Janis Jefferies is an artist, writer and curator She is Professor of
Visual Arts artistic director of the Constance Howard Resource and
Research Centre in Textiles, Artistic Director of Goldsmiths Digital
Studios and co director of CAST, a research centre across social and
creative technologiesGoldsmiths, University of London. She convenes the
MFA in Computational Studio Arts and the PhD programmes in Arts and
Computational Technology in addition to the Thursday Club, an
interdisciplinary an open forum for anyone interested in the theories and
practices of cross-disciplinarity, interactivity, technologies and
philosophies of the state-of-the-art in the current and future cultural
landscape(s). It is supported by the Graduate School, Department of
Computing, and on various occasions Cultural Studies, Music, English and
Comparative Literature, Media and Communications and Design.
It is primarily aimed at Goldsmiths postgraduate students and staff that
do interdisciplinary research, work in projects that cross disciplines, or
are interested in issues of interdisciplinarity.
Jefferies was trained as a painter (Sheffield School of Art, Maidstone
College of Art and Camberwell College of Arts and Crafts)) and in woven
construction (Poznan Academy of Fine Arts, Poland). On return to the UK in
1978 she pioneered the field of contemporary textiles within visual and
material culture. She is recognised by her peers as one of the leading
practitioner /theorists of her generation, through solo exhibitions of
work (UK, Poland, America, Canada and Australia), conferences and
professional seminars (e.g. UK, America, Iceland, Italy, Spain, Latvia,
Estonia. Lithuania, Russia), and artist residencies at the Universities of
Wollongong and Newcastle (Australia), visiting professorships at Art
Institute of Chicago, and University of South Australia, 38 exhibitions (5
solo shows), curatorial work (15 since 1979), 48 journal publications, 11
catalogue essays for artists of international standing, 3 edited books and
several chapter contributions to anthologies distributed by Manchester and
Edinburgh University Presses, Telos Art Publishing, Berg Publishers,
Ashgate publishers and Palgrave McMilan and the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago, USA. She was one of the founding editors for Berg
publishers of Textile; The Journal of Cloth and Culture and is a member of
the international advisory board for Craft, also published by Berg
Since 2002 Janis Jefferies she has been working on technological based
arts working on projects involving new haptics technologies bringing the
sense of touch to the interface between people and machines, cloth and
communications and sensual technologies. She is associate researcher at
Hexagram Institute, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada where she has
been involved in 2 research projects electronic textiles and new forms of
media communication in cloth. Textile Transmissions and Translations is a
research project that will take advantage of the ability of fabric to
impart meaning through material and electronic languages, by combining a
creative approach to the textile arts with technical innovations in
circuitry and wireless transmissions. The Wearable Absence project (a
system of wearable devices known as ‘intelligent textiles’), developed by
two teams of researchers led by Professor Barbara Layne of Concordia
University, and Professor Janis Jefferies at Goldsmiths, University of
London, U.K., has received national and international coverage with over 1
million hits on Google since it was launched at the social sciences and
humanities conference in Montreal June 2010. WAB recently featured in
Edinburgh International Science Festival, Inscape Gallery, University of
Edinburgh, 9-22 April 2011. 18th April, panel with Kevin Warwck at It
Happened in Edinburgh on Pervasive Computing. It will be shown as part of
ISEA 2011, Istanbul and as part of the Smart Textiles show in Kaunas in
coverage of this project has appeared in print, on TV and on the web
worldwide in countries ranging from the UK, to India, Germany, France and
Egypt, and media outlets such as the BBC, NBC, FOX News, Medical News
Today and Science News.
The Wearable Absence project was also picked up by the following websites:
and many more.
She was PI on the AHRC funded E-Static Shadows practice-based research
project (2007-2009), with Dr. Zane Berinza investigating how electrostatic
energy can be utilised to play a part in the development of responsive and
interactive intelligent systems.
