Navigating New Horizons
A series of postcards and a short text published on the Dartington Arts School blog reporting on my trip to present at the international ‘Textures of Emotions: Storytelling and Textiles’ conference in Athens.
Adriatic Sea, 12/7/22
But where, in these days of planetary level problems and climatic-scale crisis, are we crossing over to? Black smoke rises from the south from forest fires raging along the coast of Albania as we sail along. How long before fires rage to the north of us too? Only a few days as it turns out, as the heatwave follows the ferry northwards across the seas. The space between here and there reduces ever more quickly. When will we realise that we are leaving ourselves with nowhere to go?
Yours, rearranging deck chairs, Ex
Somewhere above the Alps, 8/7/22
On board a flight to Athens to take part in a conference in Athens. Bitter-sweet excitement. Sweet to be accepted to deliver a paper in the company of some truly inspirational artists and academics at a conference organised by Progressive Connexions. Bitter in the irony of taking a short-haul flight to deliver a paper entitled ‘The Great Unravelling: An Exploration of the Ways in Which Fine Art Textile Artists are Telling Stories of Climate Breakdown’.
Flying high! Ex.
Cine Aegli, Athens, 10/7/22
The courtyard of the outdoor cinema is contained by high concrete walls, but they don’t stop the swallows dipping and diving over them, chasing insects drifting in from the botanical gardens next door.
The sky is balmy baby blue, then chalky white and finally rosy pink as it makes its gentle descent from day to dusk. Crepusculum is I think my favourite word.
The green metal chairs slowly fill up with families, couples, teenagers and the skinny cats of the neighbourhood. With poetically perfect timing, the projector turns on as darkness falls. Happy to be amnesiacs for an evening, the crowd sits back and breathes in the gentle, timeless and collective experience of cinema.
Wish you were here, Ex
Conference hotel, Athens, 9/7/22
Aside from the breath-taking night-time views of the illuminated Acropolis from the rooftop bar, the hotel has few distinguishing features. But it is a real privilege to be here listening to the other presenters share their research with such passion and generosity. Speakers from all over the world contribute narratives of witnessing, expressed through encounters with the material world. The diverse subject matter reveals the breadth and significance of the role that textiles play in both our private and collective lives.
It can’t be denied that international travel as a route for cultural exchange and learning takes a heavy ecological toll, but coming together in person to share truths and develop new narratives of care and repair is a powerful experience.
So happy to be here, Ex.
Ionian Sea, 11/7/22
It may be almost impossible to ride the ferry between Patras and Venice without being overcome by fanciful and nostalgic notions. Echoes of ancient cultures braving dangerous sea passages under sail, slipping silently past hostile headlines under cover of darkness drift alongside the hum of the diesel engine. Then, as now, the ideal of travel without consequence was perhaps a fantasy acted out by the lucky or powerful few. The space between here and there remains problematic and contested, but it can also be a pause, a portal, a way to cross-over and begin again.
Full article text available here:
Please contact me if you would like a copy of my conference presentation 'The Great Unravelling: an exploration of the ways in which fine art textile artists are telling stories of climate breakdown’. Further conference information available here: