Fashion Interpretations: Dress, Medium & Meaning

Lead Research Organisation: Courtauld Institute Of Art
Department Name: History of Art

Abstract

This international, interdisciplinary network focuses on the ways modern and contemporary fashion is continually reinterpreted through varied mediums, to gain insight into the ways representational modes translate and reconfigure the meaning of fashion itself. Through a series of events and a publication, it brings together academics, curators, stylists, editors, illustrators and artists to examine their own practice and reflect on case studies from the past.
Fashion history and theory rarely considers the importance of media and how drawings, photographs and exhibitions, for example, each re-articulate representation and reception of designed objects. This is a transitional moment within fashion interpretations, as digital media have provided greater access than ever to photographs and film of dress, while simultaneously aiding the revival of its more traditional rendition as illustration. In the past few years platforms such as Instagram have radically altered the way media are seen, and evened out differences by placing them all on a screen. In so doing, fashion brands and consumers have altered their expectations of what fashion is, can be and how its representation impacts its reception.
This network unites academics with practitioners to enable interrogation of the ways fashion is transformed by its varied iterations. Its focus is on representational forms, that is, what happens once a garment enters the network of media in which it is interpreted for a wider public, whether magazine readers, gallery visitors, or Instagram viewers. It develops greater understanding of fashion as visual and material culture, and builds upon the strengths of the co-investigators and their respective institutions. In so doing, it considers the ways shifts in mediums used, for example the change from illustration to photography, were facilitated by technology, for example, printing capabilities and digital media, but also connect with perceptual changes in the way viewers and consumers look at fashion, and perceive its meanings.
The inclusion of academics from different disciplines - fashion, art, and film historians, as well as literature enables the project to bring varied approaches to bear on its key questions, and encourages cross pollination of ideas. Each participant will represent and reflect upon different ways to write about fashion mediums, and enhance current understanding of this area. Curators add a three-dimensional awareness, through visual and material comprehension of meanings within space and a consideration of audiences within their interrogation of the network's theme. These disciplinary concerns are further extended by the inclusion of illustrators and artists who themselves work in varied mediums, to explore their own practice and its relationship to that of academics and curators. By working with an editor and a stylist, in part to create a medium in which to situate the network's outcomes, the project creates a meta interpretation of fashion mediums, transforming the writing and imagery participants produce into a magazine.
Together the participants provide expertise in communicating and rendering fashion in varied mediums themselves - from the academic article, to Instagram posts of drawings and reinterpretations of clothes through styling and curatorial choices - this network provides a forum to engage with each other's practice, discuss work in progress and examine common themes and resonances.

Planned Impact

This project will create a long term, sustainable network of academics, curators and practitioners focused on the impact of medium on fashion's meanings. It will provide the foundation to investigate approaches and interconnections between interdisciplinary, international participants to identify common methods and potential collaborations to be explored in a larger international project. The partner institutions will therefore be impacted by the network, as will the international institutions of the participants.
The artists and curators involved in the network will be impacted by their participation and discussions with academics, and this impact will in turn be felt by the audiences to their work.
The scholarly work produced by the PI, CI and other participants will impact their subject areas - fashion, art, film histories and curation studies - and will suggest a change in the ways fashion can be understood, analysed and represented.
The network's digital outputs are central to its work, and will have international impact given the status of the artists involved; there will be considerable impact on their audiences too, and on the fashion and arts media which will impact specialist and general audiences.
The network will impact national and international fashion studies in its broadest terms, since it sets out to question the highly contemporary question of how changes in medium impact what is one of the largest global industries, and leader of digital content.

