Call for Papers

Fibres, Threads and Fabrics: Textile Development as Material Culture in the African Diaspora

The second biennial dress conference of the African Diaspora

Saturday 9th May 2020, University of the Arts London: London College of Fashion, London, UK

The construction and production of textiles and fabrics amongst people of African Heritage is something that has not only helped them clothe and adorn their bodies, but textiles and fabrics have been used in the restoration and establishment of dignity and the achievement of elevated social status and aggrandisement.

We must make a distinction between textiles and fabrics and how we are expecting their usage to be explored for this CFP. Textiles constitute any material which has been produced through interlacing; mulching, matting or plaiting this includes straw plaiting and fibres that are formed from tree bark, sap or other bio cultures. Fabrics are materials that are produced through weaving, knitting, crochet and bonded fibres. Due to the creativity and circumstances of the people from Africa and the African Diaspora, all of these methods of producing textiles and fabrics have been used in the creation of dress and adornment.

As a result of this resourcefulness, we understand that fabrics and textiles have very much become a part of the material culture that determines the consumption, behaviour, practices and cultural customs that verify the social reality of people of African heritage.

CIAD’s second dress conference of the African Diaspora aims to understand how the design, development, construction, and production of textiles and fabrics have been utilised for dress and adornment and used as signifiers of material culture.

PhD’s, researchers, writers, textile producers and curators are being invited to present papers using their current research, collections or other scholarly activity to discuss the many different ways people of African heritage have used fabrics and or textiles to identify and represent themselves or their cultural group; establish, maintain or elevate their social status; convey and communicate political or social messages; highlight or preserve craft practices or as a means to engage with sustainable development.

Potential speakers are being asked to submit a 300 word abstract with the title of their paper. Each speaker will be allotted twenty minutes to present their paper; slide presentations are not necessary but are welcome.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 27th December 2019.

Notification of the outcome will be advised by e-mail on or before Friday 24th January 2020.

Please send submissions to

CFP: Carnival in Africa

We are proposing a special issue for African Arts journal concentrating on Carnival in Africa to be published in 2021.

Carnival is differentiated from other performance and masquerade events by virtue of expressed resistance to authority. Play in the form of dressing up and acting out reveals a society’s culture, as evinced in many diverse black carnivals connected to the Atlantic. Their commonalities are based in a shared context of the power shift from African to European hegemonies in the long colonial period beginning shortly after the Age of Discovery in the late-sixteenth century and continues, in many respects, to present day. Destabilization caused by foreign political, economic and religious imposition and the suppression of African customs led to the transformation of indigenous practices to hybrid forms that offer a shared expression of cultural unity and togetherness among those responding to foreign domination or influence.

Thousands of Africans who were forcibly transported to the Americas in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries developed the first Black Atlantic carnivals, a new art form resulting from the mixing of African and European performance traditions. Carnival then traveled to African ports during colonialism in the late-nineteenth century where it was mixed again with local African practices. Black Atlantic carnivals share traits inherited from the overturning of their socio-political world and to form a unique bond. Because performance aspires to both replace the old and embody something new, black carnivals emphasize the link to modernity while unraveling its connection to Western ideas of racism and civilization.

Therefore, carnival is an amorphic art form that flows across oceans and continents that was and continues to be employed to heal cultural and political trauma in the Black Atlantic. While most scholarship has focused on carnivals in the Americas, this issue hopes to bring greater awareness to the artistic practice in Africa.

If you would like to submit an article abstract to be considered for this proposal, please send your 200-250 word abstract to both of us by November 30, 2019. We will select the abstracts in December and submit the issue proposal and abstracts in January.

Courtnay Micots, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Art History. Department of Visual Arts, Humanities and Theatre. Florida A&M University.