually her work often represents water, and the borders between land, sea or river as transitory moments of time, place and memory. In another strand, concepts of digital traces, mapping, language, and translation are woven into cloth, engaging with technology, sensorial affects and materiality. Material codes: ephemeral threads is a current research-creation project funded by Le Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture that explores data systems, overlooked, unseen or undecipherable coded language, materializing ideas of digital trust and failure as contemporary woven tapestries.
Joanna Berzowska is Associate Professor in Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University as well as the founder and research director of XS Labs, a design research studio with a focus on innovation in the fields of electronic textiles and reactive garments. Berzowska is also the Head of Electronic Textiles at OMsignal, a wearable and smart textile platform that enables leading fashion brands to design smart apparel. A core component of her research involves the development of enabling methods, materials, and technologies, focusing on innovation in composite functional fibers, soft electronics, and additive manufacturing. Joanna completed graduate studies at the MIT Media Lab. Her art and design work has been shown in the V&A in London, the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum in NYC, the Millennium Museum in Beijing, the Art Directors Club in NYC, the Australian Museum in Sydney, NTT ICC in Tokyo, SIGGRAPH, ISEA, SIGCHI, and Ars Electronica Center in Linz among others. She lectures internationally about the field of electronic textiles and related social, cultural, aesthetic, and political issues.
Professor pk langshaw, Department of Design and Computation Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University is a committed faculty member who strives to facilitate fluid models of knowledge acquisition in design education. Langshaw has social and interventionist design expertise and is a collaborator on diverse large scale projects that are cross disciplinary, utilizing theory and practice to situate works as socio/cultural and environmental commentary. She has been funded by Hexagram, FQRSC, CASA, the McConnell Foundation, CIAM and SSHRC. In 2006, Langshaw formed the research group, d_verse, which reflects the poetic nature of and diverse strategies for collaboration, creation and communication. Her hybrid praxis is extracted from concrete poetry, and expanded by the quantic relations of sense of histories to the sensory of stories within public/collective and private/self realms. Interested all things verse- diverse, reverse, inversion, transversal, and reversible, the works are mediated by traditional and digital mediums in the form of garments, dynamic poems, video and photography and realized in the forms of bookworks, web sites, projections and performative events.
As an artist, scholar and educator, Kathleen Vaughan’s interdisciplinary practice integrates research-creation, methodological theorizing, and collaborative and community-based practices. Her research-creation has both an individual studio component and an orientation to collaborative, participatory projects, taking up questions of home, belonging and spirit of place. She is particularly compelled by the traces of histories that endure in places and the ways that human stories are built in place. She works in drawing, painting, photography, textiles and text, often in collaged conjunctions.
Kathleen holds a PhD in Education from York University (Toronto), where her multimodal PhD dissertation incorporating a visual art installation and illustrated text was the first of its kind at the university, and won four Canadian and international academic awards for innovation and excellence. Dr. Vaughan has also earned an MFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University (Montreal), a diploma in Fine Arts from the (then) Ontario College of Art (Toronto) and a BA in English and Art History from the University of Toronto.
Alice Jarry is an artist, researcher and educator who specializes in site-specific responsive works, socio-environmental design, digital arts, tangible media, and community-oriented projects. Her research brings concerns about sustainability, aesthetics, and politics to bear critically upon materiality, material production, and contemporary matters-of-concern regarding urban communities and infrastructures. With matter inseparable from both form and practice, her installation works examines how materiality – engaged in constant processes of transformation and circulation with site, technology, and communities – can provoke the emergence of adaptive forms and resilient socio-environmental relations.
Her current research focuses on residual matter and recycling/upcycling processes for glass. From natural resource extraction (Dust Silica, 2018) to current downcycling methods (Dust Agitator, 2018), Alice Jarry explores how the alliances between waste management infrastructure, design, art, and process philosophies can produce new modalities and experiences for residual matter.
Alice Jarry’s work have been funded by SSHRC, FQRSC, and Hexagram. As part of the research-creation program Beyond the operative images (UQAM-FQRSC, 2016-19), she examines how data flows can generate new critical and inclusive modes of engagement with materiality, land use, the built environment, and the socio-environmental impact of human activity. She is a member of Kheops – an International research consortium that adopts a socially responsible approach of the governance and management of major infrastructure projects within Québec and Canada. She is equally a member of Montreal based Digital Arts Collective Perte De Signal (Montréal), Milieux Institute for Research-Creation (Concordia University) and Hexagram (Montréal).
