Threads of Unity is a website set up to promote exchange about textile art in Latin America. The website belongs to Lorna Dillon. I am an art historian in the Centre of Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Murray Edwards College.
I have a PhD in Latin American visual art and have published two books on the Chilean artist Violeta Parra: Violeta Parra: Life and Work (Tamesis, 2017) and Violeta Parra's Visual Art: Painted Songs (Palgrave, 2020).
I teach for the Centre of Latin American Studies and the Department of History of Art at the University of Cambridge. My current project explores the link between art and human rights in contemporary Chilean and Colombian fabric art .
This website primarily focuses on textiles that have been used in campaigns for social justice or in reconcilliation following conflict. ‘Artivism’ is the fusion of art and activism. Artivism (including craftivism) is one of the major art movements of the twenty-first century. I use the supranational textile art movement and its online diasporas of collaboration as a lens through which to trace the real-world importance of artivism. Through collaborations with academics in Chile, Colombia and Mexico, I explore the relationship between symbolic representations, justice and memorialisation. I believe that art plays an extraordinary role in justice processes.
I have been interviewing artists, academics and members of participatory needlework groups from Latin America and the recordings of these interviews are available on the discussions page and my YouTube channel. So far these interviews have been conducted over the internet. When I have found it difficult to connect to remote groups or where local trust is crucial to the formation of a research relationship, Colombian anthropologist Isabel González Arango has helped me to make contact. González Arango runs the Colombian Digital Archive of Testimonial Textiles.
I also collaborate with the Chilean artist Erika Silva, who is an expert in Chilean arpilleras and a member of the Chilean art collective Memorarte. We have curated an online exhibition, which you can see on our exhibitions page.
These collaborations are starting to take the shape of a research network. You can find out about our events on the events page.
Threads of Unity is a virtual space which reflects the nexus of our collaborations. Our transnational network is taking shape over the internet.
Dr Lorna Dillon
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow and Isaac Newton Trust Fellow
The site was created by Lorna Dillon as part of the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship 'The Symbolic in Processes of Transitional Justice: Textile Art in Latin America.' Grant number ECF-2018-686
If you have any comments or questions, please email
lad41 [@] cam.ac.uk