A matter of life

The second Advanced Textile Program kicks off on 3 October, this time with eight participants. They will spend the coming weeks experimenting in the lab, supervised by Otobong Nkanga, Stine Find Oster, Michelle Baggerman and the lab team. The overarching theme is ‘A matter of life’.

Even though two extra places were added to the programme this year, that didn’t make the selection process any easier: we received 96 applications from 29 countries. Many excellent candidates had to be rejected, says project leader Michelle Baggerman. Due to the overwhelming number of applications, a multi-stage selection procedure was introduced. After the initial selection, 20 designers and artists were invited for a personal interview. This interview was used to identify the final eight candidates, along with motivation, diversity in discipline and experience, and willingness to collaborate. “The emphasis this year is on experimenting together and learning from each other,” says Baggerman.

Success stories

The strong interest in the programme could be attributed to the success of last year’s participants. Says Baggerman: “Marcos Kueh has won one prize after another, work by Leonie Burkhardt and Jojo Shone is currently on show in the museum in Secrets of Making #3, and I saw Emma Terweduwe presenting beautiful new work at this year’s Salone del Mobile.” They will all be at the kick-off next week and available to share their first-hand experience with the newcomers.

Marcos Kueh in the TextielLab. Photo: Patty van den Elshout / Works of Leonie Burkhardt and Jojo Shone at Secrets of Making #3. Photo: Josefina Eikenaar

Meet the group

This year’s participants are Amy Lewis, Nicky Vollebregt, Maria E André, Tatjana Haupt, Tomoyo Tsurimi, Ida-Simone Brerup, Dominika Gacka and Andia Coral Newton. They all come from different countries and all have their own expertise and style, despite graduating less than three years ago. Baggerman has high expectations of the diverse group that made it through the selection process. She is especially looking forward to the group sessions and hopes that these talents from around the world will inspire and learn from each other in the coming weeks. Artist Otobong Nkanga and Kvadrat’s vice president of design Stine Find Oster will once again challenge the participants to explore new ground, while Thijs van Gasteren will film the creative journey.

What matters

The theme this year is ‘A matter of life’. Baggerman explains: “Think of textiles in all facets of life, but also of the material textiles are made of, or of what matters: what is actually important when working with textiles?” This layered approach perfectly fits the programme’s experimental, open character. A tangible product may result, but that is not the main aim – the focus is on experimentation. Following four weeks of online research and preparation, the group will spend from 30 October to 10 November in the TextielLab doing just that. The lab’s Sample Studio will then become the group’s base for two weeks. The Sample Studio will be closed to the public during the week in that period. However, a small work-in-progress exhibition will be organised here on 4-5 November. Everyone is welcome to come and see what the group has been working on. A couple of the participants will always be on hand to answer questions.

The Sample Studio, where a small work-in-progress exhibition is being organized. Photo: Josefina Eikenaar


After the two-week practical in the lab, the participants will have another three weeks to interpret and document their findings. Where this all leads will become clear in early December, when the participants share the process and its outcomes in a final presentation.

The film made by Thijs van Gasteren about the research journey of last year’s six participants.