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.


Special Research Visit from Ngaa Kitai Taria Pureariki and Dr Michaela Appel

26th June 2017

Cook Islands Research Visit  More >

Adrienne Kaeppler Research Visit to Tonga

19th June 2017

Tongan kupesi design board, circa 1940  More >

Annual Advisory Committee Meeting and Museum Ethnographers Group Conference 2017

20th April 2017

The team have enjoyed a busy week hosting advisors, researchers and museum professionals here in Glasgow  More >

Volunteering for the barkcloth research project

30th March 2017

Conservation programme for the project is supported by Mphil students from Centre for Textile Conservation.  More >