The Fashioning Africa project afforded museum staff the opportunity to gain specialist knowledge and skills relevant to the new collection and to establish new relationships with textile specialists. Staff training included fashion and textiles curator Martin Pel and world art curator Rachel Heminway Hurst attending a course at the Textiles Research Centre, Leiden, Netherlands where they learned about aspects of textile production and explored the centre’s African textiles collection. You can read Rachel’s blog about their experience. After returning from a collecting trip to Ghana, Rachel also undertook a weaving course to further understand the complexities of the weaving process.
During the course of the project, Brighton Museum hosted visits from museum professionals, researchers and practitioners to develop knowledge about the collection. Rachel’s weaving tutor, Claire Bessel, visited the kente collection and gained a new interest in kente production. Claire provided technical descriptions of the textiles as part of their museum documentation and plans to reproduce a kente design which was of particular interest to her. Claire returned to visit the collection with illustrator and textile designer Lorelle Aboagye, whose work is inspired by her Ghanaian family history. They are embarking on a partnership project to create a new kente design using their combined skills and knowledge.