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Stitched Encounters: An Exploration of the Afghan-European Embroidery Initiative Guldusi

May, Katja (2018) Stitched Encounters: An Exploration of the Afghan-European Embroidery Initiative Guldusi. Quilt Studies - The Journal of the British Quilt Study Group, (19). pp. 38-68. ISSN 1467-2723. (KAR id:67372)


This paper takes a detailed look at the Afghan-European hand embroidery initiative Guldusi. It examines the initiative as a cross-cultural collaborative needlework project that provides a space for a limited cultural encounter between Afghan and European women. As such, this paper considers the meaning of practices of needlework and making in general and in relation to discourses about women, identity, agency and empowerment more specifically. Analysis of a number of textile artefacts and the initiative’s website show that Guldusi’s envisioned act of cultural encounter and exchange appears to be limited and to emanate through the expressive narrative power of the European needlewomen. Nonetheless, the initiative can be seen to provide a political space in which individual and collective creative practices foster the negotiation and expression of the self in relation to others. A received awareness of postcolonial power structures and their workings, however, is indispensable for needlework practitioners and scholars in their critical engagement with cross-cultural collaborative needlework projects as spaces for cultural encounter and as a means to foster solidarity, support and empathy between needlewomen from different cultural backgrounds. As a result, the status quo which places certain cultural narratives over others can be questioned and redefined.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Afghanistan; needlwork; embroidery; cultural encounter; creativity
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GR Folklore
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation. Leisure
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
N Visual Arts > N Visual arts (General). For photography, see TR
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Katja May
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2018 10:06 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 20:39 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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