Cities and Historic Textile Complexes: Typology, Good Practice, and Global Perspectives for Conservation
23-25 April, Berlin, Germany
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Dr. Heike Oevermann (Georg Simmel Center, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany) in cooperation with TICCH
Textile Section, Mark Watson (Historic Environment Scotland), and Prof. Bartosz M. Walczak (Łódź University of
April 24, 2020. Venue: Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Mohrenstr. 10117 Berlin-Mitte, Germany
April 23, 2020: site visit to Forst, Lausitz, Brandenburg with INIK
April 25, 2020: optional guided tour: Deutsches Technikmuseum and Gleisdreick area in Berlin
The textile sector led industrialisation and urbanisation in Europe. Textile entrepreneurs introduced big mill
complexes to urban contexts, applied steam power to spinning and weaving, and established a global trade network
of transport, skills, knowledge, and power. Textile industries consequently changed urban spatial structures of many
European cities. Mill complexes and their infrastructure (canals for power and transport, railways, warehouses etc)
form local parts of a historic urban landscape representing global chains of production. This textile heritage
comprises tangible buildings, artefacts with transcultural dimensions, and aspects of intangible living heritage.
Three questions arise for research:
1) How to identify, and value the historic urban landscape of the textile industry; does the TICCIH typology1
properly cover industrial types as urban spatial structures? What are the historic urban spatial and built
forms of textile mills in cities?
2) What constitutes good practice in conservation and enhancement when transforming mill complexes,
cityscapes and these urban spatial structures? How are the conservation and enhancement of these
historic urban spatial structures handled in practice?
3) Global, transcultural, and living heritage: What are the relationships between textile heritage sites in
Europe and the world; and among the people involved in textile production? How might we critically
reflect, conserve, and use the various meanings, knowledge, and global networks embedded in local
heritage sites? Might we gain insight into other meanings and values—besides technological and
architectural values—of this shared heritage? What do we share when conserving textile heritage sites?
The expert meeting in Berlin will discuss historic mill complexes in towns and cities, aiming to identify an urban
industrial typology to describe and value these complexes, and good practice criteria for orientation in conversion processes. A typology is understood as an instrument of analysis used in thematic studies by TICCIH and in other
classification systems, in inventories and heritage conservation. It focuses on the scales of mill complexes, their spatial
composition, the configuration of different building types connected to communities in urban settings.
Call for participation for the meeting with 25-30 persons
The organisers invite researchers and practitioners in textile mill heritage to contribute to the expert meeting. Please
send an abstract (not more than 350 words) and short CV to email@example.com to apply to join this
meeting. Places are limited so some submitted themes may be suggested as more suitable for the follow-through big
meeting in Lodz, Poland, in the Spring of 2021 that will finalise the TICCIH comparative study.
Submission deadline: September 20, 2019
Feedback will be communicated by the end of October 2019.
The meeting charges no fees but travel and accommodation expenses are not covered.
Pre-announcement: TICCIH scientific conference in April 2021, in Łódź, Poland.
There is the opportunity to join the follow-up TICCIH scientific conference which takes part in April 2021, in Łódź,
Poland. A publication of the TICCIH comparative study, incorporating much of the knowledge gained at earlier
meetings of the Textile special interest group in TICCIH, is projected to then be presented at the TICCIH Congress in
Montreal in September 2021.