Publications

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Chodha, D (2021) Archivist Addendum

 
Title Amden Atelier Film 
Description The Amden Atelier film grew out of the lockdown restrictions around the AHRC networking bid programmed events. During the originally scheduled symposium Judith Clark and Roman Kurzmeyer were to be in conversation - an interpreter was going to be employed as Roman Kurzmeyer's first language is German. As meeting became more and more difficult and the conversation (via zoom, or recorded separately) seemed more and more 'staged' (when were the questions going to be asked? filmed? and later spliced? translated?) The curators decided to make creative use of the restrictions: Kurzmeyer would speak from the site of the subject of the conversation (the arts project on the side of the Swiss mountainside at Amden - to which Clark had contributed in 2018 - and that was the beginning of a debate around exhibition-making as a medium) he would speak in German and it could have subtitles. Clark would instead film her section of the dialogue from her gallery space in west London - amongst the text books that were being discussed and a scale model of the Amden site. By creating a model of the site, it translated the landscape into an idea, reflecting the dilemmas of landscape as a different kind of site for arts projects - by nature conceptual that was integral to the conversation. The film was made by two film makers, one Swiss, Rapael Stucky who filmed on location in Amden, the other Alex Marshall, from London College of Fashion who filmed in London and edited the film. Alex Marshall's time was donated to the project. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact The film was premiered during the project symposium, adding a further example of fashion and medium and developing JC and RK's practice and collaboration into a new iteration. The film links circulated to members of the Centre for Fashion Curation, allowing its staff and students to analyse the film and its relationships to fashion and curatorial practice in detail. Roman Kurzmeyer and Judith Clark have used the film in their teaching and as a springboard for debate with their students (Art History, Basel; MA Fashion Curation, UAL). It will be screened at IUAV (Venice) in April to launch the new Masters in Fashion and a session has been arranged to look at it as both a debate around exhibition-making as a medium and the perimeter of the discipline of fashion, and as a response to covid-19. 
URL http://www.atelier-amden.ch/2_aktuell.html
 
Title Amden Atelier Model 
Description A model was made of the Amden Atelier for the film of the same name. It allowed Judith Clark to use the project embedded in the Swiss landscape as a reference, a prop, in order to talk about the discipline of exhibition-making. The materiality of it (rather than a photo for example) is essential to her practice. The fact that the base of the scale model was a 1: 12 plan of her own gallery space was important, linking the two projects, and the 1:250 scale of the slice of the Amden mountainside containing Kurzmeyer's 'hut/venue' was important as a first in a series of projects that will be carried out in the gallery. The 1:250 scale is the scale of the plaster cast of Imperial Rome that Clark visited each weekend as a child. So the model not only served as a prop for a conversation but participated in a new series of conceptual models that will be an ongoing project in Clark's space, about perimeters of reference, and perimeters of practice. The model was built by architect Sam Little. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact The model was central to the reimagining of JC and RK's curatorial practice at Amden Atelier, and became a key element within the film they produced for the project, which was shown at the project's Symposium, and enabled its audience to appreciate both the installation at Amden and its meanings from another perspective. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaeD7vmQlP4
 
Title Leanne Shapton paintings 
Description Shapton created a series of watercolours in response to the Network's aim to consider translations across mediums. She was inspired by vernacular photographs of secondhand clothes posted on e-commerce sites such as vestiarecollective.com. These images are renderings of a garment with little or no aesthetic pretensions, just the desire to show an item that is for sale. Shapton became fascinated by the tropes repeated in these shots, and the ways the garments looked in them. She began a process of translating these photographs into paintings, experimenting with ways to reimagine them in watercolour, sometimes focused on surface pattern but increasingly on the silhouette each garment created. She posted images of her work in process to the FI instagram account and wrote about her research for the FI blog, allowing followers to engage with her process, aims and research questions from early on in her process. She then discussed her process and finished artworks with the Network team at our meeting in May 2020, allowing the Network participants to consider the ways these paintings represent an engagement not just with digital media - by the garment's sellers, and potential consumers, but also with LS's reimagining of the images via a very different medium. By using watercolour she applied a centuries-old technique to a very recent manifestation of fashion, retail and consumption, slowing down its representation and enhancing its tactile qualities through her engagement and encouraging viewers to bring their own experience of shopping on such sites in their reception of the translated garment images. Her work was then presented at our Symposium in December 2020, and will be published in Archivist Addendum - translating the paintings into a new material form through their publication and inclusion alongside other Network members' outputs. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact Shapton discussed this work and it's meanings, for example in relation to time and value at the Network's December 2020 symposium. Her participation enriched the impact of the symposium, as it demonstrated the ways ideas about fashion, its representation and consumption can be explored through image and oral presentation as well as the written word. One symposium attendee who filled in The Courtauld Research Forum's survey on the events said: 'Including Richard Haines and Leanne Shapton were important and fun. It showed the breadth of what can be fashion interpretation plus the expertise and diversity in the network.' Her talk and PPT of her drawings prompted a lively discussion with the audience, and a good range of questions which were placed via Zoom's chat facility. These included: 'how do you think the (imagined) stories of garments play into the desire of consumers? And how could these stories be translated, if at all, to another medium such as watercolor?' which demonstrates the emotional response her interpretations of the garments provoked in the audience, and also suggests other ways that LS could develop this series. She was also asked about how the series of paintings relates to her wider practice: 'Have you always saved and archived photographs from eBay etc or is this a new part of your practice?,' and' I was wondering if she could talk about the function of the white background that recurs in her images. - when combined with these flattened garments/silhouettes there's almost a light-table effect to them. - I'm reminded of the way in which Helmut Lang archived/documented his designs,' which shows how audience members focused on all aspects of her paintings, and related these to their experience of other fashion representations. The watercolours LS produced will be translated into another medium through their inclusion in Archivist Addendum. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaeD7vmQlP4
 
