Situating Pacific barkcloth production in time and place

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: College of Arts

Abstract

Until the twentieth century barkcloth was a vital material in the social, cultural and ritual lives of Pacific islanders. Barkcloth, or tapa, was widely used in tropical areas instead of weaving cloth on a loom and was used to create clothing, furnishings, carpeted pathways for royal weddings and funerals, and masks and garments for ritual and religious ceremonies. Sheets of the inner bark of trees and flowering plants were stripped and soaked to soften them, then beaten with wooden mallets to stretch the cloth and make it softer and stronger, before decorating it with painted designs. The production and use of barkcloth were disrupted by increasing western impact on the Pacific islands in the nineteenth century and in some areas missionaries completely suppressed its use. There is a continuous tradition of making barkcloth in some areas of the Pacific, but the skill has been lost in other islands, such as Hawai'i. Today the re-introduction or re-interpretation of barkcloth is an important aspect of cultural identity in these islands.

Barkcloth was of great interest to travellers from the west, and Pacific barkcloth objects in western museums are a significant legacy from eighteenth and nineteenth century explorers, scientists and colonists. There are many good collections in museums in the UK and around the world but there are still major gaps in our understanding of it as a material. This project will examine the development of barkcloth production in the Pacific in the nineteenth century. We want to investigate whether materials, techniques and designs originated from particular islands, how they were transmitted around the region and the effect of globalisation on this tradition. This is important both for our understanding of objects in museum collections and for contemporary barkcloth makers in the Pacific. The project will focus on three internationally important collections at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow and The Economic Botany Collection at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, in the UK, and The National Museum of Natural History, part of the USA's Smithsonian Institution. We will research the provenance and history of objects in the collections and analyse their materials and manufacture. We will also carry out fieldwork in the Pacific islands, talking to barkcloth makers, growers and designers and experimenting with making barkcloth using different plants and beating techniques.

We know that a variety of plants, including breadfruit, banyan and mamaki, were used to make barkcloth but it is often assumed that objects in western collections are made from the paper mulberry tree though in fact paper mulberry is not indigenous to the Pacific. However it is currently extremely difficult to identify barkcloth species because the fibres were badly damaged during production. The research will explore different identification techniques including the staining of sections, scanning-electron microscopy, protein analysis and DNA analysis. We aim to use some of these methods to identify the plant species in museum objects so that we have a better understanding of the plants used in different islands and how globalisation affected their use. An investigation of preservation and conservation techniques is an integral part of the project. Many barkcloth objects in museum collections are in poor condition; many pieces are very large and have been folded for storage but the cloth becomes brittle and inflexible with age and the folds become fixed. A programme of conservation treatment and improved storage will make the Hunterian and Kew artefacts accessible for current and future research. This will also improve our understanding of the physical properties of barkcloth; we will be looking for links between the objects' physical characteristics and degradation patterns and the plant species. This could result in different conservation treatments for objects depending on their fibre type or condition.

Planned Impact

We envisage three main groups of beneficiaries in the professional and public arenas outside the academic community:
1. Conservation staff, both in museums and in commercial practice.
It is standard conservation practice to approach an object in light of knowledge about its composition and history. At present for barkcloth there is a lack of systematic knowledge about either; consequently each piece must be approached as a new project. The project's insights into barkcloth history, material identification and conservation practice represent both a major resource for conservators, and a baseline for further research by practicing conservators. The development of identification techniques and improved reference materials will inform the assessment of pieces in collections beyond those of the three participating museums. A greater understanding of physical characteristics, degradation pathways and condition indicators will aid identification, even for museums which do not have access to expensive analytical equipment. This has direct benefits for conservators and contributes to the outcomes for museum and gallery visitors, below.

2. Museum & gallery visitors.
Because of its portability and ubiquity in eighteenth and nineteenth century Pacific societies many museums have significant numbers of Pacific barkcloths, often on display to the public, and they are currently a popular subject for special exhibitions. The project will share its findings both with specialist Pacific curators (who fall within our academic beneficiaries) but also with generalist curators with wide responsibilities - a group represented by the project participants at the Hunterian and Kew. It has often been noted that European museums have rich Pacific collections, but notably little on display. In reaching curators, we expect to see an increase in the quantity and quality of barkcloth interpretation (and an increase in the number of pieces on display), leading to a greater understanding of and interest in barkcloth - a key element of Pacific cultures - among museum visitors.

