PhD student Kate Debono reflects on a new mode of online research engagement for fashion history

As the Centre for Design History considers how to develop and disseminate its research activities in a remotely-connected Covid world, an example of a successful initiative celebrating fashion and dress history has appeared during the disruption. The Sartorial Society Series of digital seminars explores ‘the history of dress, fashion and bodily adornment’. It is organised by a dynamic group of curators and early career researchers that includes University of Brighton PhD alumna Dr Liz Tregenza.

The success of this seminar series is highlighted by the fact that sessions were massively oversubscribed when organisers opened registration for their first series. This prompted them to apply to the Pasold Research Fund to upgrade the technology and allow more attendees. Running on Thursday evenings from October to December 2020, the first series entitled Creative Approaches to Dress features an international cast of contributors. Week Five, 26 November 2020, focuses on the theme of Missing Objects and features Brighton PhD alumna Dr Jenny Richardson who is presenting a paper, building on her PhD thesis on British munitions’ women work clothing in the First World War, entitled ‘Fading from view: Collecting evidence of vanished workwear’.

The format for this series is the presentation of two thematically linked papers followed by questions and discussion. For those such as myself who struggle to attend the 6pm GMT timeslot, papers are recorded and can be watched for up to a month following the live event.

The call for papers for the second series entitled Human Stories of Dress has just been released and closes for submissions on 30 November 2020.