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Traces: Stories of Migration - exhibition launches new community project

White shirt and skirt comination piece with decorative coloured fabrics.
  • Written byM Fields
  • Published date 03 November 2021
White shirt and skirt comination piece with decorative coloured fabrics.
Traces: Stories of Migration. Work by Natalija, 2021. Photo by Adam Razvi

Led by contemporary visual artist and LCF Professor Lucy Orta, Traces: Stories of Migration, explores personal stories of migration across multiple generations, told through handcrafted textiles, as part of a wider collaboration with Making for Change, LCF’s purpose-built design and manufacturing hub at Poplar Works.

Over the course of a series of workshops led by Professor Orta and supported by BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles students Jasmine-Karis Fontiverio-Hylton and Olivia Taberner, participants from across London’s East End were invited to create textile-based pieces inspired by their heritage, reflecting and embodying their experiences and memories. The exhibition will display a selection of the intricate artworks created during these sessions by both community members and textiles students for the very first time.

The exhibition will be free to visit from 5 - 7 November 2021 at the Making Space Gallery in Poplar, east London. The exhibition is curated by postgraduate students Charlotte Delacour (MA Fashion Curation), Hester Mauduit (MA Fashion Curation), Iris See Wan Tsang (MA Fashion Cultures and Histories) and Josh Weston (MA Fashion Cultures and Histories). 

Though the Covid-19 inevitably disrupted activity, Traces actively challenged this adversity and experimented with social engagement under social-distancing measures. The exhibition celebrates the two-year anniversary of Making for Change at Poplar Works, as well as the lifting of social distancing measures, and provides an opportunity for the Poplar community to come together in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The participants of Traces include Bilkis, Caroline, Chinnelle, Christine, Clare, Cristiane, Hasna, Isabel, Jasmine, JC, Jurispridence, Milou, Mitale, Miriam, Natalija, Nosira and Olivia.

We spoke to some of them about the experience and here's what they had to say:


"It was a lovely experience working and making memorable art with lovely, friendly people from different countries. Every meeting, howbeit online, was beautiful. I enjoyed making my work, remembering lots of people and places from my home and country of origin. The resource people and coordinators were friendly, helpful and understanding. I am thankful for it."


"To me, it was wonderful to be able to take part in this project because I love anything related to art and sewing... It keeps my creative health active!"

Blue and grey mural artwork with the Underground logo, a tube train carriage, Oyster Card, clouds and a building demolition site.
Traces: Stories of Migration. Work by Olivia, 2021. Photo by Adam Razvi


"It was a very positive,  enabling and fulfilling experience. As someone who has previously done little discrete textile work, I learnt a range of new skills, ways of working and rediscovered some skills I had learnt a long time ago!  It also made me re-evaluate my attitudes to some ways of working I had previously considered as ‘just’ sewing, crochet etc. rather than as creative practices and to consider (mainly) women’s place and visibility in creative processes."


“I believe that it's a great opportunity for the general public to engage in conversations about migration and to change perceptions about immigration, particularly now with the refugee crisis, because even families who can trace their family tree back centuries can find that at some point there is a migration journey in their homes.”


"My work is often personal and semi-autobiographical, but it's been interesting for me to start from a very specific physical reference to guide my decisions and aesthetics. This work took me back to quite a dark place in my past, but also allowed me to revisit it in a way that's made me appreciative of what has changed since."

Traces: Stories of Migration

Preview: 4 November 2021, 5 - 9pm

Exhibition open: 5 - 7 November 2021, 12 - 6pm

Making Space Gallery, E14 0NU