Kelly Jazvac (b. Hamilton, ON) works with plastic waste to probe the permanence of disposability. She often re-works found images from advertisements printed on plastic into new site-specific installations. She is also part of a SSHRC-funded plastic pollution research team called The Synthetic Collective, which includes scientists, artists and writers. She has upcoming exhibitions at MoMA (New York); Fierman Gallery (New York); The Musée D’Art Contemporain (Montréal), and Art Museum at the University of Toronto. Her recent exhibitions include the Eli and Edyth Broad Museum (East Lansing); Ujazdowski Castle CCA (Warsaw); and Fierman Gallery (New York). Her work has been written about in National Geographic, e-flux Journal, Hyperallergic, Art Forum, The New Yorker, Border Crossings, Canadian Art, C Magazine and The Brooklyn Rail. Her collaborative art/science research has been published in scientific journals including Nature Reviews, GSA Today, and Science of the Total Environment. She is based in Montreal, where she is an Associate Professor of Sculpture in the Department of Studio Arts.
Surabhi Ghosh received her MFA in Fiber from Cranbrook Academy of Art and her BFA in Fabric Design from the University of Georgia. Prior to joining Concordia University in 2014, she taught at the University of Oregon and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Ghosh’s work and collaborative projects have been exhibited at venues including the Wing Luke Museum (Seattle, WA), the Museum of Contemporary Craft (Portland, OR), and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (Eugene, OR).
Her work is included in several collections such as the University of Chicago Rare Books Collection, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection. She recently participated in artist residency programs at Ox-Bow (Saugatuck, MI) and SPACE (Portland, ME).
From 2004 to 2013, she was cofounder and codirector of an international artists’ cooperative and annual publication project known as Bailliwik. From 2012 to 2014, she was also a codirector and member of Ditch Projects, an experimental artist-run space in Oregon.
Patrick Traer has taught at the Emily Carr Institute of Art &Design, the University of Lethbridge, the University of Saskatchewan and York University. He is best known for his large format drawings, embroidered textile works and upholstered sculptures which often extend into mixed media installations using video, photography, light-boxes, and blown glass. These works reference incubation periods, biological obsolescence, and mythologies of human anatomy. He holds a bachelor degree in English Literature, and an MFA in Visual Arts. His work has been exhibited widely across Canada and internationally at such venues as The Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, The Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, The Walter Philips Gallery in Banff, The Dunlop Art Galleryin Regina, Plug-in in Winnipeg, YYZ in Toronto, the Sheehan Gallery in Washington, and The Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis. He has received numerous awards including the Canada Council Paris Studio.
ELAINE CHEASLEY PATERSON
Dr. Elaine Cheasley Paterson is Associate Dean, Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Craft Studies in the Department of Art History at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Concordia University in Montréal, Canada. She holds a PhD from Queen’s University (Kingston, 2004), where she was a recipient of the Bader Fellowship in Art History. Her funded research concerns women’s cultural philanthropy in early twentieth-century British, Irish and Canadian craft guilds of the home arts movement and for tracing a lineage from this historical material to the current resurgence in Do-it-yourself, maker culture and craftivist practices.
Her writing and teaching are focused on the relationships between material culture and feminist theory, with an emphasis on the decorative arts and craft history. Another significant stream of her research, emerging from her teaching, is centred around questions of skill, hybridity, and pedagogy within a contemporary craft milieu. Some of her publications include Sloppy Craft: Postdisciplinarity and the Crafts (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), with Susan Surette; ‘Crafting Empire: Intersections of Irish and Canadian Women’s History,’ Journal of Canadian Art History (2014);co-editor with Gloria Hickey of a special issue of Cahiers métiers d’art – Craft Journal on Craft and Social Development (2012); ‘Judy Chicago’s Rainbow Shabbat at the MMAQ,’ in Chicago in Glass – en Verre, ed. Pierre Wilson (2010); ‘Gender and Canadian Ceramics: Women’s Networks’ in On the Table: 100 Years of Functional Ceramics in Canada(Gardiner Museum catalogue, 2006);‘Decoration and Desire in the Watts Chapel’ in Gender and History (2005); ‘Crafting a National Identity’ in The Irish Revival Reappraised (2004).
Upcoming publication projects include her work co-editing a special issue on Identity, Craft, Marketing of the Journal of Canadian Art History (2018), Craft and Heritage: Intersections in Critical Studies and Practice (2019) and The Craft Studies Handbook for Bloomsbury Academic in 2020.Her most recent publication “Our Lady of the Snows : Settlement, empire and ‘the children of Canada’ in the needlework of Mary Seton Watts” in L. Binkley and J. Amos, eds. Stitching the Self (2018) emerges from her initial forays into a new line of research concerned with education, settlement, social benevolence and imperial philanthropy (through the migration of people, craft practices and objects) in early twentieth-century Britain and Canada.
She is on the editorial board of Cahiers métiers d’art – Craft Journal (Montréal), a member of the Centre for the Study of Canadian Women Artists and the Quebec Quilt Registry Project at Concordia, a Research Fellow of the Institute for Studies in Canadian Art and a member of the Advisory Board of the Canadian Craft Biennial.
