ICOM International Committee for Museums and Collections of Costume, Fashion and Textiles

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November 22, 2022

EFHA International Symposium 2022 “Wordings” The Language of Fashion Heritage 12 – 13 December 2022 Conference

In cultural heritage, words matter. We use them to identify artefacts and the techniques and people they represent; to describe artefacts and their meaning; to reactivate stories, re-evaluate power structures, signal moments of disruption and
change. Words are tools to catalogue objects when they enter museum, brand and private collections, and vehicles to deliver ideas and instances embodied by objects to wide and diverse audiences.

Issues regarding language and terminology are at the forefront of today’s political and social debates, in the public arena as well as in museums and archives. This is true in relation to collections of costume, clothing, and accessories, due to fashion’s ability to both establish norms and challenge stereotypes. However, not always fashion objects are contextualised, and their story is hardly told in full by catalogue entries and metadata.

In the last few years, it has become increasingly important for cultural institutions to address biases intrinsic to old cataloguing and other museological practices. Multiple debates have emerged to rethink objects’ institutional
definitions and propose new vocabularies to the public. Museums, foundations, and other cultural institutions have started to actively engage with communities and scholars to update biased methods of acquisition and set new standards in
cataloguing practices. The goal is to produce more inclusive interpretation to rethink ‘against-the-grain’ permanent collections, as well as employ more complex narratives in temporary physical and digital displays of heritage. The
reconsideration of terminology and establishment of revised thesauri is leading to a more thorough understanding of objects and their cultural as well as natural value, in order to find new ways of shaping narratives and telling stories.

‘Wordings’ wants to look at words – their social value, the complexities connected to their changing meaning and their historical and cultural context, and their ‘life’ as curatorial tools – in museological practices.



Monday, 12th December 2022
*All times are CET

14,00 – 14,10 Welcome and Introduction to the Symposium. Marco Rendina, EFHA

Panel 1: Establishing Vocabularies, defining identities

14,15 – 14,35 Maria Catricalà, Università Roma Tre. The Fashion Language Spatial Cognitive corpus: the strange case of
the shapes.

14,35 – 14,55 Maria Teresa Zanola, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Fashion and Dress History Languages and Terminologies: the FLATIF project

14,55 – 15,15 Matteo Augello, Lecturer and Performer. Reflections on corporate museums and terminology

15,15 – 15,35 Tea Break

15,35 – 15,55 Paula Alaszkiewicz, Colorado State University. Destinés ou utilisés aux colonies: Taxonomy and Parisian Couture at the 1931 Colonial Exhibition

15,55 – 16,15 Maria Canella, Università degli studi di Milano. A new ‘lexicon’ for the digital textile museum of the XXI Century

16,15 – 16,45 Q&A

16,45 – 17,00 Wrap-up of Day 1


Tuesday, 13th December 2022

14,00 – 14,10 Welcome and Introduction. Marta Franceschini, EFHA

Panel 2: Rethinking Collections, representing communities.

14,10 – 14,30 Daan Van Dartel, Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen. (Fashion) Words Matter!

14,30 – 14,50 Alba Sanz Alvarez, Edinburgh College of Art. An Oral History Approach to the Tonie Lewenhaupt Fashion Collection.

14,50 – 15,10 Elisa Fulco, Writer and Curator. Fashion special needs: from do it yourself to outsider fashion.

15,10 – 15,30 Sofia Pinto Correia, Fashion designer. Unspoken thread unwoven word. Textile and clothing names as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

15,30 – 15,50 Tea Break

15,50 – 16,10 Maria Cristina Volpi, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. The vocabulary of basic terms of ICOM COSTUME – historicalmethodological paths.

16,10 – 16,30 Elisabeth Murray, V&A. Developing a language and terminology strategy: V&A Africa Fashion.

16,30 – 16,50 Roberto Luis Martins, Amsterdam Museum. Unboxing colonial souvenirs. Redefining the “Zouave jacket”.

16,50 – 17,15 Q&A

17,15 – 17,30 Wrap-up of the conference



Begin:   CET
End:   CET
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