Title Richard Haines drawings 
Description Haines created a set of original drawings inspired by the Network's aims. These comprise a series of responses to objects and images that already blur boundaries between mediums, including Christian Berard's 1939 trompe l'oeil doors at Guerlain in Paris, which are decorated with grosgrain ribbon to look like carved wood, and Elsa Schiaparelli's 1937/8 shoe hat. In each drawing, Haines has created an artwork that reflects on the process of translation between mediums and between distinct time periods. He then extended this re-presentation by using Procreate software to draw contemporary couture collections. In this instance, he was responding to current fashions worn on live models at runway shows. The resulting artworks comprise an examination of an artist's response to varied media, rendered through the centuries old practice of drawing with pencils and the new medium of digital drawing on a screen. Haines then discussed his process with the Network at our May 2020 meeting, allowing participants to respond to the shifts between drawings of 1930s drawings and photographs and architecture in situ, and live catwalk shows. These varied fashion interpretations were then re-presented through RH's visual style, his responses rendered in pencil on paper or Apple Pencil on screen. The Network was able to track ways certain details and silhouettes became the focal point as RH drew each item or outfit and how his drawings engaged the viewer, requiring them to take part in the interpretation but using their imagination to 'complete' his drawing in line with their own fashion knowledge and experience. This was developed and extended through his Fashion Illustration Masterclass, part of our December 2020 symposium, where he first talked through his process in creating these images, and then staged a series of brief drawing sessions with the audience sketching a live model. His 1930s and contemporary fashion drawings will finally be translated into the materiality of the Archivist Addendum publication. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact Haines showed his drawings to the audience at our December 2020 symposium, and discussed his process, he then coached viewers to take part in a Masterclass with him and to respond to a live model and create their own drawings, this encouraged viewers to develop their own observation and interpretation of fashion, which they then posted on Instagram, using our hashtag to show their own responses to RH's guidance and to the live model. Their work was then reposted on the FI Instagram account and RH's personal account - allowing direct connections and further comments between our team members and audience members who shared their drawings. Audience questions posed via zoom chat during RH's symposium session demonstrated the audience's engagement with these processes and translations, including: 'Does the material you use differ depending on whether you're drawing for pleasure or at a life drawing class, versus drawing directly from a runway at a show?,' and 'When shading fabric, do you do so in the direction of the fabric? Or more in keeping with the movement of the body?' Such engagements demonstrated the impact his presentation and Masterclass had on the audience, this is supported by a comment from the audience survey The Courtauld Research Forum conducted after the symposium: 'Very well organized, I loved it. The drawing masterclass was amazing, a very smart and original way to use zoom.' The drawings he created for the project will be translated into another medium through their inclusion in Archivist Addendum - the publication made in response to and documenting our project's outcomes. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnX03YECMtk
 
