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Stitching story and life together: Participatory textile making practices at a Harlem gallery

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What brings a tourist from Italy, a lifelong resident of Harlem and a graduate student from a local university together? Crochet hooks, knitting needles, an assortment of green acrylic yarn and time and space for community craftivism. This case study focuses on crossing boundaries through participatory textile making, making time and space for relationship building in the changing neighbourhood of Harlem and practicing institutional stewardship as a ‘good neighbour’. The Walls-Ortiz Gallery and Center ‐ the arts and research space of City Seminary of New York, an intercultural urban theological learning community ‐ affords an opportunity to explore what happens when lives and stories are stitched together through participatory textile practices. Through the lenses of the EcCoWell learning neighbourhood approach and craftivism, this documentation and reflection of data from collaborative yarn bombing and community quilt-making projects over the past two years provide insights on lessons, challenges and opportunities of these community-oriented practices.
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Keywords: EcCoWell; craftivism; institutional neighbours; learning community; quilt-making; yarn bomb

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: City Seminary of New York

Publication date: December 1, 2020

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  • The Journal of Arts and Communities seeks to provide a critical examination of the practices known as community or participatory arts, encompassing a field of work defined for this purpose as incorporating active creative ollaboration between artists and people in a range of communities.The journal will take a cross-artform and interdisciplinary approach,including work happening in performance, visual arts and media,writing, multimedia and collaboration involving digital technology and associated forms. In part this will create an archive that will document work which can otherwise be ephemeral
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