Cut on the bias, a term from tailoring and the fashion industry, refers to fabric that is cut on a diagonal at a 45 degree angle to the warp and weft of the fabric. The term literally refers to cutting against the grain, and metaphorically to stretching familiar patterns, and to finding room for maneuver in an otherwise familiar material.

An important goal of Cut on the Bias is to develop networks laterally and internationally. Participants have been drawn from variety of backgrounds and circumstances – some work in dedicated textile programs, while others create and study textiles alongside other careers.

Participants will take part in discussion groups throughout the two days of the workshop. Groups will be made of 4-6 participants each, and each discussion group will focus on overarching questions but discuss several smaller ones as they come up (see appended list). Participants may draw on position papers, visual examples, case studies or models prepared in advance in relation to the following readings:

Julia Bryan-Wilson. “Sewing Notions.” Artforum February 2011.
Being Human: Human Computer Interaction in the Year 2020. Edited by Richard Harper et. Al. Microsoft Research, 2008.
Helen Molesworth. “Work Ethic.” Work Ethic [catalogue]. Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art, 2003.
Claire Bishop. “The Social Turn: Collaboration and its Discontents.” Artforum February 2006.
Jacques Rancière. “The Emancipated Spectator.” Artforum March 2007.

The long list of possible discussion topics (to which participants are welcome to add) include: The use of wearable technology or locative media as teaching tools; the interest of computational arts in a re-engagement with material practice; the role of military funding in textile research; responsive textiles and their possible social applications; the role of textiles in sustainable initiatives; the ongoing importance of traditional techniques (many of which are increasingly outsourced); learning from emergent and revitalized indigenous textile practices; increased use of fabric in architectural applications; questions of labour; the pedagogical possibilities of community-based practices, and whether such changes have resulted in an unsettling or a retrenchment of the gendering of the field.


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