18-20 August 2008
Two dozen participants gathered at the University of Alberta for a three-day workshop hosted by the Material Culture Institute. Participants came from universities and museums across North America and Europe. The aim of the meeting was to explore critical research issues in the global study of fashion, examining its roles, patterns and practices from multi-disciplinary perspectives. Seventeen of the participants presented their research priorities, ranging in topics from contemporary Indian ethnic style, Philippine co-op production of fashion items, political uses of fashion in the 19th and early 20th century and the regulation of consumption from comparative perspectives. Discussion ranged widely and benefitted from the participation of the graduate and undergraduate students in attendance. The different disciplinary traditions at play were also recognized as enriching the collaborative process that was underway.
Key priorities were identified for the future, including the benefits to accrue to graduate students as a result of access to and participation in this network. Mobility of graduate students, mentorship (formal and informal), access to object study experience, as well as access to traditional venues for presentation and collaboration were all seen as essential components for graduate development.
This workshop was a critical step in consolidating an international collaborative research network. This network in turn will advance the understanding of fashion’s roles across disciplines.