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Traces: Stories of Migration Interest Group

Traces Web Banner
Traces Web Banner
Image courtesy of UAL, Traces web banner
Written by
Post-Grad Community
Published date
02 December 2021

Traces: Stories of Migration is an east London community art project exploring personal and family migration stories through textile crafts. The migrant history of the Rag Trade provides the cultural and historical context through which to celebrate the distinctive fabric of the local communities of Tower Hamlets and Newham.

Led by Professor Lucy Orta and developed in collaboration with Making for Change, a hub for social engagement at London College of Fashion (LCF), Traces engages inclusively through the topic of migration –intergenerational, personal or family migration histories– and recognises the creative value of diversity through each person’s lived experience.

The six-month public engagement explores a sense of place and belonging through storytelling, and anchored the notion of the human trace, which are translated into Story Cloths – textile artworks- that capture communities' unique identities and histories. The learning and experimenting with textile crafts and heritage encourages ways in which fabric and stitch can be uniquely expressive, and inclusive.

Working in groups and accompanied by a programme of workshops, participants are invited to recall and recount a trajectory, reflecting and identifying significant milestones, to draw out stories that recount past and present heritage. The resulting Story Cloths created by participants, alongside Lucy Orta’s responsive work will be presented in a public facing exhibition program from June to December 2023 (Nunnery Gallery, Fashion District Festival and for the inauguration of the LCF East Bank Gallery.)

This interest group is articulated around sharing and gaining insight into textile heritages, celebrating non-hierarchical craft knowledge, co-learning and helps to document and showcase the range of skills practiced locally in east London. Postgraduate students will partake in social practice and exchange knowledge with local practitioners and UAL alumni working across the Fashion District.

Open calls and opportunities for alumni and student engagement will be promoted via the Traces: Stories of Migration Interest Group mailing list.

Join the Traces: Stories of Migration mailing list

Timeline: June 2022 – Feb 2024

Project Team:

Professor Lucy Orta, UAL Chair of Art and the Environment and member of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion

Camilla Palestra, Curatorial Associate, Centre for Sustainable Fashion

Jo Reynolds, Projects Coordinator, Making for Change (maternity leave from 1st October 2022 – cover TBC)

Nathalie Abi-Ezzi, Author, Royal Literary Fellow and LCF Writer in Residence

Jasmine-Karis Fontiverio-Hylton (Textile Designer, LCF alumni)
Lorenza Demata (Photographer, UAL Phd candidate)


Making for Change, LCF, UAL

Centre for Sustainable Fashion, LCF, UAL

Bromley by Bow Centre

Rosetta Arts

Bow Arts (Nunnery Gallery)

Post-Grad Interest Groups at UAL

UAL’s Post-Grad Community Programme supports a growing number of issue-specific, cross-disciplinary interest groups led by postgraduate students and academics.

​These groups connect creatives with shared research/practice interests across different specialisms and subject areas.

Students have launched interest groups in the past to coincide with exhibitions and symposiums that they have organised under the same theme, or have used Interest Groups as a working group towards research or a standalone event or series.

Interest Groups are a great way to build new networks at UAL for MA and PhD students with shared interests, a useful tool for finding cross-disciplinary students to work with on planned projects/activities, creating new audiences and ways to formally promote your practice.

Find out more and visit the Interest Group Directory

Stories about Traces