Description See submission for 2021
Exploitation Route See previous submission for 2021
Sectors Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description Our project's core aim to further understanding of medium and its impact on fashion's meanings has contributed to participant Richard Haines' ongoing development of his practice as an illustrator. He has continued work undertaken during the network project to consider line and/or the illusion of line through use of software such as Procreate. Haines has disseminated his findings through a series of online Masterclasses: February 20, 2021 24 attendees and May 18, 2021 19 attendees, plus two individual workshops:5/12/2021 and 5/19/2021, which have been attended by members of the public internationally, who are interested in developing their own drawing practice through Haines' guidance. Haines intends to continue this series to share and enhance his findings from work undertaken during the project still further. Elisa de Wyngaert's research and output for the project focused on exploring the ways museum displays and exhibitions impacted visitors emotionally. Her findings were extended into her work for the 'E/motion. fashion in Transition' exhibition stages at MoMu Antwerp 04.09.2021 - 23.01.2022 and the accompanying book of the same title, which also contained essays by De Wyngaert and Project Principal Rebecca Arnold. Her findings during the project informed the way de Wyngaert as a curator, considered the emotional connection visitors make to the objects on display and what a great loss it would be not to always try to make her exhibitions as emotionally engaging as possible. The exhibition displayed a wide range of media, from the actual silhouettes to video footage, magazines, lookbooks, runway shows and artworks. The network emphasized the importance of including many different fashion media to tell a story. As her research for the network focused on display mannequins, she was able to ask the network about their experiences and feelings around encountering mannequins in exhibitions. Their honest responses also proved crucial to her way of thinking for the upcoming exhibition 'Mirror Mirror. Fashion & the Psyche' and the accompanying publication (opening September 2022 at MoMu Antwerp), which (among other themes) will look at the psychological impact and political connotations of such human replicas. Research into medium, and the specific case studies explored by Rebecca Arnold, Lisa Cohen and Elizabeth Kutesko have all fed into full length monographs. Rebecca Arnold's book, 'Documenting Fashion: Dress & Visual Culture in 1920s and 1930s America' will include a chapter focused on analysis of medium in relation to the rise of fashion photography and its relationship to illustration during the 1930s, which incorporates her essay written for the project - to be published in autumn 2023 by Bloomsbury. Elizabeth Kutesko developed her essay on documentary photography as a medium for revealing dress practices in 1930s Brazil for the project into a book proposal: 'Fashion and the Devil's Railroad: dress, temporality and modernities in the Brazilian Amazon', which has been signed to Bloomsbury for submission in 2024, and Cohen is working on a manuscript that will be submitted to publishers in autumn 2022, which develops her consideration of memory, life writing, biography and materiality undertaken for the network. In each case, the books will disseminate the project's findings to a wider international audience, which will include members of the public interested in fashion and medium as well as students and academics in the fields of fashion studies, art history, film studies, and biography and life writing. Olga Vainshtein has developed her work for the project into Russian language articles to extend the reach of her findings on medium, and these include versions of her work on 'Little Lord Fauntleroy' carried out for the network project, and which extend this work to consider fashion, literature, illustration and meaning in 'Alice in Wonderland': http://articult.rsuh.ru/articult-38-2-2020/articult-38-2-2020-vainshtein.php and 'Curiouser and curiouser: fashion history of Alice's dress' // Russian Fashion Theory, 2021, N 61, p.101-132. (Modnaya istoria platia Alisi // Teoria Modi, 2021, N 61, p.101-132) The project's Co-Investigator Judith Clark has continued her conversations on medium with network participant Roman Kurzmeyer, who has written up a chapter on their collaboration which She has had translated into English for the Centre for Fashion Curation website to extend the conversation they had during the project and make their findings accessible to an international audience online. She has carried out further work in the Lanvin archive on the Goddess theme developed during the project, and is seeking a publisher. Leanne Shapton and Clark are planning a book on attributes that is based on the 1825 illustration of attributes used in Clark's symposium presentation for the project, which will also present their findings to a wider p, general audience. The project's key output, the inaugural issue of 'Archivist Addendum', edited by project members Dal Chodha and Jane Howard has been sold to international customers from Tender Books in London, Tatter Blue Books in New Zealand and in Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan. Although data protection means that specific customer details are unavailable, store feedback indicates that copies have been bought by fashion industry professionals, as well as the general public interested in forward looking fashion research and imagery.
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description Richard Haines at MoMu 
Organisation MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp
Country Belgium 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Network participant Richard Haines travelled to Antwerp to make drawings of key garments from MoMu's collection. This was facilitated by fellow network participant Elisa de Wyngaert. EdW selected a range of outfits by important contemporary fashion designers and curated these on mannequins, from which Haines made a series of drawings. This enabled RH and EdW to consider the ways current fashion garments are reimagined once in the museum context, and how their meanings potential shift again when they are drawn. Their findings were shared on our Instagram and our blog to bring immediate reactions to this collaboration to the public. They were then discussed in depth with the whole Network at our meeting in May 2020, to consider their experience of this translation between mediums and how this can be taken further through publication in a forthcoming MoMu collection book to be published in September 2021, adding a new dimension to the way the museum represents its collection to the public.
Collaborator Contribution MoMu provided a space, mannequins and outfits from designers including Dries Van Notes and Raf Simons and paid for Richard Haines to travel from Paris to Antwerp to visit the museum. They provided their expertise in the selection, dressing and styling of each mannequin's outfit. They are also covering the costs of the reproduction of the images within the forthcoming book. This collaboration enriched RH and EdW's understandings of how the translations between material and visual medium impact the relationships between creator (in this case curator and artist), subject (fashion garments) and viewer (the museum visitors/the book's readers). Since MoMu is currently closed for renovations, EdW had to consider alternative mediums to communicate and reflect upon the collection while it lacked its usual, physical space for interactions. Through their joint work, EdW used curatorial practice to choose, style and dress the mannequins for a single audience member, rather than for a display, and RH then responded to the chosen outfits and poses, to create images through colour and line on the page. These drawings will then be translated back into a material medium - as illustrations that viewers/readers can interpret anew through engagement with his representations, and using their imagination to connect them to photographs of the clothes depicted. RH and EdW then disseminated these images on the Fashion Interpretations and their personal Instagram accounts, to allow followers to reflect on the comparison between 'raw' photographs of dressed mannequins in the warehouse where they were staged, and the 'finished' illustrations created by RH. EdW wrote about this for the FI blog, allowing Instagram and blog followers to consider the process of translation from material garment, to curated mannequin, to drawing and then to screen in more detail. These translations highlighted the viewer's shifting experience, from tactile object, to RH's choice of colour, line and composition - which required viewers to make an imaginative leap from what he showed and its emotional and visual resonance, to the way this was perceived through digital media and the smoothness of the screen. This will be extended further once his drawings and photographs of the dressed mannequins are returned to another material medium - as part of a book about the collection. RH and EdW also described these re-presentations during our work-in-progress meeting in May 2020, enriching the Network's understanding of the varied translations of fashion that we were all creating, across and between mediums.
Impact This collaboration involved curatorial and museum practice, with research through practice. It was thus an interdisciplinary collaboration that drew upon fashion history, museology and drawing as artistic practice. The resulting drawings will be published in MoMu's forthcoming collections book, published by Lanoo, September 2021
Start Year 2020
 