3. Contemporary makers and consumers of barkcloth in the Pacific.
While the main project activities are scheduled for the northern hemisphere, we are keenly mindful of the source communities for museum specimens, and their strong interest in preserving or - more often - reviving barkcloth production in the Pacific. Although we cannot resolve all the difficulties facing makers, we can tackle three. First, the project database and the improved catalogues of the participating museums will be a simple-to-use and obvious starting point for makers and other artists seeking inspiration and understanding of how barkcloth traditions have evolved. At present it is hard to locate barkcloth in museum catalogues, as terminology varies, key information is missing, and images are missing or poor. We envisage easier electronic access also leading to more visits by makers to museum collections, a pattern already visible from other web resources at Kew and the Hunterian. Second, the project outcomes will make technical information widely available on the raw materials, tools and processes involved in barkcloth making, drawing on evidence from analysis of museum specimens, literature, and fieldwork. Unlocking this kind of information, through written resources or the dissemination event, will enable makers to make better informed choices about materials. Thirdly, we expect the project web site and other forms of dissemination to further raise the profile of barkcloth, leading to greater value being placed by society on contemporary makers and their work. We recognise that resources such as the website will likely inspire both makers - or makers-to-be - who seek to preserve and revive traditional barkcloths, and those who are seeking innovation or artistic experimentation. Both are desirable outcomes, in that the project will be supporting barkcloth manufacture as a living practice.
 
Description Collections and provenance research
The provenance of the Hunterian collection has been clarified and we understand the Economic Botany Collection's holdings at Kew much better, particularly its unique value for unlocking the material uncertainties of other more conventional barkcloth collections. Reviewing the University of Aberdeen's collection was very useful for resolving several key research questions concerning Melanesian materials. Analysis of the rich and complex collections of the Bishop Museum and Honolulu Museum of Art in Hawaii also resolved a number of interpretive uncertainties we faced in working with UK-based collections in isolation.

Manufacturing methods
Formal analysis demonstrated the key impact of less prominent phases of cloth manufacture (initial scraping, soaking and fermentation of the bast) on defining the texture and appearance of the finished cloth. This finding is vital as it suggests that known differences in manufacturing methods between nations will allow key features visible with the naked eye to provide accurate and straightforward cultural attributions for museum professionals and art historians. This is currently achieved primarily by identification of the painted iconography. Close formal analysis of the British Museum's barkcloth beaters from Central Polynesia and their relationship with beater marks on the cloths also enabled the identification of key differences between Tahitian and Cook Islands barkcloth, overcoming previous confusion in the literature. Field research, knowledge exchange and practical experimentation with practitioners and museum professionals in the Cook Islands and Western Samoa reinforced our understanding of contemporary and historic manufacturing methods.

Dress history
Research into early pictorial and photographic sources has indicated wide variation in the wearing styles of what were previously thought to be fairly homogenous garment categories and shows variation both within and between historical Polynesian societies with greater gender-neutrality than previously emphasised in the literature. Research in New Zealand photographic archives has uncovered unpublished images which allow us to track the history of tapa's stylistic change, gradual abandonment and particular relationship with imported woven textiles during the 19th century.

Scientific findings
In a novel application of the technique, Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR) in conjunction with multivariate statistical analysis has been developed for the very challenging identification of the plant species used to make barkcloths. 22 contemporary and 79 historic cloths have been analysed to develop this methodology which successfully determines two separate groupings, one which is solely paper mulberry and another which contains the other species. Genome sequencing (DNA research) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) have been useful comparative techniques. DNA research has identified relevant marker sequences and successfully matched unknown samples against known samples although the large sample size required (around 1cm2) is prohibitive for many artefacts. This methodology means we can now match the physical characteristics of barkcloth artefacts with known species identification markers even when instrumental analysis is not available. It is also clear that the use of light microscopy in combination with staining, traditionally used for plant identification, is not effective. Low level stereomicroscopy and high level light microscopy have also been shown to give a good indication of the condition of the fibres, their characteristics and the methods of applying colourants.

Dye and pigment analysis is rather more straightforward though never previously carried out in such a systematic way. Samples from 54 historic cloths were analysed using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) for organic sources and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) for inorganic pigments. The results show that, despite the numerous colourant sources for the red, brown and yellow shades listed in the many historic accounts of barkcloth making, only four plant sources (principally noni, tannin and turmeric with a small amount of madder) and one pigment, iron ochre, were identified. These findings are in line with complementary research carried out at the British Museum and have led us to re-evaluate the traditional art historical understanding of materials used.

