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  • Writer's pictureamanda haran

The Cutting Edge Of Co-curation Wellbeing Communities

Attending the International Winter School on Cultural Heritage & Wellbeing: Textile Cities was an absolutely amazing co-curation experience! I had the privilege of being selected as one of only twenty delegates attending the event, which took place from 22nd January to 26th January 2024, in Leeds, UK. The Dr. Guislain Museum organised the event with Leeds Museums, Galleries, and University College London. It brought together experts from different fields to explore the role of textile heritage in promoting wellbeing and community engagement.

Throughout the five-day programme, I was introduced to inspiring case studies where co-creation was used to improve wellbeing. Leeds Museums and Galleries had an embedded Community Team that led this offering to enhance people's wellbeing by being an integral part of many aspects of the programming across the city's museums and art galleries. I craved being part of such a team again after my experiences in Coventry. I was also led by a team of highly experienced experts in different fields connected to heritage, community engagement, and wellbeing, including Bart De Nil, Bart Marius, and Claire Wellesley-Smith (a hero of mine after leafing through her books many times for inspiration.)

Attending the International Winter School was an excellent opportunity for me to learn from these experts and ensure that my knowledge was at the cutting edge of utilising cultural heritage to promote wellbeing and community engagement. I was thrilled to be part of a community of like-minded individuals who shared the same interests and goals. The school provided a platform for networking, sharing experiences, and building collaborations that could lead to future projects. Indeed, the discussions around a European flax growing and making initiative filled me with excitement, and I'm already building these ideas into future project proposals.

Leeds was an ideal location for the International Winter School as it was unashamedly a textile city. Its growth from a small town to a large industrial hub happened rapidly during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, driven by the industrial revolution and the wool trade. The city's textile heritage is of international importance, and its representative workforce engages with and improves the lives of the local community and visitors from afar. My aspirations will look at how my current home of Derbyshire was a sister to Yorkshire in these textile adventures. It was a joy to be tutored in a former weaving mill. The sights, sounds and smells made my heart leap.

I am excited to utilise the knowledge gained in future projects and be part of a global community that values the power of cultural heritage in promoting wellbeing.

Bring on Tilburg!



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