CORDIS - EU research results

Textile Studies: questions and issues between knowledge and knowhow

Final Report Summary - TEXTILESTUDIES (Textile Studies: questions and issues between knowledge and knowhow)

The project have consisted in an anthropological study and in an ethnographic enquiry among and with textile experts aimed at exploring the research practices that guide and generate the “reconstruction” of the ancient technological textile practices - from the artefacts to the technology to the technique. In particular, the investigation has addressed the intersection of the natural sciences, humanities, experimental methods and technical skilled practices as they are involved and/or mobilized into the study of the ancient textiles. The focus has been on the relationship between knowledge and knowhow as specific as well as complementary knowing and knowledge making processes. Two main axes have been followed. The first has focused on scholarly literature, schemas and practices with special focus on archaeology, philology, history of technology for the humanities, and geology and biology for the natural sciences. The second axe has concerned textile objects and techniques (artefacts, materials, tools and processes) through the analysis of the experimental protocols, experience-based practices and hands-on approaches developed by and with craftspeople with special focus on the textile chaîne opératoire and cours d'action. Within the frame of the ethnographical enquiry, interviews and observations have been conducted by the fellow in European universities, research centres and institutions, museums and workshops with the actors of the study: scholars, technicians, curators, professional weavers and craftspeople. Furthermore, the ethnographic approach and the reflexive research stance adopted have allowed the fellow to match the fieldwork research and the specific training within the frame of her Marie Curie project. By this, Dr Carraro has implemented a participant and applied research. The textile technology, techniques and technical system have been analysed from a structural, historical and functional points of view, and the knowing practices, structures and devices implied in the study of the archaeological textiles have been described and studied in a symmetrical way following the project's objectives. In particular, starting from the CTR and partner research institutions' ongoing projects on the Mediterranean (Aegean, Greek and Etruscan) and Scandinavian archaeological textiles, the investigation have been conducted through a wider textile network in Denmark (CTR, Lejre Experimental Centre, Danish National Centre for Isotope Geology and Department of conservation of the Danish National Museum) and abroad, mainly in France (CIETA and CNE - CNRS) and Italy (University of Rome La Sapienza, Museo delle Origini and Fondazione arte della seta Lisio). Within the collaboration with the laboratory for techno-functional analysis of pre- and protohistoric artefacts (LATFPA) headed by Prof. Cristina Lemorini at the Museo delle Origini and University of Rome La Sapienza, the fellow has conducted a comparative study in experimental archaeology with regard to other technologies from the past and integrated ethnographical data (see the report letter by Prof. Lemorini in attachment). By this double perspective, Dr Carraro's project has implemented on a new basis the dialogue between anthropology, ethnology and archaeology. Fieldwork research and training with professional weavers - in Denmark mainly with Karen-Hanne Staermose Nielsen, in France at the CIETA and in Italy at the Fondazione Lisio and in traditional and modern workshops – have allowed the fellow to integrate the technological dimensions of the textile production into the analysis. In this regard, of a relevant interest is the programme launched by the fellow with Assunta Perilli at the Lejre Experimental Centre, at the University of La Sapienza and with the Fondazione Arte della seta Lisio on textile traditional and archaeological protocols and tools. In particular, the two editions of the event and research workshop “Filo da torcere” organized at Campotosto (Aq) in October 2015 and June 2016 in collaboration also with M. Gleba (Cambridge University) has involved research institutions, professionals and general public (see attachments). A 3rd workshop, scheduled in October 2016, is in preparation. The analyses developed and the data collected in these frames have been matched with the study of the heterogeneous scholarly knowledge practices, habits and schemas. By this, the fellow has been able to address the issue of interdisciplinarity on empirical bases and from a theoretical and methodological points of view. In this regard, Dr Carraro has organized two scientific workshops in 2015 in collaboration with Prof. Claus Emmeche, Department of Science of Education, and the Humanomics Research Centre: “Aspects of interdisciplinarity” (UCPH) (see attachment) and “Learning interdisciplinarity” (UCPH and University of Aarhus). In particular, the fellow's collaboration since the beginning of the MC project with Dr Ellen Harlizius Klück, guest researcher at CTR, on the history and anthropology of textile technology and thought generated a very rich synergy and has involved researchers from CTR and the University of Leeds. Most importantly, within the frame of this collaborative work, the fellow has contributed to the elaboration of the application for the ERC Consolidator Grant of P.I. Dr Ellen Harlizius Klück and is part of the research team of the project “Penelope”. This project has been funded and Dr Carraro will start her work within this frame at the Research Institute for the History of Science and Technology of Deutsches Museum in Munich since fall 2016 as direct continuation and result of her Marie Curie project. As planned in the application, the objectives and results of the research can be situated with regard to four axes: anthropology of technology; science studies; history, sociology and anthropology of knowledge; textile studies. The short and long-term impact of Dr Carraro's Marie Curie project can be appreciated with regard to these research fields. For the first time a deep and empirical based study on research practices in the field of textile studies has been conducted enhancing the understanding of the composite and high specialized knowledge involved in this often marginalized field of study. Furthermore, the study of the research practices in inter- and multidisciplinarity conducted by Dr Carraro potentially allows us to improve the analysis of knowledge production in sciences and humanities as well as in their applied dimensions bridging the gap of the main dichotomies of knowledge and knowhow and thus laying the groundwork for further discussions and perspectives far beyond the case study of the archaeological textiles.