Promoting further engagement with barkcloth
In September 2020 we held a series of five online sessions: Barkcloth Basics: Interpreting and Understanding Pacific Barkcloth. This was a key outcome of our AHRC-funded follow-on project, A Living Tradition: Expanding Engagement with Pacific Barkcloth. The sessions set out to explore some of the key themes of our research, including:
- Barkcloth significance, us and history
- Barkcloth materials, manufacture and decoration
- Barkcloth storage and conservation
- Understanding and working with your own barkcloth collections.
Interactive sessions to talk tapa
The sessions were very well attended with over 100 registrations from around the world, including Oceania, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. It was a wonderful opportunity to interact with museum staff, Pacific communities and people with a general interest in barkcloth, and to talk about tapa in museum collections as well as participants’ own engagement with Pacific tapa.
To encourage discussion and engagement, we asked museum staff to share a photo or two of tapa in their collections that they had questions about – or simply think are beautiful! – and other participants were encouraged to share photos of tapa that they own or that demonstrate what tapa means to them.
Reggie and Uilisone created some wonderful new video of making tapa for the workshops – you can find them on the website.
We also have new resources designed to give an overview of tapa making: Pacific Barkcloth 101: Learning about Polynesian Tapa, and to help you navigate regional differences in tapa making and design: Pacific Barkcloth 101: Characteristic Features of Historic Polynesian Tapa.
One exciting legacy of the sessions is an online forum for Pacific barkcloth. If you are interested in tapa, you are invited to join the discussion.