in a few words (my own)

This is  a diary for the 2 month textile residency in Bangladesh from 15 December until 14th February 2009/2010.
I will be going for the British Council and the residency is set as a cultural exchange:

I will be based in Dhaka and will be working with textile design colleges teaching design, mentoring entrepreneurs

I will be travelling and researching weave set ups and traditional techniques in the surrounding villages and cities too

the best thing is that Gary is coming too! at least for the first 3 weeks

more information on the research trip and project concept to date (not my own)

Ismini Samanidou will visit Dhaka, Bangladesh for 60 days during which time she will undertake a textile residency at the College of Textile Engineering and Technology. The purpose of this residency is to create a platform for an integrated cultural exchange. Both parties will have the opportunity to learn from each other’s practices, culture and background. During her stay in Bangladesh, Ismini will provide valuable design workshops to students and she will also have time to work on her own creative practice using the College’s weaving materials, drawing on skills and traditions that she encounters during her residency.

During this programme Ismini will work at the College of Textile Engineering and Technology teaching design workshops to students as well as giving them personal feedback as a tutor/adviser. She will have her own studio in the College where she can work on her own practice. She will draw on her experience of Bangladesh – the visits and touring undertaken during the first half of her stay – to inspire work possibly produced on the College’s looms.

The output of Ismini’s residency will be eligible to be toured around Central and South Asia as part of a fashion and textiles exhibition which is currently underdevelopment and which may be showcased in a gallery space or shop in the UK alongside a publication of the project. Ismini Samanidou agrees to loan any work relating to the residency to the British Council for this exhibition.

As part of this project Ismini and the British Council Bangladesh will identify one textile craftsperson (this could be a weaver, natural dyer or any other practitioner determined appropriate) to return to the UK and undergo a similarly formatted residency with the Textile Department at Falmouth University.

the New Silk Road project

Hundreds of years ago, ancient trade routes between Western China and Europe created powerful images in British minds of silks, spices and stories, inventions, fabled personae and distant fretwork of lateral overland arteries that became known as the Silk Road. Today, many of the countries of Central and South Asia have become obscure or misunderstood. The British Council’s campaign, The New Silk Road, aims to use the arts traditions of Central and South Asia to make these estranged places vivid again, and to address negative stereotypes with a creative energy that is independent of politics.

Over the past two years the British Council’s Architecture, Design, Fashion department has developed a programme of events in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The New Silk Road campaign has focused on combining the unique craft skills from this region with the contemporary visual language of designers from the UK to forge links between practitioners in the UK and Central and South Asia and to sustain these unique skills whilst opening up new opportunities for collaboration.

the role of the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations. We build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people worldwide.

The British Council’s global arts team works with the best of British creative talent to develop innovative, high-quality events and collaborations that link thousands of artists and cultural institutions around the world, drawing them into a closer relationship with the UK.

Through our programme in Architecture, Design and Fashion we work with the best of British design in order to create strong international links across the globe. With partners we develop touring exhibitions, seminars, workshops and exchanges which celebrate the best of British and international design, celebrate international co-operation in design, encourage critical reflection and promote creative expression.


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