Intercultural Exchanges in the Time of Covid-19, Including in the Field of Textiles and Clothing

In addition, the second parallel theme for the 3rd edition of the photo contest is ‘Intercultural Exchanges in the time of Covid-19, including in the field of textiles and clothing’. Here young photographers are invited to use their cameras to capture the many changes the world has experienced in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in terms of intercultural exchange. This includes, but is not strictly limited to, the fields of textiles, clothing, and fashion, and most importantly the exchanges centered around them. One immediate example has been the important role of textiles in the production and design of face masks, however there are many others and photographers are invited to respond to and interpret the prompt creatively.

Around the world, responses to Covid-19 have led to many changes and placed constraints on the production of textiles and clothing which has in turn impacted the preservation of the vast array of intangible cultural heritages associated with them. For example, the production of many traditional textiles is often a community-based activity in which large numbers of people contribute. As people in many parts of the world have changed the ways in which we interact with one another this has risked straining the production, protection, and promotion of traditional craft practices related to textiles and clothing. This poses a considerable threat to the survival of the important knowledges and skills associated with textiles as vibrant elements of the shared cultural heritage of the Silk Roads. In addition, as with many industries, the pandemic has also greatly threatened the commercial textile industry worldwide, and in terms of silk production this has included delays or breakdowns in the production chain, raises in cocoon and raw silk prices, transportation problems, and import and export restrictions.

Furthermore, aside from textile production, a number of the celebrations, rites, and festivals from along the Silk Roads of which textiles and clothing are an important element have been unable to take place, been suspended, or have adapted to take place in an online format. As such, we are looking for photographers to use their artistic vision to share these practices with people around the world showcasing the resilience of these exchanges. Some examples, of intangible cultural heritages related to textiles from along the Silk Roads, include ‘Las Fallas’ festival in Valencia, Spain, the traditional ‘Jamdani’ weaving in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the handmade weaving ‘Sa’eed’ in Upper Egypt, the sericulture and silk craftmanship of China, and the weaving of ‘Mosi’ using ramie in Hansan in the Republic of Korea.

Despite these impacts textiles and clothing remain an important mode of creativity and human expression which links the interactions of the past, with our present, and future. There have of course been many changes to Intercultural exchanges and interaction in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this theme allows space for photographers to creatively respond to the prompt ‘Intercultural Exchanges, in the time of Covid-19, including in the field of Textiles and Clothing’. Images might reveal any of numerous impacts of the pandemic on intercultural exchange and creative processes along the Silk Roads especially within the field of textiles and clothing but also within related areas such as festivals, celebrations, music, dance, and theatre etc.