She currently mentors an AHRC Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts
for GDS (2006-2010), Stanza is a London-based artist, who specialises in
net art, multimedia, and electronic sounds. Jefferies mentors one other
AHRC project for Sociology (Dr.Nirmal Puwar and the Noise of the Past) and
Arts Council, The Loom Project: Approaches to Weaving Narrative Threads, a
project by Alinah Azadeh, artist. Textile and system in collaboration with
Jon Bird, (University of Sussex) and ASF Weave. http://www.loomproject.com. For
whom she has written the catalogue essay for the Shape of Things.
Since 2008 Jefferies is a member of 2 research clusters
Understanding Complex Structures: the Conservation, Display and
Interpretation of Lace and Natural Objects. This research cluster has
been funded for one year by the joint EPSRC-AHRC under the ‘Science and
Heritage’ call and is hosted Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and the
Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and the collections of botanical,
zoological and fossil objects at the Natural History Museum (NHM)
Touching the Untouchable, increasing access to archaeological artifacts
by virtual handling’. This research cluster has been funded for one year
by the joint EPSRC-AHRC under the ‘Science and Heritage’ call and
organised by Department of Archaeology, School of Geography, Archaeology
and Earth Resources, University of Exeter.
She currently holds a Crafts Council Spark Plug curating award that seeks
to examine the creative and dynamic relationship between mathematics,
mathematical forms and craft through an exploration of a particular maths
and textile archive, called Common Threads, that is held in the Constance
Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles, Goldsmiths, University of
Recent key publication inlcude,
2007 Laboured Cloth: Translations of Hybridity in Contemporary Art, in
The Object of Labor: Art, Cloth, and Cultural Production, The Art School
of the Art Institute of Chicago/MIT Press, USA, (eds. Joan Livingston and
John Ploof), pp.283-295.ISBN 978-0-262-12290-0.
2007 (catalogue essay for Kaunas Biennial, wide examination 07, published
in English and Lithuanian, pp.184-195, ISBN 978-9955-9587-2-7.
2008 Touch Technologies and Museum Access , Touch in Museum: Policy and
Practice in Object Handling edited by Helen Chatterjee, Berg Publishers,
2008, pp.150-162, ISBN 9781847882387
2008 Contemporary Textiles: The Art Fabric, in Contemporary Textiles:
The Fabric of Fine Art, London: Black Dog Publishing, (ed. Nadine Monem)
pp.34-62. ISBN13: 9781906155292.
2009 (Dec) Interfaces of Performance edited by Janis Jefferies, Maria
Chatzichristodoulou, Rachel Zerihan, Ashgate Publishing, 232 pages,
2010 (Jan) One and another: a handshake with the ancestors in The
Shape of Things, Alinah Azadeh, The Gifts, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery,
ISBN 978-0-9564845-0-5, pp1-7.
2010 (March) Guest Editor for Textile: the Journal of Cloth and
Culture, Tensions: Transformations and Social practices, Vol. 8, Number
1, 1SBN 978184788555 with Dr. Graeme Were (UCL, London).
2010 (Sept) The Artist as Researcher in a Computer Mediated Culture,
in Art Practices in a Digital Culture, eds Gardiner and Gere, Ashsgate
Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7546-7623-2, pp. 27-42.
‘Loving Attention: An outburst of craft in contemporary art’ is part of
the anthology, Extra/ordinary: Craft culture and contemporary art
(forthcoming, Duke University Press and edited by dr. maria elena buszek).
2004-2006 Crafts Council of England: Curatorial project, Boys that Sew.
National touring exhibition, February 2004 February 2005.
The show has an educational leaflet and on line catalogue,
She is currently the on line curator for the Live project run by Dr
Jo Sofaer, University of Southampton for Creativity and Craft Production
in Middle and Late Bronze Age Europe funded by the European Science
Foundation and a project called Pen and Pad looking at new forms for
digital fiction with the British Library, Dr Sarah Kember and the Canadian
author Kate Pullinger.