Peterborough Together: The Fabric of Society

A new exhibition at Peterborough Museum seeks to explore themes of immigration and integration through traditional textile pieces created by over 14 local women from various communities in the city.

Opened on 15th October, ‘The Fabric of Society’ project, which is funded by Arts Council England, brings together local women from across Peterborough who have met regularly over the last three months to create, weave and sew individual and collective pieces from their own traditional fabrics and using techniques from their individual cultures. This has been brought together in an autumn exhibition at the Museum.

The project celebrates the vibrant diversity of Peterborough and the way communities have integrated over the years. The artwork explores the different journeys of immigration and integration, both physical and emotional, that the participants have experienced throughout their lives.

Nationalities already represented in the Fabric of Society project include Lithuania, Portugal, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, England and Angola. The women involved also take the time to eat together during their meet-ups, with each member bringing traditional foods from their communities.

Sheena Carman, Arts Programme Manager at Vivacity, spoke about what drove the exhibition’s creation: “The use of sewing techniques is an integral source of pride for so many cultures and communities around the world. Our Fabric of Society exhibition seeks to show how proud we are to have so many of these different cultures and communities present in Peterborough; bringing them together to meet, share and create.

“It is the women involved in this exhibition who have really driven it with their creativity and collaboration. They’ve come together to share not only their culture’s art forms, but also their own unique stories of immigration and integration; their traditions and their food. We can’t wait to see how this exhibition continues to grow and flourish with the contribution of the public and other communities across Peterborough.”

Safia was born in Pakistan but has lived in Peterborough for seven years. Speaking about what she hoped people would take away from the exhibition she said: “How everything is united and everyone has come together; sharing the things they love and their techniques and traditions. There is an atmosphere of unity, friendship and love that we hope people will feel.”

The artwork is set to grow over the coming weeks, with a number of opportunities to contribute through different workshops as well as a community piece of artwork being created by visitors. New communities are also being invited to contribute once the exhibition is open.

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