Expanding the Space for Women’s Freedom

Call for proposals: Micro or “rapid response” projects
Priority area: Empowering vulnerable groups
Project duration: 1 June 2023–31 October 2023
Project value: EUR 4,937.50 

Women have been weaving, spinning and sewing for millennia. Throughout history, sewing has empowered many groups of women. The process allowed them to reduce their personal struggles, share their burdens and become more resilient while sparking new connections with other women. Due to its connecting nature, textile art still remains a viable method of collective care. By nature, textile craft is an interdependent, cross-generational and connective activity.

Svetlana Slapšak underlines the importance of crafts for women’s emancipation and independence. She claims that women’s hands are – unlike their heads – a socially accepted instrument. According to Slapšak, hands miraculously connect with the head when indulging in crafts. This is why women that dedicate their time to textile can enjoy a complete freedom of thought. Crafts are thus a “suspicious space” where women can find freedom and authority.

In the first part of the roundtable discussion program, leaders of various Slovenian textile communities (Oloop, Revealed hands, Breja preja and No-Border Craft) will present and share their personal experiences alluding to the importance of textile crafts as well as the meaning and quality they bring to their lives, communities and society in general. Four foreign community representatives of will speak about their craft in video interviews. We also get to know a form of activism that involves waving carpets made of disposed clothing found on riverbanks, learn about the creativity of Bosnian women living abroad, familiarize ourselves with the concept of textile stories and and international archive thereof, and find out about the creativity of 600 inmates waving valuable home décor. With the intention of studying such crafts, we are documenting the project and will report our results to various target audiences at the end of the project.

Partnering up on the project are two non-governmental organizations: Carnica from Kranj and Oloop from Ljubljana. The project will span from June to October 2023, aiming to empower the non-governmental sector that utilizes textile crafts as a help and self-help tool for vulnerable groups of women (women going through a cultural and social transition, elderly women, women with chronic illnesses, unemployed women). This is the first project of the kind, but others will follow with a long-lasting program for the development of textile crafts and well-being in Slovenia. Planned as part of the program are the professionalization of the local environment, preparation of materials and transfer of international practices from the fields of textile craft help, textile activism and textile communities. The project is part of the Textile Culture professional program at the 2023 Biennial of Textile Art BIEN.

Contact person: Zala Orel
Odprtja razstav Oloop Susana Cereja Ela Leko in Leo Subanović ( (126)

Project promoter: Zavod Carnica

Project partner: OLOOP Ljubljana