The Collective: Textiles as community

2023 Project Threadways Symposium

Join us April 20-22, 2023, as we explore the power of small groups to create big changes through the everyday act of making. Project Threadways will share stories of those who have gathered to weave, craft, sew, and tuft—and, in doing so, created economic opportunity, organized resistance, and achieved self-determination from their work. 


The 2023 Project Threadways Symposium will offer in-person and virtual experiences. In addition to the presentations, in-person guests will experience the local community in Florence, Alabama—steeped in textile history—through food, drink, and conversation. 


Speakers include Katie Knowles, historian of textiles, clothing, and U.S. slavery; Aleia Brown, Whichard Professor of History at East Carolina University; Vallarie Pratt, a scholar of Georgia chenille; artist Diana Weymar of the Tiny Pricks Project, artist Donna Mintz of the Hambidge Center; Annie Bryant and Viola Ratcliffe of Bib & Tucker Sew-Op; and more.


Pictured at right: A March Quilt from Bib & Tucker Sew-Op.

schedule of events

Thursday, April 20, 2023
5:30pm Registration and Cocktails
7:00pm Project Threadways Dinner with chef Nicole Mills


Friday, April 21, 2023 
9:00am Breakfast 
9:30am Welcome
10:00am Presentation by Aleia Brown*
10:45am Presentation by Vallarie Pratt*
11:30pm Presentation by Donna Mintz*
12:15pm Lunch 
1:30pm Presentation by Viola Ratcliffe*
2:15pm Panel discussion*
3:00pm STITCH screening, followed by conversation with Natalie Chanin + Ansley Quiros*
4:30pm Presentation by Katie Knowles at the Kennedy-Douglass Art Center

5:45pm Pope’s Tavern exhibition and dinner


Saturday, April 22, 2023
9:00am Breakfast
9:30am Presentation by Diana Weymar
10:30am Hands-on sewing circle with Diana Weymar
12:30pm Lunch
1:15pm  Tour of The Factory

2:00pm Panel discussion
3:30pm Oral Presentation with Carrie Barske Crawford and Jimmy Shaw
4:00pm  Closing Remarks

– Please note all times are CST.

– All events take place at The Factory at Alabama Chanin unless otherwise noted.

– Events marked with an asterisk* are available for virtual streaming and participation.


Learn more about each of our presenters.


Director, Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area. Faculty member, University of North Alabama Department of History.

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Whichard Professor of History at East Carolina University.

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Founder, Bib & Tucker Sew-Op.

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Founder and Creative Director, Alabama Chanin. Founder, Project Threadways.

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Katie Knowles

Ph.D., Rice University. Historian of textiles, clothing, U.S. slavery, and African American history. 

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Nicole Mills

Chef de Cuisine, Pêche. New Orleans, Louisiana.

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Artist, writer, and fellow, Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. Co-writer and -editor of The Hambidge Center: 80 Years in the Making.

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M.A. History, Public History and Museum Studies, University of West Georgia.

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Department Chair and Associate Professor of History, University of North Alabama. 

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Arts administrator, educator, and quilt historian. Interim Director, Bib & Tucker Sew-Op. 

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Ph.D., Samford University. Superintendent, Florence City Schools.  

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Artist and activist. Founder, Tiny Pricks Project and Interwoven Stories.

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This program is supported by funding provided by the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area. This project is also supported by the Alabama Humanities Alliance, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the Alabama Humanities Alliance or the National Endowment for the Humanities. Event partners also include the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and Alabama Chanin. All ticket sales go to 501(c)(3) certified Project Threadways.

Ways to contribute