Call for Papers

Costume Society Symposium 2014 in Exeter – Rites of Passage


The 2014 Symposium takes place in the historic city of Exeter with a visit to the costume collection at its newly refurbished home in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum with Saturday lectures taking place at the XFi building in Exeter University and a Sunday visit to the renowned costume collection at Killerton.

 The Symposium theme is Rites of Passage in the context of life in Britain. While this includes reference to traditional clothing for important life events: christening clothes, first communion, bridal gowns, veils and trousseaux, and mourning dress, other events such as coming of age and clothing marking key milestones such as breeching and debutante dress will be explored.


1. Edwina Ehrman, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Wedding Dress at the V & A

2. Joanna Hashagen, The Bowes Museum,Lucile, the Bride and the Titanic

3. Professor Lou Taylor, University of Brighton,a new approach to studies of mourning dress

Papers on any aspect or period of clothing in this context would be welcomed. Personal or literary accounts, sartorial milestones, the cult of personality and studies of single surviving garments associated with well known figures, royal dress; the design, making, supply, marketing and fashion journalism; and the consumption of dress for significant occasions or times of life. The theme is fairly wide ranging and offers many possibilities for papers. These could include:

• Wedding lace

• Layette or trousseaux

• High Street and couture bridal fashion

• Growing up, teenage fashion, popular culture and dress

• The debutante’s wardrobe

• The Mourning Emporium

• Traditional and regulation wear; rules and etiquette

• Religious practice, and rites of passage

• Budget bride

• Cultural practice and the new born

There is no restriction on period. Papers are solicited that draw on a wide variety of approaches and consider the broadest range of issues.

We welcome interdisciplinary research based on garments and accessories, photography, film, literature, and archives with no date restriction.

 Those wishing to offer papers should submit an abstract of about 200 words in WORD formatwith no formatting.  Please do not put your name on the abstract. Cover page should includetitle of abstract, your name, address, email and telephone number and institutional affiliation,if any. Submissions should be accompanied by a separate short CV.

All submissions must be received by 8th November and will be considered by a committeefrom the Costume Society Executive, headed by the Symposium Academic Co-ordinator,Shelley Tobin, Assistant Curator Costume and Textiles Royal Albert Memorial Museumand Costume Curator, the National Trust.You will be advised of acceptance or otherwise by January 2014.

Papers, with the exception of those by keynote speakers will be of 30 minutes duration withillustrations by PowerPoint.  Non-illustrated papers will only be considered in exceptionalcircumstances.

The Society regrets that it is not possible to pay for expenses in thepreparation and presentation of a paper, or for travel to the Symposium.

Abstracts and CVs should be sent to: SYMPOSIUM@COSTUMESOCIETY@ORG.UK


CFP – Costume Society Symposium, Exeter, 2014

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