Tapa: Situating Pacific Barkcloth in Time and Place

Situating Pacific Barkcloth Production in Time & Place is a three-year research project that aims to transform our understanding of Pacific barkcloth manufacture. A multidisciplinary approach lies at the heart of the project, combining the investigation of artefact provenance, style and historical context; the application of cutting-edge analytical techniques for the study of materials and manufacture methods; and research into specific conservation threats, new conservation methods and conservation treatments that will allow us to improve the long-term conservation and care of barkcloth collections worldwide.

Funded by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council, the project is based at the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History, University of Glasgow, Scotland. Three internationally important collections of barkcloth form the project's core research material:

The project is analysing these collections to learn how the manufacture, style, condition and degradation of barkcloths changed over the 19th century. We are exploring how those factors varied between cloths made from different bark species and using different pigments. We are discovering how we can use that knowledge today to inform contemporary barkcloth making and use in the Pacific, by engaging with projects in Hawaii that are rediscovering the skills of barkcloth manufacture for the 21st century.


Tapa symposium at Auckland War Memorial Museum

8th January 2018

Andy Mills and Frances Lennard spent two weeks in New Zealand in October  More >

Two-Day Workshop at the Bishop Museum, Honolulu

29th November 2017

"Caring for Tapa" workshop will take place at the Bishop Museum in partnership with the project  More >

New Barkcloth Research at the ESfO Conference 2017

10th July 2017

Project staff and international colleagues have been publicising their barkcloth research at the 2017 ESfO conference  More >

Work at the Kew Archives is Producing Some Fascinating Insights

5th July 2017

The project's historical researcher Andy Mills has been delving into the archives of the UK's national botanical gardens at Kew  More >