Description Fashion Interpretations Instagram 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Fashion Interpretations instagram feed was from the start conceived as a key interface between the project members and a wide, international audience. It was therefore pitched to a general audience, through its focus on images to encourage discussion in comments, stories, and DMs about the nature of fashion mediums and how we interpret these. Each project member staged at least one week-long 'takeover' of the feed, with images and captions dedicated to their own work and with a link in the feed bio to that member's blog post on their work in progress. In this way we built a follower community that was engaged with our research, findings and each member through their own curation of the feed. This was highly successful and enabled the feed to be used in other ways, for example MoMu curator Elisa de Wyngaert also used the feed to develop her work and include the audience in her research. She hosted a poll in the feed's stories asking followers to share their emotional engagement with exhibitions, what about the exhibition effected them and whether this feeling continued after they left the museum. This garnered numerous responses via DM and in the comments on posts related to the stories poll. Some were from professionals, including a Museum Education specialist, and all reflected engagement both with the questions asked and with the underlying ideas concerning the ways medium - in this case curation - impacts reception of fashion meanings and audience reaction to these interpretations. For example, one follower expressed that she prefers exhibitions that, 'bring out art and social relevance of fashion, rather than the business side,' citing the V&A's 'Fashioned in Nature' as one which evoked strong feelings from 'anger at human vanity to hope.' Such interactions between Network participants and followers enriched project research and findings and helped to shape the way we then organised the symposium to reflect this more informal means to connect with our audience so that they could engage with our work on different levels. Instagram became the focal point for communication with a wider audience, driving engagement with our blog, and with our eventual symposium audience - 43.8% of whom found out about the events from this platform.
Our feed attracted a continually growing set of engaged followers, who 'like' and comment on our posts regularly. The feed was curated by our Administrator Frances Crossley, with takeovers from team members to display and caption current research and debates surrounding fashion and medium. The content was very popular and sparked interesting discussions in the comments section and in Direct Messages about specific posts, their meanings and opinions. The feed was also used to promote our events and ensure that our followers were aware of and could attend/comment upon all our activities. Connection was made between our blog and Instagram feed with posts timed to link between these platforms to maximise the impact of our research and developing ideas. The feed was also embedded in the Centre for Fashion Curation website for the duration of the project, this made direct connections between the project's partners - The Courtauld Institute and London College of Fashion and to its Co-Investigator Professor Judith Clark, opening out the feed's audience to an international curatorial audience - both at student and professional levels, and to wider networks within University of the Arts London, of which LCF is a member college. Instagram Insights provided the following statistics, as at 14 December 2020:
2927 followers, with 17.1K accounts reached during the final week of the project, and 58,400 Impressions (the number of times our content was seen) between mid-November and mid-December, which is especially important as this was the period during which our symposium was heavily promoted, took place and then its content discussed through our posts.
Followers came predominantly from the following countries: USA 27.9%, UK 15.3%, Brazil 3.9%, Italy 3.6% and Canada 3.5%. Age range: 13-17 0.7%, 18-24 16.06%, 25-34 36.2%, 35-44 23.4%, 45-54 13.3%, 55-64 5.5% and 65+ 4.2%, with 79.4% female and 20.6% male.
These statistics reflect the wide-ranging international audience which the project attracted and which enabled us to explore Instagram as a key means to express our ideas and develop our research. As one Network participant said in an email reflecting on the project: 'it was so challenging to take over the Fashion Interpretations Instagram - for me it was a new genre of scholarly activity.' The feed therefore became crucial to our own exploration of medium, and impacted our own practice, as well as communicating and engaging with followers and disseminating information about our work and events
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://www.instagram.com/fashioninterpretations/?hl=en
 
