The investigation of cultural traditions and vocabularies for contemporary socially engaged textiles has been a fundamental component of Outside: Activating Cloth to Enhance the Way We Live (Barber & Macbeth, 2014) book. The book introduces a new kind of vision for textiles as a catalyst for community cohesion examined through a collection of new writings by June Hill, Lesley Millar, Alice Kettle & Jane Webb, Philippa Lawrence, Robert Clarke, Penny Macbeth, Betsy Greer and Claire Barber. I co-edited the book and co-convened an international conference that gave rise to it, while co-writing its introductory essay with Macbeth. My chapter, ‘Outside Intervention’ interweaves personal reflections on my social practice with serendipitous interventions concerning things found. The originality of this book depends upon the currently overlooked transformative potential of textiles as a socially engaged form of practice in facing contemporary social concerns.

Citation: Barber, C. and Macbeth, M. (Eds.) (2014) Outside: Activating Cloth to Enhance the Way We Live. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 131 pages, ISBN 978-1-4438-5695-9.