Conservation findings
Research into conservation treatments has identified solutions to particular problems, such as methods of cold-dyeing Japanese paper to use as an unobtrusive support for damaged areas; research into the use of appropriate adhesives for applying support to oiled barkcloth; the use of remoistenable tissue coated with starch paste for adhesive support and the use of different infill materials to bridge gaps in pandanus, a plant material used to make upeti, or rubbing boards, for decorating barkcloth.
Exploitation Route The research findings - in the form of a greater understanding of the range of genera and dye-plants and the production techniques used to produce barkcloth - will inform the understanding, display and interpretation of historic Pacific barkcloth artefacts in museums in the UK and internationally. We anticipate that there will be new displays of barkcloth, and that existing displays will be interpreted in more accurate and diverse ways. The key findings have been disseminated to specialist curators and art historians at conferences of the Pacific Arts Association, the European Society for Oceanists and the Museum Ethnographers Group conference hosted by the project at the University of Glasgow in 2017. The work has also begun to be published in the anthropology and art history literatures with more work in preparation. An edited volume containing the key project findings is in preparation and will be published by Sidestone in 2020. Individual catalogue records for objects in the collections of The Hunterian, Glasgow Museums and Aberdeen University Museums have been improved and are now accessible to curators, other museum staff and members of the public. A fully searchable database of the Hunterian and Kew collections will shortly be made available through the project website, enabling international access to information on these two significant collections. There will also be links to other collections.

Barkcloth is currently not well known as a material among the general public; the new information derived from the research will be disseminated to the public in three ways, through the project website, two exhibitions and the edited volume which will be accessible to a wide audience. The project website will be relaunched in May 2019 and will include key information on barkcloth and the project findings, as well as the collections database, for barkcloth curators, conservators, makers and the general public. Two exhibitions will be held, at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow from July 2019 and at the Textile Museum, Washington, D.C. from early 2021. These will make new information on barkcloth accessible to both specialists and the general public. Members of the public have also had the opportunity to hear about the barkcloth project through talks to Hunterian Friends and visitors, visits by special interest groups such as the Textile Society and annual open days at the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History.

Barkcloth plant samples were collected during field work in the Pacific and deposited at Kew Gardens, supplementing the information available for botanists and ethnobotanists.

74 artefacts from the Hunterian and Kew collections have received conservation treatment and all the objects from both collections have been re-packed, using acid-free materials. The majority were previously too fragile to be safely examined and this has already allowed visual and physical access by researchers and indigenous scholars from western museums and from the Pacific. All objects have been photographed, providing high-quality images for dissemination through the database on the project website and the records of the two collections.

The conservation research has been disseminated through publications and presentations at Conservation Matters in Wales, Artefacta Conference, Helsinki, the International Council of Museums Conservation Committee conference in Copenhagen and the UK Institute of Conservation Textile Group as well as two events held specifically to disseminate project results: a workshop for 10 conservators and a symposium which attracted nearly 100 international delegates. Two American Samoan barkcloth practitioners took part in the workshop, leading sessions on making and decorating barkcloth which greatly informed the conservators' understanding of preparation methods and its impact on the properties of barkcloth; this will inform treatment decisions. The symposium proceedings are in preparation and will shortly be available through the website of Icon, the UK Institute of Conservation. Workshop and symposium participants indicated that they had a better understanding of the material, would now feel more confident in treating barkcloth and would in future use specific techniques developed by the project team.

In addition, current textile conservation students and recent graduates are more confident in their treatment of barkcloth and this will benefit their work on barkcloth collections in museums. This legacy will continue after the project ends through improved teaching on the MPhil Textile Conservation programme. Several forensic science students from Glasgow Caledonian University have carried out research projects on barkcloth with the project's Scientific Researcher.

Following exchange of information about the FTIR methodology, conservation scientists have told us that this technique will be implemented in future to identify barkcloth plants in museum collections. The technique is available in larger museums and commonly used by conservation scientists, though never before for this purpose. The project is making reference spectra freely available through the University of Glasgow's Enlighten databank.

