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Human Threads: Welsh quilts exhibition

Ceredigion Museum receives Art Fund grant for Human Threads: Welsh quilts exhibition

The Art Fund’s ‘Respond and Reimagine’ grant will help create a state-of-the-art digital quilt for a show stopping quilt exhibition to welcome visitors back to Ceredigion Museum when it reopens. The quilt will be the first exhibit to be available digitally for visitors unable to come to the museum in person.

Carrie Canham, Curator, said “The museum is delighted to receive the grant. The digital quilt will record the experiences of the people of Ceredigion during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will also give us an opportunity to consult with communities about how we can best serve them going forward, as we learn to live with measures to control the infection rate.”

The museum will be creating two quilts for the exhibition, one physical and one digital. Contributors to the digital quilt have been asked to send in photos, sound pieces, films, poems or drawings to make the digital quilt, with an explanation of why they have sent their contribution, what it means to them and the story it tells. An artist will work with communities currently underrepresented in the museum to make sure their voices are heard too.

Rose Thorn sent photos of a quilt to go within the digital quilt. She said “This design has layers of personal meaning for me: The central triangle marks the colonial slave trade which is part of my ancestral heritage. The Black Lives Matter movement...stirred up many black people’s experiences of racism here in the UK.  I went on the march in Cardigan with my partner, Marie Lewis; 150 people attended, which was heartening but a lot has to change… the period of lockdown has put me deeply in touch with living in the present, my past and thinking about how I want to live in the future.”


Considering the values we feel we may want to leave in the past and those we want to take into our new future will be part of the exhibition process by asking questions of participants and visitors and facilitating discussions between different communities.

The museum is still collecting contributions to both quilts, the deadline for the physical quilt patches is the 2nd of October and the deadline for the digital quilt is 27th November. The museum wants the quilt to reflect a broad range of experiences, positive and challenging, across Ceredigion - from those working on the front line to those working at home, to those embracing new skills, from parents turned home-school teachers to the older generations adopting online get-togethers and young people partying online. You can send your voices, videos, photographs, poetry, drawings, soundscapes, songs etc. to carrie.canham@ceredigion.gov.uk

Art Fund’s Respond and Reimagine grants offer flexible and responsive funding designed to meet immediate challenges connected to the Covid-19 crisis and reimagine future ways of working. In the first round, 18 grants were given, from a total of 114 applications. Developed in consultation with museums and galleries, the grants meet needs in four priority areas of collections, audiences, digital, and workforce. They may also cover costs to support reopening, as well as encouraging creative and innovative projects as organisations look to reopen with fundamentally different operating models. Respond and Reimagine Grants will provide £1.5m in 2020 to support museums, galleries, historic houses, libraries and archives, and non-venue-based visual arts organisations, and is part of Art Fund’s £2m package of funding to support museums through crisis. The deadline for the next round of Respond & Reimagine grants is 17 August 2020, and a final round will take place in the autumn.