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Tilleke Schwarz hails from The Netherlands where she stitches visually poetic “maps of modern life”. In her engagement with contemporary life, her work is reminiscent of graffiti. But unlike graffiti her work is hand embroidered with very fine stitches and lovely colors. Tilleke includes anything that amazes, moves, or intrigues her. Daily life, mass media, traditional stitched samplers, and cats are major sources of inspiration. The result is a humorous reflection on our modern society in textile form. Her work is a mixture of her singular personality, a fine graphic sensibility, and a bit of fooling around. 

The lecture will explore feminist methodolgies and tactics in relation to Tilleke's work.


Date: Friday 9th June  

Time: 4pm - 5pm

Location: The Portico Library


Limited places available: eventbrite tickets available here:

The focus of this workshop is on design, allowing participants to design a new work in their own style and tell their own stories. The workshop will start with experiments in mixed media and collage. These techniques on paper allow students to feel completely free to try out new ideas. Participants will enjoy the adventure of designing while working, resulting in inspiration for a new work.

Demonstrations will include Tilleke’s favorite hand embroidery techniques. Hand-stitching is fun and relaxing but time-consuming; students should not expect to finish a new work in the workshop. The aim is to leave with plenty of new ideas and a start for a new work.

In case you have questions related to the workshop you can contact her by email


Date: Saturday 10th June

Time: 11am – 4pm

Location: The Portico Library

Tickets: £55 

Limited Places Available: eventbrite tickets available here:

This is a unique opportunity to explore the history of feminism through the extensive textile archive at the Whitworth. The session reflects upon the legacy of textile programming at the Whitworth from the pioneering two-part exhibition in conjunction with the Corner House The Subversive Stich [1988]. The project was conceived and curated by Jennifer Harris consisting of Embroidery in Women’s Lives 1300 – 1900 at the Whitworth and Women and Textiles Today curated by Pennina Barnett and Bev Bytheway at The Corner House. These exhibitions explored ideas raised in Roszika Parker’s landmark book The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine that theorized the relationship between femininity and textiles. Subsequently in 2015 Jennifer Harris curated Art_Textiles showcasing a vast range of international artists concerned with the conceptual value of cloth, its ability to make the ordinary into the extra ordinary and challenging the hierarchies of mediums in art.


The session will be led by Uthra Rajgopal, and a selection of objects from the archive, that engage with these themes will be on display. This will be a relaxed and informal oppertunity to ask questions and initiate discussion. It will operate as a drop in session and will be subject to availability.

Date: Thursday 6th July

Time: 5-7pm

Location: Whitworth Art Gallery, Study Center


This workshop is an opportunity for you to get involved in a collaboartive knitted art work celebrating feminism. We will be knitting tube covers for a wire frame that will form a knitted word. Each small piece of knitting will contribute to the finished art work that will be presented at The Whitworth as part of the official book launch on 6th July.

This is a free drop-in workshop suitible for people of all abilities, from experianced knitters to total beginners. The workshop leaders will be able to teach casting on and off, knit and pearl stitches, stocking stitch and knitting in the round.


The workshop will be led by artist and activist Helen Davies.

Date: Saturday 17th June

Time: 11am – 4pm

Location: The Portico Library

Free, drop in anytime

Sign up on eventbrite:

Official launch of the publication Cut Cloth: Contemporary Textiles and Feminism with short introduction to the project from Sarah-Joy Ford.
A short lecture will be screened from Professor Griselda Pollock, recorded for this event. The talk explores the living legacies of feminist, textile theory through quilting, embroidery, weaving and print.
The launch is curated is by COLLAR collective. Expect sculptural intervention and unique cocktails created especially for this event. The books are a limited edition of 100 and available to buy on the night. Please be aware that unfortunately we cannot accept card payments. 


COLLAR is a Manchester based curatorial collective: 

Date: Thursday 6th July

Time: 7pm – 9pm

Location: Whitworth Art Gallery, Gallery 3


This exhibition brings together 10 artists working with textiles and feminist themes. The artists represent a diverse range of material and political strategies that use cloth to challenge and resist the patriarchal structures. 

Alongside the contemporary exhibition there will be an archive exhibition exploring the legacies of textiles and feminism in Manchester. Objects include loans from The People's History Museum, The Pankhurst centre, The African Fabric Shop, Warp & Weft and the Portico collection. 

Exhibiting Artists: Hannah Hill, Katie Lundie, Rebecca Halliwel Sutton, Sarah-Joy Ford, Sophie King, Eleanor Edwardes, Orly Cogan, Wendy Huhn, Tilleke Schwarz & Bethan Hughes

Cut Cloth: Exhibition Private View

Date: Friday 9th June

Time: 6pm – 8.30pm

Location: The Portico Library

Exhibition continues until 5th July

Click here to visit the facebook event

Cut Cloth: Event Program

Lecture “Anything goes”  Feminism in contemporary textiles and my quirky embroidery - Tilleke Schwarz
Cut Cloth: Contemporary Textiles and Feminism Exhibition Launch
Workshop: Making space (in your head) for a new work with Tilleke Schwarz
Workshop: Feminist Collaborative Knitting with Helen Davies
Exploring the Archive: Feminism and Textiles at The Whitworth
Publication Launch: Cut Cloth and Contemporary Feminism curated by COLLAR
Don't Blow it Handkerchief Workshop with Sarah Corbett

Sneak a message under the nose of someone who could seriously influence positive change and help them to do so. Instead of being an aggressive activist, be a critical friend. It’s not only a loving thing to do, it can be more effective. Your local politician probably gets dozens, if not hundreds of letters and emails urging them to consider all sorts of important issues. But how often do they get given a hand-stitched hanky acknowledging that their job is difficult and encouraging them to not ‘blow it’ but use their power to support create long lasting positive change? Probably not very often!


You could also stitch a hanky for a friend, family member or even a stranger who is in a position of power who you are worried might not be fulfilling the potential with the power and influence they have and you could encourage them to be the change they want to see in the world. Our kits have message suggestions for MPs, Teachers, Religious Leaders and even Bankers. Our kits also include questions to reflect on whilst stitching over your message to encourage you to think critically and encourage some ‘crafterthought’s to come out of this craftivism action. 


We hope that they keep their handmade hanky to help motivate them to show their love for our global neighbours and the environment, and to act to help rather than harm them. 


Date: Saturday 8th July

Time: 11am – 1pm

Location: The Portico Library

£20 per person, 12 places available

Sign up on eventbrite here:

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