Our recognition during Year 1 that we needed to develop closer collaboration with indigenous scholars and creative practitioners of Pacific Islander heritage led to a broad range of engagement activities in the Pacific during Year 2. This included consultation and facilitation workshops with artistic practitioners of tapa-making at the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Bishop Museum, Honolulu.
Sectors Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://www.tapa.gla.ac.uk/
 
Description Although the research has only just been completed, some impact has already been been achieved. Curatorial staff in the Anthropology department at National Museums Scotland (NMS) have initiated a parallel research programme into their own barkcloth collection and are preparing a publication on the collection. The conservation scientist at NMS has also carried out dye analysis and the results have been collated with our own. The Scientific Researcher identified barkcloth fibres for museums in the UK, USA and New Zealand, including the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. and Te Papa in Wellington, New Zealand, providing information for museum staff to improve their interpretation of their collections. The Conservation Researcher received several enquiries from professional conservators internationally about the most appropriate methods of conserving barkcloth, and the project became a focus for discussion and advice on the treatment of barkcloth, influencing treatments for barkcloth displayed at eg the Oceania exhibition at the Royal Academy in 2018. The team also advised a small number of members of the public on caring for their own barkcloth artefacts and information for the public will shortly be published on the project website. The research has already achieved some impact among practitioners in the Pacific with, for example, the Auckland workshop bringing together barkcloth makers from Tonga and Samoa with those re-introducing the skill into the Cook Islands where it had been lost. The Hawaiian workshop was so successful in reuniting contemporary makers with the work of their ancestors - artefacts now held in the Bishop Museum - that it is being used as a model for other workshops there, on e.g. basketry.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description New teaching sessions for MPhil Textile Conservation students
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Two formal, research-led teaching sessions were introduced to the MPhil Textile Conservation curriculum at the University of Glasgow in 2016-17. Teams of first and second year students worked together, alongside the project Conservation Researcher, to examine barkcloth objects which presented particular ethical and practical problems for conservation and to debate and present appropriate conservation solutions. This was an excellent method of developing research-led teaching, which engaged the students with real-life situations and encouraged them to think about the wider context for conservation decision-making. The Conservation Researcher also taught a new session on the conservation or ethnographic artefacts, focusing on both practical and ethical issues. Alongside students' voluntary contribution to the barkcloth project, three cohorts of students are gaining significant experience of working with this material. This new material will be retained as part of the curriculum after the completion of the three-year project.
 
Description Project partnership with National Museums Scotland 
Organisation National Museums Scotland
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Our research team is contributing to the increased intellectual understanding of the NMS Polynesian barkcloth collection by contributing expertise in art historical interpretation of the different cloths and through sharing information on scientific analysis and conservation treatments. The University of Glasgow research team will contribute to the planned NMS publication on its collection.
Collaborator Contribution NMS is providing access to its Polynesian barkcloth collection for project researcher Dr Andrew Mills. Crucially, this much larger collection allows him to put the core research collections, those of The Hunterian and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew into a wider context. The Hunterian and NMS collections contain some interesting pieces which have a shared provenance, and could potentially even have been two halves of one cloth originally - the knowledge exchange gained from looking at the two collections alongside each other will enrich our understanding of the provenance of both collections, as well as of their original places of origin. Dr Antje Denner, Principal Curator Oceania, Americas and Africa at NMS, will contribute to our edited volume to be published in 2019.
Impact No outcomes yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Project partnership with The Hunterian 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Department Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The research team is carrying out historical, provenance and technical research which will result in greatly improved catalogue information for the Pacific barkcloth collection, as well as contributing to an improved overall understanding of barkcloth as a material and its context of making, use and exchange. The project's Research Conservator is carrying out conservation treatment to upgrade the collection's storage and to make vulnerable pieces safe for researchers to handle, greatly enhancing access to the collection. Hunterian visitors will benefit from an exhibition highlighting the project results, and showcasing the collection, and other smaller engagement events, such as a 'Meet the Experts' event for Hunterian Friends in May 2017.
Collaborator Contribution Initial curatorial support was provided by the former Curator of the Ethnographic collection. The Collections Manager is facilitating access to the barkcloth collection, with additional support provided by the Conservation Officer. The Hunterian is hosting the Museum Ethnographers Group conference, on behalf of the project team, in April 2017, and is also facilitating a conference reception in the Hunterian Museum. It will also make a financial and practical contribution to the barkcloth exhibition, and will host associated public events.
Impact The project team took part in a European Researchers' Night event in the museum: 'Hunterian Unlocked', on 30 September 2016. Project Associate, Margaret Smith, took part in a lunchtime 'Insight' talk at the Hunterian museum on 17 January 2017.
Start Year 2016
 