Pagotto is a director/designer working in theater, dance, film and visual arts. She has designed lights, sets, and costumes for numerous dance, theatre, and film productions that have been shown in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Istanbul, Toronto, Turin, Paris, and Montreal, among others.
Pagotto earned her BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, and her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, in Specialization in Design for the Theatre. She taught performance theory and design at Oregon State University, USA from 2003-2006, and now teaches at Concordia University in Montreal since 2008, the University of Ottawa since 2014, and The National Theatre School of Canada since 2015. She has also lectured and given workshops at the modern dance conservatory of the Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul, Turkey and at Wesleyan University, USA.
Pagotto received a development grant from the Canada Council for the Arts for the second part of theatre company Landed2’s The Suspension of Wait trilogy, as well as a production grant from the Quebec Council of Arts and Literature (CALQ) for the first part of the trilogy.
Pagotto’s costumes for Geordie Production’s Robin Hood were nominated for a 2013 META for Outstanding Costume Design. Pagotto received a META nomination for Outstanding Contribution to the Theatre for Video Design in 2016 for Sidewalk Chalk, and again for both Best Costume Design and Best Set Design for Waterweight, in 2017. In 2018, Instant, directed by Dean Fleming, and for which Pagotto designed Set, Costumes and Internal Lighting, won the DORA MAVOR MOORE award for Outstanding Production (TYA). Her designs on Scapegoat Carnivale’s Yev were nominated for Best Costumes at the 2019 METAs. She has collaborated several times with Public Recordings, led by Toronto-based choreographer, Ame Henderson. Their work has been shown at the Féstivale TransAmérique, The Harbourfront Center, The National Arts Centre of Canada, the WorldStage Festival and throughout Europe.
Aaron McIntosh (b. 1984, Kingsport, TN) is a cross-disciplinary artist whose work mines the intersections of material culture, family tradition, sexual desire and identity politics in a range of works including quilts, sculpture, collage, drawing and writing. As a fourth-generation quilt maker whose grandparents were noted quilters in their Appalachian communities, this tradition of working with scraps is a primary platform from which he explores the patch worked nature of identity. Since 2015, McIntosh has managed Invasive Queer Kudzu, a community storytelling and archive project across the LGBTQ South.
His work has been exhibited at the Toldedo Museum of Art, Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Yale University’s Green Art Gallery, the International Quilt Study Center, the Los Angeles Craft & Folk Art Museum and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art in New York City. His current research creation project, Hot House/Maison Chaude, is supported by a 2020-2022 SSHRC Insight Development grant. Additionally, McIntosh is a recipient of the 2020 United States Artist Fellowship in Craft, a 2018 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship, a 2017 Virginia Culture Works Grant, and two Center for Craft Windgate Fellowships in 2006 and 2015. He has held residencies at the Banff Centre, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. His critical writing has been published in the Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, the Surface Design Journal, and the Journal of Modern Craft.
As an educator, McIntosh is committed to transforming and diversifying the next generation of fibre/textile artists. Since 2010, he has taught in the Fibre programs of James Madison University, the Maryland Institute College of Art, Virginia Commonwealth University, and currently is an Associate Professor in the Fibres & Material Practices program at Concordia University in Montreal.
Dr Miranda Smitheram is a design researcher and artist, who explores themes of hybridity and materiality. Originally from Aotearoa (New Zealand), she is currently Assistant Professor of Material Futures in the Department of Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University. Miranda’s research practice is tactile, haptic and embodied, and incorporates ancestral and speculative methods to work with ecosystems, socio-cultural matter, and nonhuman collaborators. Through this she explores developing new mediated and hybrid materials, to contribute to sustainable, relational and Indigenous futures.
Miranda’s research moves between digital, virtual and physical, with a particular interest in the critical materiality that is revealed through the flux of these processes. These mediated materials take form as textile surfaces, structures and digital artworks that question the interaction and agency of human and nonhuman, place and space in a post- anthropocentric context.
Dr Smitheram comes from an industry background in fashion and textile design with ten years of experience as a design team leader and fashion designer, in commercial multi-brand direction and as award-winning designer/business owner of her own independent label.
Miranda holds a Masters in Design and a Masters in Philosophy with First Class Honours from Auckland University of Technology. Miranda’s PhD thesis explored ontology and aesthetics in digital and virtual materiality, and involved novel interdisciplinary research charting the dynamics of cloth in motion capture. This doctoral research won the Dean’s Award for Excellence. Miranda was then awarded a two-year Māori Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies at Auckland University of Technology. Miranda has exhibited her work and presented research internationally in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Italy, Portugal, Estonia, Finland, Australia, and Canada.
* See more of our research members here.
View a downloadable PDF of our 2019-2020 Cluster Annual Report.