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Textiles Gestalten


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PhD projects in Textile Studies

Three PhD candidates doing doctoral studies

Following Sarah Wassermann’s completion of her doctoral thesis, there are now three PhD candidates doing doctoral studies at the Department of Textile Studies.

Lena Küppers is exploring the influence of digital textiles on changing body images. Taking the approach of a discourse analysis, she examines the development of historical role models, right through to wearables, smart clothes and tech fashion. The aim of her doctoral thesis is to explore the extent to which the increasing use of technology in our clothing and on the body affects our understanding of the body. The study aims to contribute to the cultural history of the vestimentary, technologized body.

In her PhD project, Annemarie Juli seeks to clarify why, in our individualized society, on average half of all people wear blue jeans in public spaces. Using empirical data, she investigates which factors are responsible for this uniformity. She is primarily interested in the interaction between the individual, cultural belonging and separation, commerce and zeitgeist.

Lucia Schwalenberg’s doctoral project investigates the history and heritage of patterns of the Beiderwand Weaving Workshop Meldorf as a textile place of commemoration. The research focuses on the analysis of sources concerning the creation of the museum workshops at Dithmarscher Landesmuseum and the archive of patterns at the Altes Pastorat in Meldorf. The main research question is: What makes the Beiderwand Weaving Workshop in Meldorf a textile place of commemoration? The aim is to identify the relevance and potential of the Beiderwand Weaving Workshop Meldorf for transmitting textile culture. The essence of the thesis is to demonstrate whether, and how, textile places of commemoration contribute to the preservation, transmission and future of textile culture and textile knowledge.


Photo: Lucia Schwalenberg

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Successful doctoral thesis at the Department of Textile Studies

“We will carry on! Textile Laienschaffen in the GDR and developments after German reunification.”

Sarah Wassermann hat 2020 ihre Dissertation im Fachgebiet Textiles Gestalten erfolgreich mit der Gesamtnote magna cum laude (1,0) abgeschlossen.

Sarah Wassermann successfully completed her doctoral thesis at the Department of Textile Studies in 2020 with the overall grade magna cum laude (1.0). Sarah Wassermann’s thesis focuses on textile Laienschaffen, i.e. textile groups that were established at the time of the GDR. Besides contributing to the collective memory of Germany as a whole, her thesis also makes a crucial cultural/scientific contribution to the development of a mutual understanding of cultures in the former GDR and FRG, and to mutual respect. Even 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it appears that this process is still ongoing; in some places, people still think in terms of “east” and “west”. 

Studies that examine the topic of textile culture and its significance in the GDR, placing it in a pan-German context, are few and far between. Reference was made to this fact by Björn Raupach in his PhD thesis on “Politik und gewebte Lebensfreude – Der Bildteppich in der DDR” (Politics and woven joie de vivre tapestries in the GDR), which he submitted in Paderborn in 2015. Unlike in other European countries such as Poland, France and Switzerland, where textile art is treated on an equal footing with art, in Germany the textile arts are regarded as non-preferential techniques of aesthetic visualization. 

The first volume of Sarah Wassermann’s doctoral thesis is 280 pages long; the second 103-page supplementary volume contains numerous illustrations of collaborative works and individual pieces, a list of objects at the Akademie der Künste (Berlin), and a list of objects at the Museum Europäischer Kulturen (Berlin).

Photo and text: Prof. Dr. Bärbel Schmidt.

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