Description 'Insight' talk at Hunterian Museum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Scientific Research Associate gave a lunchtime 'Insight' talk to members of the public in the Hunterian Museum. The audience members were all intrigued, as they had not known about barkcloth before the talk.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Article in University of Glasgow 'Reach' publication 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact An article about the barkcloth project was published in the University of Glasgow's College of Arts 'Reach' newsletter in May 2016. The printed newsletter is circulated to College of Arts staff, and is also available online and reaches a wider audience beyond the university.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.gla.ac.uk/colleges/arts/knowledge-exchange/newsletter/reach08/barkcloth/
 
Description Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The project team took part in the annual Open Day of the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History at the University of Glasgow, welcoming around 180 visitors from the wider University, national and local museums, funders, and general public. The barkcloth project attracted a lot of interest generally, and specifically from staff of museums who have barkcloth collections, eg Glasgow Museums, National Museums Scotland (NMS) and the British Museum. Following the open day there was further contact with staff from Glasgow Museums and NMS.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://textileconservation.academicblogs.co.uk/a-bumper-year-open-day-2016/
 
Description Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The project team organised and co-hosted the Museum Ethnographers Group conference at University of Glasgow which attracted c 90 participants from as far away as New Zealand. The research team gave two papers, organised a barkcloth panel, and also hosted a visit to the project conservation lab. This increased knowledge and awareness of Pacific barkcloth, particularly from an art historical perspective but also conservation, among the audience, made up primarily of World Cultures curators and researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.tapa.gla.ac.uk/newsarchive/?year=2017
 
Description Conference presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Historical Research Associate presented a paper 'Rethinking the Malo' at the Pacific Arts Association-Europe conference at the University of East Anglia. the audience included museum professionals and artists from the Pacific. New contacts were made and will be followed up with visits.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Conference presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation at conference 'Conservation Matters in Wales' on the impact of conservation research, by Conservation Researcher Misa Tamura.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Conference presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The PI and Conservation Researcher gave a presentation on the research to the International Council of Museums Conservation Committee conference (World Cultures Working Group). This led to questions and discussion with other professional museum conservators.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Discussion with museum professionals in New Zealand 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The PI met with the Pacific team of curators, conservators and collections managers at Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand to brief them on the project research and outcomes to date. The team were very interested in the research, which they felt would impact on their interpretation of their collections, and discussed future directions of the research they would find helpful.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description European Researchers' Night 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The project team took part in an event 'Hunterian Unlocked', as part of European Researchers' Night 2016. This was intended to engage Hunterian museum visitors more widely with the collections and to showcase University of Glasgow research. Visitors, mainly members of the public and students, were interested in the barkcloth collection and research - to most it was an unfamiliar material.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.tapa.gla.ac.uk/news/?nid=1482235127
 
Description Hosted visit for students 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The project scientist, Dr Margaret Smith, hosted a visit from Dr Lore Troalen, scientist at National Museums Scotland, and her two interns, students from the European School of Chemistry, Polymers and Materials (ECPM), University of Strasbourg. This introduced the students to a new field of experimental research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Lunchtime talk to Textile Conservation students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Introductory session on the project for first and second year students on MPhil Textile Conservation programme at University of Glasgow. This sparked the interest of several of the students with the result that nearly all have taken part in a long-term volunteering programme, working with the Research Conservator on their study days to treat barkcloth objects. In addition two formal teaching sessions have been based on the barkcloth collection, and led by the Research Conservator. This is resulting in three cohorts of textile conservation students who have a much better understanding of the theory and practice of barkcloth conservation. Students on the MLitt Technical Art History programme have also benefited from working with the Scientific Research Associate, using barkcloth as a case-study for analytical investigation. The activities have featured on Twitter @UofG_Barkcloth.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Masterclass for schools 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The Scientific Researcher gave a Royal Society of Chemistry Masterclass for schools, disseminating information on this largely unknown material.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Participation in Research Network 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The Historical Research Associate took part in an event as part of the Leverhulme Trust-funded Research Network 'Aesthetic Dialogue Across Cultures', hosted at the University of Glasgow. He used barkcloths from The Hunterian collection to facilitate an exercise in 'Providing Aesthetic Engagement'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Symposium for conservators 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A symposium for conservators was held at the end of the project, to disseminate research outcomes for the conservation and science aspects of the programme. The event also attracted several members of the Pacific community. Attendees reported that they will adopt new conservation treatment techniques as a result of information gained, and the event led to new collaboration between European researchers and the source community representatives which will continue in future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Talk at Auckland Public Library 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The PI and Dr Andrew Mills gave talks at an evening session for the public on Pacific barkcloth, based around the Library's copy of an Alexander Shaw book, an 18th century bound collection of barkcloth samples. The audience greatly appreciated the chance to see the book, and to discuss barkcloth, its history and its conservation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Talk for visitors to The Hunterian 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The project's Scientific Researcher gave a lunchtime talk on barkcloth to visitors to The Hunterian exhibition: William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum. Barkcloth from The Hunterian was included in the exhibition.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Talk to Friends of The Hunterian 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Researcher Dr Andrew Mills gave a talk on barkcloth to the Friends of the Hunterian, discussing cloths and a barkcloth beater from the Hunterian collection, as part of a 'Meet the Experts' evening. The audience, although interested in cultural heritage and art, had mostly not heard of barkcloth before and were very interested to learn more about it, and to hear of our forthcoming exhibition.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Visit by Icon (Institute of Conservation) Ethnography Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professional conservators from museums and other institutions visited the conservation lab on a visit led by the Research Conservator and the Scientific Research Associate. The participants ranged from experienced barkcloth conservators to early career conservators - all were interested to hear of developments in documentation and treatment of barkcloth, and will use the knowledge gained in their professional practice. Misa Tamura has also given advice on barkcloth conservation in response to ethnographic conservators' email enquiries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://icon.org.uk/system/files/icon_news_january_2017_issue_68.pdf
 
