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The Critical Writing Open Award

The Textile Society is committed to supporting and developing critical writing within the broad field of textiles.

The Society's Critical Writing Open Award of up to £1,000 is given for a piece of outstanding critical writing on any aspect of textiles and dress, including history.

The Award is open to all writers. The selected paper is published in the Textile Society journal TEXT.

If you would like to see examples of past winners, please click on the past winners tab.



Lynn Setterington


Lynn Setterington

Lynn Setterington is a very experienced practitioner, lecturer and researcher. Her research interests explore the ‘hidden histories’ of craft through stitch and the communities that surround them.

Her paper focuses on a hand stitched textile in the collection of Robin Hood’s Bay Museum in North Yorkshire. It was conceived as a collaborative fund raiser in 1936 and it uncovers the life of woman who was central to her community, forgotten through time, except for this embroidered cloth. Lynn’s fluid, well balanced narrative raises numerous questions about the textile, which heightens the curiosity of the reader using a variety of relevant references. Lynn’s expertise as a practitioner offers detailed analysis as it reconstructs the history behind the piece. The essay has a personal individual feel behind the research which is placed within an ethnographic framework and supported by her own visual source material.

Catherine Howard


Catherine Howard

Catherine Howard uses a very engaging, well-balanced, rhythmical writing technique to explore her reaction to doing research.

Using a rich vocabulary, every word is well chosen, she captures the familiar excitement of doing object-centred research and what happened when she first opened a box to explore an unknown collection of ribbons. The nature of archives is explored using a short historical introduction which works well to focus on what follows. Ribbon development is clearly understood, as is the origin of the silk trade. It is brought up-to-date with references to Covid 19. A delight to read!