Category Archives: Fashion and Design

ACIS scholarships for postgraduate research in Italy in 2020

ACIS is offering UP TO THREE scholarships worth $6,000 each to provide postgraduate students at an Australian or New Zealand university with the opportunity to work on a research project in Italy in 2020. For one of the awards, the Dino De Poli Scholarship, preference may be given to applications for research on any aspect of the culture, history and society of North East Italy. The scholarships are available to students who are currently enrolled, full-time or part-time, in Master by research or PhD degrees in a university in Australia or New Zealand and who are engaged in research projects in any of the following areas of Italian Studies: archaeology and classical antiquities, language, literature, culture, history, politics and society, including migration studies. Full details of the scholarships, eligibility, and the application process can be found here. The deadline for submission of applications is SUNDAY 13 OCTOBER 2019.

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Fellowship to honour Katthy Cavaliere

Cavaliere, nest, 2010

The estate of the artist Katthy Cavaliere (1972-2012) has announced that it will join the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Sydney’s Carriageworks, and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) to establish a fellowship, Suspended Moment: The Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship, in support of women artists. Next year three $100,000 grants will be awarded to female-identifying Australian artists working in performance and installation; together they will realize a project to be exhibited at the three institutions in 2020. Cavaliere was born in Sarteano, Italy, in 1972, moving to Australia with her family in 1976. She attended the University NSW School of Art and Design in Sydney and studied under Marina Abramović at the Accademia di Belle Arti at Brera in Milan. She was best known for creating art informed by her migrant experience and sense of displacement as a child, as well as by her grief for her mother who died of ovarian cancer in 2008. One such work, nest, 2010, shows Cavaliere sitting on top of a pile of her mother’s clothes at Clovelly Beach in Sydney, gazing out at the horizon. Katthy Cavaliere herself died of ovarian cancer in 2012.

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ACIS Research Group: History and Social Sciences

The first 3-year plan for the ACIS History and Social Sciences Research Group is available here. As its title, Trade, Textiles and Meaning in Italy: 1400-2018, suggests, the focus is on the nature and consequences of the high-end textile trade in Italy from the Renaissance onwards. The project begins with a specific object – the portrait of Isabella D’Este (1474-1539) by Titian – and explores the production and meaning of all the items of clothing, seen and not seen, that Isabella is wearing. The exploration is conducted in tandem with the IDEA (Isabella D’Este Archive) website, in relation where possible to the references to clothing and textiles in Isabella’s correspondence. The second part of the project examines similar themes in the contemporary world of ‘Made in Italy’, where many major producers using that descriptor are not Italian. Information on the activities and people involved in the project can be found in the plan and from the Research Group’s convenor, Catherine Kovesi.

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A Racist Brooch? The Venetian origins of a royal jewel

Catherine Kovesi   University of Melbourne

In reportage of Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace and the arrival of Meghan Markle and her fiancé Prince Harry, worldwide news focused on the item of jewellery worn by Princess Michael of Kent. Immediately branded as a ‘racist’ piece of jewellery in so-called ‘blackamoor’ style, many of these reports were also at pains to emphasise Princess Michael’s father’s association with the SS and to portray this fashion statement as a blatant affront to Harry’s choice of bride, a woman of part African-American heritage. Princess Michael hastily apologized for wearing the piece and said she would not wear it again. But this explosion of journalistic outrage obscures a much more interesting story  ……     Continue reading

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Dal guntiino al jilbab: come spiegare un cambio d’abito?

Kaha Mohamed Aden    ACIS

Dopo gli anni Novanta del secolo scorso il guntiino, il vestito molto colorito delle donne somale che lasciava il collo e le spalle scoperte, è scomparso, rimpiazzato dal jilbab (nome non somalo), il vestito solitamente scuro che copre intero il corpo dalla testa ai piedi. Questa rottura con una tradizione secolare del vestirsi ha caratterizzato non solo la Somalia ma anche le comunità somale in Italia e altrove.  Perché? In ‘Cambio d’abito‘, un breve saggio uscito recentemente sulla rivista Africa e Mediterraneo (2017) n.86 e disponibile qui, si cerca di dare una risposta, elencando i principali fattori politici, religiosi e sociali che insieme hanno portato a questo cambiamento drammatico nel vestirsi delle donne somale.   Continue reading

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Emotional geographies of Italian transnational spaces

Francesco Ricatti   University of the Sunshine Coast

CSR 19(2)The new issue of Cultural Studies Review (volume 19 issue 2) includes a section I have co-edited with Maurizio Marinelli on Emotional geographies of the uncanny: reinterpreting Italian transnational spaces. Our aim was to read transnational spaces constructed and inhabited by Italian migrants and settlers to Australasia as emotional spaces of uncanny perceptions, memories, narratives and identities. Drawing inspiration from the Freudian suggestions about the uncanny (das unheimliche), and later interpretations by Heiddeger, Derrida, Kristeva, Bhabha, Žižek, and Ahmed, we refer to the uncanny as the emotional reaction to something that is, at the same time, familiar and unfamiliar, homely and unhomely. The uncanny then becomes an aesthetic frame through which experiences of migration and colonialism can be read and interpreted. Continue reading

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Luxury and its underside

Rosa Salzberg   University of Warwick

Luxury is one of the concepts most closely associated in the popular mind with Italy today and in the Renaissance period which I research and teach.

A diamond is forever

‘A diamond is forever’ (Don Draper, 1948, after Anita Loos, 1925)

But the precise value and consequences of luxury – of the skills it preserves and innovation it generates, but also of the social inequalities it reflects and arguably exacerbates – are still matters of heated debate. I am part of a recently-launched International Network entitled Luxury & the Manipulation of Desire which aims to explore these questions anew, linking the contemporary agenda to scholarship on the history of global luxury from the Renaissance to the present. It focuses on three key areas: the production of luxury, the regulation of luxury and the geography of luxury.

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The architecture of luxury

Annette Condello   Curtin University

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Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City. Begun by Adamo Boari in 1901.

The idea of luxury – how it can be defined and what forms it takes in different cultural contexts and historical periods – is the theme of an earlier post. My own interest is in the application of luxury in the field of architecture. Building on my previous research, which examined Francesco Venezia’s contemporary architectural spolia in Italy and France and Adamo Boari’s early modern designs in Mexico and the USA, I am developing a project which examines the meaning and application of luxury. Luxury has become a contentious issue in architecture: is it an unqualified benefit or something that should be present only within strict limits? The project’s scope spans from antiquity to modern (and contemporary) times.  Continue reading

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Slow Clothes: A Tale of Two Brothers, Two Sisters and a Butcher

Catherine Kovesi   University of Melbourne

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Sign on wall outside restaurant in Santorini

I started this year with some spinal surgery. The long recuperation which has followed has brought new resonance for me of the Italian concept of ‘Slow’, a concept first articulated by Carlo Petrini back in 1986 as a protest against fast food.  Everything in the last two months for me has had to proceed at a slow pace, sometimes excruciatingly so.  And yet being forced to take things slowly has proved not to be a bad thing overall. Therapists in rehab, kindly helping me to manage my pain levels, have inducted me into Mindfulness Therapy, which I have found very helpful. On reflection, I think that the principles of ‘mindfulness’ lie at the core of ‘slow’ – taking time to think, to observe, to reflect, and just to concentrate on the joys to be had in the simple.  It has reminded me also of the first time I started to understand the broader principles of ‘slow’, on a stunning April day in Florence in 2011, in the extraordinary textile mecca that is the Casa dei Tessuti.

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