Knowing Through Needlework: Curating the difficult knowledge of conflict textiles

Christine Andra, Berit Bliesemann de Guevara, Lydia Cole, Danielle House

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
270 Downloads (Pure)


Drawing on our experience of commissioning and co-curating an exhibition of international conflict textiles – appliquéd wall-hangings (arpilleras), quilts, embroidered handkerchiefs, banners, ribbons, and mixed-media art addressing topics such as forced disappearances, military dictatorship, and drone warfare – this article introduces these textiles as bearers of knowledge for the study of war and militarized violence, and curating as a methodology to care for the unsettling, difficult knowledge they carry. Firstly, we explain how conflict textiles as object witnesses voice difficult knowledge in documentary, visual and sensory registers, some of which are specific to their textile material quality. Secondly, we explore curating conflict textiles as a methodology of ‘caring for’ this knowledge. We suggest that the conflict textiles in our exhibition brought about an affective force in many of its visitors, resulting in some cases in a transformation of thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-359
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Military Studies
Issue number3-4
Early online date27 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 02 Jul 2020


  • conflict textiles
  • curating
  • war
  • political violence
  • knowledge
  • methodology
  • Conflict textiles


Dive into the research topics of 'Knowing Through Needlework: Curating the difficult knowledge of conflict textiles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Stitched Voices

    Bliesemann de Guevara, B. (Organiser), Andra, C. (Organiser), Cole, L. (Organiser), House, D. (Organiser) & Bacic, R. (Organiser)

    25 Mar 201713 May 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventFestival or Exhibition

Cite this