Promoting barkcloth and its important cultural heritage through a range of engagement activities formed another key strand of our project.
Tapa makers and curators in the Pacific
Project researchers held three workshops in the Pacific in 2017: with Fuli Pereira and her team at Tāmaki Paenga Hira, Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand; at the University of Auckland with Billie Lythberg and Phyllis Herda; and at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum in Honolulu, thanks to Alice Christophe, Kamalu duPreez, Marques Hanalei Marzan and their team. These underlined the value of discussion with contemporary tapa makers, artists and researchers for insights into tapa materials and techniques, and also demonstrated the value of historic collections for understanding past practice.
We were also happy to welcome visiting researchers and practitioners, and to open the project labs to a wider audience on Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History open days.
Project research was disseminated at a practical workshop for a group of museum conservators held at the University of Glasgow in March 2018 and led by Misa Tamura. This included the opportunity to learn about making and decorating barkcloth with Reggie Meredith Fitiao, a barkcloth practitioner and siapo maker, and Su’a Tupuola Uilisone Fitiao, a traditional tattoo master and contemporary artist, from American Samoa.
A larger, international conservation symposium: Recent Advances in Barkcloth Conservation and Technical Analysis was held at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in December 2018. Postprints of the symposium, edited by Tamura, Ridley and Lennard, are forthcoming.
Online sessions are being offered in early September 2020 to practitioners, curators and anyone interested in barkcloth, as part of our follow-on project, A Living Tradition: Expanding Engagement with Pacific Barkcloth.