Threading Stories of Friendship in Textile Art


Thursday, 26th May 2022  |  18:30 - 20:00




Join Artist Alice Kettle and leaders of East London Textile Arts (ELTA), Artist and founder of ELTA, Celia Ward and lead textile artist Sonia Tuttiett for a conversation about the enabling dimensions of textile collaborative work within different contexts, such as teaching settings, within local councils, and with adults with varying abilities.


Alice, Celia and Sonia will shed light on the participants' different yet intersecting processes of textile work, exploring the role of stitching in strengthening human connection and fragile relationships in the often alienating urban settings.


The talk will also address the challenges of representing diverse voices in creative textile work, especially in the context of working with underrepresented and marginalized communities. In line with the artworks in Kalila wa Dimna: Ancient Tales for Troubled Times, the talk will question who - in the context of live textile making - gets to tell stories and therefore who benefits from their transformative and generative potential.


The talk will be chaired by curators Rania Mneimneh and Ghazaleh Zogheib.


Details for how to attend the talk online via Zoom will be sent upon booking.




Speaker and chair Biographies


Alice Kettle is a textile/fibre artist, writer and lecturer based in the UK. Her vast textile panels narrate contemporary events through rich and intricate stitchwork. Her works often use embroidery to engage in participatory collaborative projects such as her show Thread Bearing Witness at the Whitworth, Manchester 2018-19 where stitch was used to examine refugee issues and migration. Through this project she came to know Anna, a refugee from Syria. They have continued to work together on various textile projects. Alice Kettle is Professor of Textile Arts at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University.



East London Textile Arts is a collective running participatory textile projects in Newham, East London. It was set up in 2010 and works with diverse groups on a long-term developmental basis, building textile skills within communities. ELTA projects often include a learning-disabled textile group. The organisation makes collaborative textiles involving all who come to its classes, often centred around themes of contemporary concern, including environmental and health projects. Much of the work Kalila wa Dimna exhibition has been made by women who have been refining their textile skills with ELTA over many years. All classes are free of charge.


ELTA also sell their cards, decorated papers and printed fabrics at their Open Days and exhibitions and collaborate with visiting artists while providing training and volunteering opportunities for their participants. ELTA have held exhibitions at St Martin in the Fields, The Hellenic Centre, The Art Workers Guild and shown work at The Watts Gallery, amongst other venues, many in Newham. More information about ELTA projects can be found at and on their Instagram account @eltatextiles.



Rania Mneimneh is a curator, designer and social science researcher with an MA in History of Arts and Architecture from SOAS and an MSc in International Social and Public Policy from LSE, London. Her research focuses on migration, diversity, and social engagement through artistic practice. She curated Tints of Resilience exhibition (P21 Gallery, London, 2018), which explored artistic practice around forced migration and was funded by AFAC, The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture. She has designed memorialization publications on war disappearances for Act for the Disappeared and the International Committee of the Red Cross (Lebanon, 2017) and was the Art Programme Manager for Empowerment Through Integration NGO during their 2017 summer camp in Lebanon, leading art courses for youths with visual disabilities. Rania is currently head of Research and Advocacy at Croydon based charity, Play for Progress (UK).



Ghazaleh Zogheib is a curator, researcher and language teacher. She has an MA from King’s College London and a master’s degree in Literature from La Sorbonne. Her research focuses on the relationship between art, learning and the development of inclusive art spaces. She curated Rayan Elnayal’s Imagining Afrabia for the AWAN festival 2020 and Dema One’s Resilience Exile Mutation at the P21 Gallery, 2019 alongside panel discussions and workshops. Parallel to her work in the arts, Zalia has worked on peacebuilding programmes in conflict zones.