/ Congress Archive

The CIETA Congress

Excavations and Discoveries

Conventions where we meet in person to discuss research and objects and also visit textile collections together have always been part of the CIETA’s activities. Every other year, the CIETA invites its members to an international congress defined by a general theme. The congresses are held in different cities, usually in the end of September or the beginning of October. Over three days, papers introduce the participants to ongoing projects, the results of cutting edge research, important collections and individual textile objects. Visits and gallery talks complement the programme, and on an additional excursion day the participants are invited to museums and treasuries in the area.

Recent congresses have been held in:

  • 2019 – Deutsches Textilmuseum, Krefeld: “Dyestuffs and Colours in Textiles – Materiality and Significance”
  • 2017 – The State Hermitage, St. Petersburg: “Power, Rank and Status – Textiles and Representation”
  • 2015 – Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin: “Textiles in Transfer and Transformation“
  • 2013 – Musées des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs, Lyon “The History of Textile Collections and Textile Research”
  • 2011 – The National Museum, Copenhagen: “Cultural Encounters in Textiles and Costume between Northern Europe and the World”
  • 2009 – Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels: “Textiles in Trade (woven textiles, lace, tapestries…)”

The 29th CIETA congress will be held from 27 to 30 September 2021 at the National Museum, Zurich (Switzerland).

Around the globe, textiles discovered in the course of archaeological excavations have contributed to our knowledge of techniques, the use of ornament, practices of clothing and adornment, and of rituals and beliefs. Ever since research on historical textiles began, finds from archaeological sites have met with particular interest, not least because they often came with a specific context, providing additional information and allowing for far-reaching insights. They have also inspired artists and designers to create contemporary works relating to the past.

There is of course a far wider field beyond archaeological finds that gives us the opportunity to understand when and how fabrics and textile objects were created and used. Discoveries were also made in church sacristies, archives, households and in private and public collections. Occasionally, a researcher’s previous experience or knowledge of related artefacts became a key for the identification or understanding of an object thus considered. Discoveries can also lead to or include new approaches and methods that, in their turn, could spur further research or provide clues to solve old riddles. Of course, the exchange with fellow researchers also is of great importance – which is why we invite you to share your discoveries, consider questions and weigh insights, and contribute to an ongoing discussion underlining the importance and relevance of research into historical textiles today.


Call for Papers

You are invited to propose papers that relate to the theme of “Excavations and Discoveries”. Proposals discussing other topics of scholarly interest may also be taken into consideration, but will not be given priority. The content of the paper must be original and unpublished. Please, send your proposal (with a title and a summary of 150 words max.) to the President of CIETA (per mail to president@cieta.fr or birgitt.borkopp@ikg.unibe.ch) until 15 December 2020 (deadline). A Selection Committee consisting of Members of the Directing Council of CIETA will consider the proposals and decide about their selection. Following the procedure established for the last congresses in Berlin, St. Petersburg and Krefeld, invitations to the congress will be sent out together with a preliminary programme in January 2021.

Call for Papers PDF (98.90 KB)