Beyond Heritage

 University of Bergen, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, Department of Art


Project Leader: Tim Parry-Williams

Project Co-Director: Franz Schmidt - Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO)

Project abstract:

[Beyond Heritage: Material Making Meaning] is a collaborative project, emerging from the (shared) field of woven textiles. It explores ideas of craft and production, material heritage and futures, and the reading and interpretation of related (textile) histories, with a view to establishing new understandings and potentials in national or regional textile practice.

The project investigates the topics of weaving as metaphor; knowledge or cultural heritage in practice; reciprocity, ecology, and sustainability; cultural exchange and identity; and ideas of social fabric. These are addressed primarily in the context of Norway and the wider Nordic-region, but with reference to connected geographies, and emerging deglobalization.

The project operates through a set of interconnected work packages: 'Weaving:Making'; 'Weaving: Materials'; and 'Weaving:Reading', and in the long-term, aims to deliver a range of outputs including artworks, exhibitions, seminars, pedagogic material, practice models and policy, and publications.



The first year of Beyond Heritage has been about rationalising and activating the primary elements of the research. This presentation will share current departures, and in particular preliminary findings from investigation into textile-based links between England and Norway, through the apparent use of imported British woollen cloth in pre-1900 Norwegian folk dress.



Tim Parry-Williams is Professor of Art: Textiles at the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (KMD), University of Bergen. Initially trained in the UK and later in Japan, a holistic, craft-based education has continued to inform and drive a portfolio practice encompassing research, writing, consultancy, curation, education, and textile making. Exercising a broad, systematic approach, studio practice is underpinned by a range of interconnected themes, which often explore the tension grounds between analogue and digital, and craft and industry, and a keen focus on materials, and acknowledgment of tradition. Collaborative projects with leading artists, industrial partners, traditional artisan weavers and museums, have contributed to commercial collections, developmental projects, and publishing through conferences, and peer-reviewed journals and numerous expositions worldwide. Recent work has addressed broad concerns around sustainability, recognizing material provenance and inherent worth, and foregrounding forgotten understandings of textile and making, particularly in the domestic context. Sector roles include Trustee and Acquisitions Panellist at the Crafts Study Centre UK, Advisor - European Textile Network, Peer Reviewer for several international subject journals and funding bodies, and International Juror.

Image: D149/B10 Papers of Jas Winchcombe - Records of Scarlett orders (detail) - Image T.Parry-Wlliams © Gloucestershire Archives