Description Fashion Interpretations Symposium 30 November - 4 December 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact From 30 November - 4 December 2020, the PI and CI hosted a five-night online symposium 'Fashion Interpretations: Dress, Medium and Meaning' to mark the culmination of the project. The symposium attracted 850 attendees over five nights, engaging an international audience. The symposium was originally intended to be a real-life event in May 2020, but due to Covid-19 restrictions had to be moved into an online format. However, the audience responded positively to this and particularly stated that it was more accessible to them because of its online format, resulting in a feeling of inclusion for those who might otherwise have been prevented from attending for geographical, family, or accessibility reasons. One of the network participants noted 'it was excited to see the unexpected connections between the presentations' and another praised the 'sense of connection' the network had generated during a particular difficult year. This was mirrored by audience members who noted 'it felt more like community building than the typical academic conference event'. Attendees reported that the content was 'Very informative [] inspirational', that they were 'inspired to look for new ways to see fashion in its manifestations' and that they 'have since done some research into artists and images' that they were unfamiliar with previously. One attendee stated that it 'gave me new tools for the future I want', while another noted that 'the diversity of perspectives and approaches felt "just in time"'. Many expressed a desire for similar events to happen online and hoped that the Fashion Interpretations network would continue in the future. One museum professional attending noted how important the symposium had been in 'helping me grapple with some issues I'm having about what our Museum should be doing and how we should be doing it.' Another praised the 'emotional responses' of the participants, stating that 'I felt really connected on a personal level.'
Due to the impact of the pandemic we were not able to stage this as an in-person event, we therefore rethought our approach and decided to rethink the symposium as another form of translation of our research into medium - in this case the presentation of our writing, curating, image-making, styling and magazine-making via zoom in a creative and engaging way that would communicate our work and reinforce the ways medium impacts the way we receive and understand fashion.
Each evening, we presented aspects of our individual and joint research into fashion and medium, exploring specific case studies from our perspectives as dress and film historians, artists, writers and illustrators, stylists and journalists. This included a Fashion Illustration Masterclass with Richard Haines, to enable the audience to respond to his discussion of his work for the project and apply this to his guided sketch sessions with a live model who also joined us via Zoom, and the premiere of a short film made by Judith Clark and Roman Kurzmeyer that reflects on their collaborations and translations of ideas between varied mediums. The week culminated with a roundtable discussion with all Network members to allow reflection on all aspects of the research and work produced within the Network and how we have responded to this individually and as a group. During every session, the audience asked questions which were then discussed by that evening's speakers. Any questions that remained in the Zoom Chat were then replied to via the Network blog to ensure that all audience members could be included within the discussion and could engage directly with the Network participants.
The symposium was recorded and will remain available on The Courtauld's YouTube channel, allowing its international dissemination to continue, to date the five videos, one for each night have been viewed 1061in total.
The PI's MA Documenting Fashion students wrote posts for their blog (blog.courtauld.ac.uk/documentingfashion/) in response to each evening's event. These encouraged connections to be made between research and teaching, and required students to reflect on content, issues raised and presentation styles, and communicate their own responses to the international audience the blog attracts. Each post was reposted on the project blog, and promoted on its instagram feed to disseminate further and connect with followers and subscribers on both platforms and accounts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://courtauld.ac.uk/research/research-forum/events/fashioninterpretations
 