Description Visit by indigenous and western researchers 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The project team hosted a visit by a barkcloth researcher from from The Museum Fünf Kontinente in Germany and a barkcloth scholar from the Cook Islands. This was very helpful for knowledge exchange on the making and exchange of barkcloth.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://hunterian.academicblogs.co.uk/
 
Description Visit by indigenous researcher 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The project team hosted a visit from a barkcloth researcher and practitioner from Pitcairn Island - she particularly wanted to see cloths from Picairn belonging to the Kew Gardens collection which had been made by her ancestors. Her daughter also visited us, and it was moving to understand something of the significance of the cloths to them. It was very useful to discuss the history and making of the cloths with her, and she will contribute a chapter to our edited volume, discussing the meaning of the cloths from her perspective.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Visit by members of the Textile Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A group of 15 people from the specialist Textile Society visited the barkcloth conservation lab as part of a visit to the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History at the University of Glasgow. Some textile experts were familiar with barkcloth while for others it was a new material.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Visit by staff and students from Glasgow Caledonian University 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Two lecturers from Glasgow Caledonian University visited with two BSc Forensic Science students. The students subsequently worked with the Scientific Research Associate who supervised their work on barkcloth sampling and identification for an assignment. This both contributes to the project outcomes and takes understanding of Pacific barkcloth manufacture and use to a new audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Visit to National Museums Scotland 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The PI and the Historical Research Associate met a team of Anthropology curators, the collections manager, textile conservator and conservation scientist at National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh, to discuss collaboration in barkcloth research. This was followed by further visits; for example, the NMS textile conservator took part in a two-day discussion on the conservation of barkcloth with the Research Conservator and members of the project advisory panel. Further collaboration is planned, and the NMS curators are developing research into their own collection.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.tapa.gla.ac.uk/news/?nid=1472211023
 
Description Workshop for barkcloth practitioners at Auckland Museum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The PI and Dr Andrew Mills hosted a workshop for barkcloth practitioners and artists of indigenous Pacific descent, kindly hosted by the Auckland War Memorial Museum. This was extremely beneficial in exchanging information on the making, uses, meaning and history of barkcloth across the Pacific. This was the first time that makers from different island groups had met to talk about barkcloth making in this way and was particularly helpful to makers from island groups which no longer practice barkcloth making, such as Niue.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Workshop for barkcloth practitioners at the Bishop Museum, Hawaii 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Andrew Mills and Co-I Dr Mark Nesbitt hosted a workshop for barkcloth makers and researchers at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii. This was extremely successful in giving barkcloth makers an understanding of historic making practices - they commented on how useful it had been to see and discuss historic barkcloth artefacts from the museum.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Workshop for conservators 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A 3-day workshop for 10 conservators was held to disseminate project outcomes, particularly the development of new conservation techniques and the scientific research which has contributed information on the identification of barkcloth materials. A highlight of the workshop was the experience of making and decorating barkcloth under the guidance of two Pacific barkcloth practitioners who we were able to bring to Glasgow for the event. Project researchers and associates and textile conservation students also benefited from the opportunity to make barkcloth with the practitioners. This impacted on conservators' and researchers' understanding of barkcloth making and processing, and will inform the selection of conservation treatments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018