LOGO 1 Imagine_Belfast.jpg

My Bandana: My Embroidered Voice - Sewing Workshops with Erika Silva from Memorarte

Online event - March 10th 2021 & March 17th 2021

Dr Lorna Dillon, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in INCORE and The Belfast School of Art, organised the online workshop “My Bandana: My Embroidered Voice" as part of the Imagine Belfast Festival.

What does democracy mean to you? Join this online sewing workshop with social justice campaigner Erika Silva, and create a bandana inspired by your ideas. Erika is part of the Chilean activist embroidery group Memorarte.


In 2020 the Chilean people voted to rewrite their country’s constitution. It had previously been written during a military dictatorship. They decided that the new constitution should be created by elected members of the public.


Erika is passionate about the power of embroidery in social justice campaigns. While discussing our individual conceptions of, and visions for democratic processes we will sew bandanas. No previous experience of sewing is necessary.


“A bandana that I wear over my mouth conveys what I feel, what I want to demand and what annoys me about democracy in my country. A bandana expresses an idea but placed over the face, photographed and shared on social media the message resonates even further.” Erika Silva, Memorarte


Members of the art collective Memorarte stitch embroideries and make appliqués, which they use in a variety of campaigns for different kinds of justice. For Erika, visual expressions like this are vital to democracy. They say more than speech, and somehow move people, communicating through what they show. Join us to discuss these ideas and create your own bandana.


For this free workshop participants will need:

· A triangle of material (the base for the bandana), like the one in the image. Materials that don’t fray (like felt) are ideal

· Thread that contrasts in colour with the bandana

· Needle and scissors


These workshops are organised by Dr Lorna Dillon, Leverhulme Fellow at Ulster University as part of the research project Textile Art in Latin America. Participants will also have the opportunity (if they wish) to visit an online exhibition and respond to a questionnaire about the workshop for the research project.




Erika Silva is a social justice campaigner, an arpillerista (appliqué artist) and an expert in Chilean arpilleras.



10th March (full), additional workshop now on 17th March (full)



Register at this link.


Photo Credit: Photo of Memorarte by Carlos Candía.

El amor no mata by Memorarte. Photograph

Textile Art, Peace building and Human Rights in Latin America

Online event - March 23rd 2021

An online lecture, brought to you through Zoom. This event is 'Pay What You Can'.


In this public lecture Leverhulme Fellow Lorna Dillon will speak about textile art in Latin America. She will reflect on the valuable work being carried out today by participatory needlework groups in Colombia, Mexico and Chile. The sewing groups use fibre art to campaign against injustice and rebuild the fabric of societies experiencing human rights abuses or conflict.


Lorna will discuss the needlework carried out by the group Fuentes Rojas in Mexico, which is part of a broader peace embroidery movement in the country called Bordando por la paz (Embroidering for Peace). She will also speak about the sewing group Tejedoras de Guayacán Bojayá Chocó in Colombia and the art collective Memorarte in Chile.


These groups make embroideries, appliqués and quilts, which are profoundly beautiful and also important in memorialisation processes related to justice. Each group has its own unique way of advocating for a better society however they all share the values of uniting communities and using needlework to open up a dialogue about human rights issues.


Photograph credit: "El amor no mata "(Love doesn’t Kill) made by Memorarte and photographed by Marcelo Aragonese.

Photograph of Erika Silva.jpg

Arpilleras: Appliqué Art and Democracy in Chile

Online event - March 24th 2021

Organised as part of the Imagine Belfast Festival. Dr Lorna Dillon in discussion with Erika Silva, an artist from the Chilean embroidery collective Memorarte.


In this talk Lorna Dillon discusses Chilean craftivism with Erika Silva, an applique artist and social activist from Chile.


Erika is an arpillerista (appliqué artist) and an expert in Chilean arpilleras. She will speak about the original arpillera movement in Chile, which began during the dictatorship of the 1970s.


There were widespread disappearances during the dictatorship and groups of shantytown women used fabric art to communicate about the human rights abuses being carried out by the military.


Erika will also speak about her work with the contemporary art group Memorarte. Groups like Memorarte continue the work of the original arpilleristas, using their art to campaign on issues of social justice today.


This discussion will be facilitated by Dr Lorna Dillon, Leverhulme Fellow at Ulster University as part of the research project Textile Art in Latin America.


This event has been supported by the Leverhulme Trust.