Description Fashion Interpretations blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Fashion Interpretations blog was set up in the first months of our project to provide a public-facing site to discuss our work for the project, focus on specific research, themes and case studies and to enable a focal point to promote outcomes and events. Each Network participant contributed. Connection was made throughout the project with our Instagram account to provide a lively interaction between multiple images and texts on each platform and to develop and speak ideas about the project's focus and research. These two platforms were curated to work in tandem and reinforce and develop the content of each and to generate visits/views to both platforms. This enables the widest reach and the most developed exposure and impact of our research and outcomes to the widest range of people.
According to Google Analytics, from 1 July- 14 October 2020, the blog recorded 479 sessions, 1051 page views, with most coming from the UK, Switzerland and USA, and visitors from France, Spain, India, Japan, Canada, Belgium and Italy. From 4 November - 14 December, the period during which our symposium was promoted and then took place, this engagement increased to 2017 sessions in just this time frame, with 6375 page views. By providing a focal point for Instagram followers, those who had booked for/attended the Symposium and those googling the project name and/or keywords, the Fashion Interpretations blog was intended as a platform to develop discussion of work in progress by each participant, provide further information on the project as a whole, and give biographies for all members. The high level of engagement - with most finding the blog via the FI instagram and google searches, demonstrates wide, international audience engagement, with the highest number of users being 25-34 yer old women, followed by 18-24 year old women, suggesting our approach connected with college age and early career adults, followed by women 35-54 and men 24-35. This spread of age groups demonstrates engagement from people at various life and career stages, and the blog and therefore the project's appeal to a large number of individuals interested in fashion and its interpretation. In combination with the statistics and comments obtained in relation to the FI instagram feed and symposium the project's aim to question fashion medium and
meanings through various digital media and event types was fully met.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://sites.courtauld.ac.uk/fashioninterpretations/