Online Event: Quilts in the Contemporary Imagination

April 19, 2022 7:00 am - 8:30 pm

Book your free online tickets here.

Among the mediums associated with women’s artistic practices, quilting holds a significant place.

Quilts are physical embodiments of our connections to others, they express our personal or cultural histories, and they keep us warm. Whilst traditionally understood as a private, domestic practice, modern and contemporary quilting has forged new relevance as an art form that explores heritage, identity and kinship, among others, to create beautiful objects of value and significance. This online event will explore these new practices with a leading group of contemporary quilt artists, writers and academics.

Speakers: Elaine Yau, Ferren Gipson, Jahnavi Inniss and Jess Bailey

Hosted by Laura Moseley, curatorial assistant on What Lies Beneath: Women, Politics, TextilesIf you have any access or communication needs or requirements, please email

Jess Bailey, also known by the name of her quilt studio Public Library Quilts, is an art historian, writer and quilter from Northern California. Her research has been published by Kritische Berichte and Routledge Press, and she is the author of Many Hands Make a Quilt: Short Histories of Radical Quilting from Common Threads Press. Alongside her academic work, Jess is a prolific quilter, exploring material representations of personal relationships and collective histories through cloth.

Ferren Gispon is an art historian, writer and podcast presenter based in London. Ferren recently authored The Ultimate Art Museum, published by Phaidon in 2022 and hosts the brilliant Art Matters podcast. Ferren is also a doctoral researcher at SOAS, University of London. In Spring 2022, Ferren’s latest book on women textile and ceramic artists will be published by the Quatro Group. Alongside these accomplishments, Ferren is an avid self-taught quilter.

Jahnavi Inniss is a London-based artist, curator and creative practitioner, who recently graduated with a BA in Graphic Communication Design fro Central Saint Martins. Jahnavi’s work includes her award-winning Black British History Quilt, a five-meter-long typographic quilt previously exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery. Jahnavi is also the artist behind the beautifully embroidered cover of Emma Dabiri’s bestselling book What White People Can Do Next from Penguin Books.

Elaine Yau is the Associate Curator of the Eli Leon Living Trust Collection of African American Quilts at the University of California in Berkeley. This collection consists of approximately 3,000 quilts, making it the largest public collection of African American quilts in the world. In 2021, Elaine co-curated Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective, the most comprehensive exhibition of this prolific quilter’s work to date.

Image: Stella Mae Pettway, Big Wheel (1986), Courtesy the Artist and Alison Jacques, London
© Stella Mae Pettway / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London