Keynote speakers for Everyday Fashion - Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Clothes
Professor Emerita Lou Taylor’s academic career has focused on the development of critical approaches to the discussion of the objects of clothing in their historical,
material culture and museology settings, through teaching, publishing, exhibition curating and PhD supervision. Her first book Mourning Dress, A Costume and Social History was published by Allen and Unwin in 1983. She has written an account of her views on dress history methodologies and the collection, display and interpretation of dress in museums in her two books: The Study of Dress History, 2002, and Establishing Dress History, 2005, both published by Manchester University Press.
Taylor’s application of material culture and consumption studies has positively
transformed dress history. She is driven by the conviction that transdisciplinary
approaches to the construction of history, including working with surviving garments, offers a fresh, close understanding of the cultural ‘eye’ of a specific period or
community. Taylor also has a longstanding interest in the history of the teaching of fashion in British art Schools (IHTP 2007).
Prof Lou Taylor works at the interface of object-based dress history, museum
curatorship, and material culture. Her energies are focused on enhancing a flow of respect between collection/museum work and the university history/critical theory worlds. This concern formed the basis of her Study of Dress History, of which
Honeyman noted (Economic History, 2002, p789): “Taylor displays awesome
knowledge and critical skill as she provides examples of best practice in a range of methods well suited to a more complete approach.”
Lou Taylor is a regular book and exhibition reviewer for Costume, Fashion Theory, and Textile History as well as making her own article contributions to these journals and other publications. Her work has also been published in France, Sweden, Poland and the USA.
Professor John Styles has published extensively on eighteenth-century British history, particularly on design, consumption, manufacturing, crime and the criminal law. His early work was on the history of crime, policing and legislation. It led him to develop an interest in using the records of the criminal courts to research a wide range of issues in economic, social and cultural history. This approach was central to his book The Dress of the People: Everyday Fashion in Eighteenth-Century England (Yale, 2007), a study of clothing practices among the common people.
Thirteen years working the Victoria and Albert Museum gave him a passion for the history of material culture, as well as a fascination with research that brings together text and object, words and things. Most recently, he has pursued this approach in the exhibition ‘Threads of Feeling’, which he curated at the London Foundling Museum in 2010-11. It displayed, for the first time, the textiles left with babies at London’s Foundling Hospital in the mid-eighteenth century.
He is currently writing a book on fashion, textiles and the origins of industrial revolution, a product of his research project 'Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel, 1400-1800’, funded by a European Research Council Advanced Investigator Grant. The project explores spinning as a material, economic, social, legal and cultural practice. It challenges the common assumption that hand spinning was simply an unskilled, unchanging, inefficient form of work. To understand the mechanical innovations of the industrial revolution requires an appreciation of the dynamism, as well as the limitations, of European textile manufacturing from the 15th to the 18th centuries.
Professor Christopher Breward trained as an art historian at the Courtauld Institute before completing postgraduate studies as a student on the Royal College of Art / Victoria & Albert Museum programme in the history of design. He has held lecturer posts at Manchester Metropolitan University, the Royal College of Art and London College of Fashion and was previously Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
He was appointed to the role of Principal of Edinburgh College of Art in 2011 when the Schools of Art and Design at the former Edinburgh College of Art merged with the School of Arts, Culture and Environment at the University of Edinburgh. He is also Vice Principal for the Creative Industries and Performing Arts at the University of Edinburgh. He has published and curated widely on the histories of fashion, masculinities and urban cultures. He is a Trustee of the National Museums of Scotland, Fruitmarket Gallery and Hospitalfield Arts, a Governor of the Pasold Institute and a member of the Advisory Board for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. He was a panel member (34) for REF 2014.
In November 2017 he took up the new role of Director of Collection and Research at the National Galleries of Scotland, retaining a role as a Visiting Professor at Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh.
Beatrice Behlen studied fashion design and the History of Dress before becoming curatorial assistant at Kensington Palace. She then taught the history of fashion and design at several art colleges and worked at a contemporary art gallery. In 2003 Beatrice returned to Kensington Palace to curate and co-curate exhibitions on royal dress. Since 2007 Beatrice has been Senior Curator of Fashion & Decorative Arts at the Museum of London where she worked on the Galleries of Modern London, curated displays on jewellery and fashion photography and co-curates Show Space, a monthly changing display. Beatrice also works as associate lecturer at Central Saint Martins.