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TOUCH TRANSLATIONS: Drawing workshop at Fashion, Costume & Visual Cultures Conference, France


Conferences are strange beasts. Away from home for days spent sitting and listening. It's kind of working, kind of not - simultaneously exhausting yet inspiring. I've spent the last 3 months presenting my in-progress PhD research on Chinoiserie fashions + British Chinese diaspora dress history (more on which anon). At the recent 'Fashion, Costume & Visual Cultures' conference at Lille-Roubaix, France, I also ran an 'intervention'.


I really liked the idea of running an activity-based session in the middle of the 3 days of talking and listening. With my practice-based background in performance costume, I get itchy fingers and restless feet when sitting around all day. Together with mixed-media artist Céline Ducret, I ran a bilingual drawing workshop for conference delegates lasting 30 minutes.


We encouraged participants to take a moment to look within themselves, reflect, and respond over 3 different tasks. No particular drawing skills or experience was necessary, as we coaxed them to relax, experiment, and make marks on the page. We offered a range of colour, texture and paper, to a background our voices reciting passages of text in French and English.


The response was really positive, with many participants even wishing that there was longer to spend on the tasks, and more opportunities for interaction within the room. The format was somewhat experimental, but it proved successful, and I hope to be able to run the workshop again soon.



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