Dr Gail Baxter
She is currently a Research Fellow at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) Lace Archive, where she is collaborating with colleagues from the Science department to research the introduction of colour to Nottingham lace.
Previous Research Fellowships at NTU have focussed on the social and economic impact of Nottingham lace production (2018-20) and educational pedagogy in the training of Nottingham lace designers in the first half of the 20th century (2016).
Gail completed her PhD, Re-viewing lace in archives: Connecting the lacunae, in 2015 (University of Brighton/UCA). Her research was undertaken using the lace collection at the Birmingham Museums and Art Galleries and the copyright registers at the International Centre for Lace and Fashion, Calais.
Dr Gail Baxter is a researcher and textile practitioner specialising in lace and the interpretation of archival material. She is particularly interested in the social issues which can be raised through contemporary interpretations of historic materials.
Her research into ‘coffin lace’ in archaeological excavations of the burial vaults at Christ Church, Spitalfields, led her to archaeological context codes and a world of normally hidden specialist knowledge: one in which the reading of trace impressions and deconstruction of layers of information were essential skills. She repurposed the archaeological codes to direct her practice, in the form of identity specific lace, and to debate the importance of physical and moral codes in everyday life.
Gail researched and curated ‘Lost in Lace: Concealed and Revealed’, an exhibition of historic lace at Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, which focussed on the untold connections and social histories within the museum’s lace collection.
As Research Fellow in the Nottingham Trent University (NTU) Lace Archive her research has focused on the evolution of the education of lace designers and the hidden hands at work behind machine-made lace. She is currently collaborating with colleagues from the NTU Science department in researching the introduction of colour to Nottingham lace.
Her practice is rooted in the traditions of lace, in the broadest sense of the term, and how these techniques can be used to address contemporary issues. In 2019 her work, using historic netting techniques, was presented at a conference at Kherson University, Ukraine. This practice and paper focussed on the insidious pervasiveness of hidden plastic in daily life. In the same year she was part of an international, selected, exhibition at The Factory, Djupavik, Iceland.
Research Outputs and Activities:
Published ORCID: 0000-0002-1607-099X
2020 - Briggs-Goode, A. & Baxter, G. ‘The Archived Lace Body: Contemporary artist designer responses’ Crafting Anatomies. London: Bloomsbury
2019 - ‘Hidden Hands and Missing Persons’ Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture. Taylor & Francis. TEXTILE 18 (1), 39-52
2019 - Coles, R: Briggs-Goode, A, & Baxter, G. ‘Principles & Pilfering: Nottingham Lace Design Pedagogy’ Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture. Taylor & Francis. TEXTILE 18 (1), 12-23
2011 - 'Lost in Lace: Concealed and Revealed' - Essay in: Millar, L. (ed.) Lost in Lace: Transparent Boundaries. Birmingham: Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery
Selected Conference Papers/Presentations:
2020 - ‘Pedagogy and Practice: Copying to learn and learning to copy’ Drawing the threads symposium, Nottingham Trent University
2019 - 'Exploring the issues of plastic pollution through creative practice’ Kherson University, Ukraine
2018 - ‘Nottingham Lace: A story of connecting threads’ at ‘Shadow Writing (Lace/Variations)’ Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham
2017 - ‘Business Archives: Looking beyond the profit and loss account’ Nottingham Contemporary
2016 - ‘Plain net: A much embellished story’ Limerick, Ireland
2014 - 'Reading between the lines' at 'Lace and the Museum' National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
2014 - 'Knowledge transfer in lace design' Crysalis Project, Ronse, Belgium
2019 - International Open Exhibition: The Factory, Djupavik, Iceland
2018 - Living Lace: World Lace Congress, Bruges
2016 - Interpretation: Valtopina, Perugia, Italy
2013-14 - Beauty is the First Test: NCCD Sleaford, Bilston Craft Gallery Wolverhampton, Platform Gallery Clitheroe, National Craft Gallery Kilkenny Ireland
Gail has a wide spectrum of research interests relating to lace heritage and the interpretation of a broad range of archival sources from other subject areas. She is particularly interested in how industrial, technical, educational, social and economic aspects of archives and heritage techniques can be made relevant to modern audiences. Gail works with students, researchers, designers and industry specialists to uncover the, often unexpected, potential of archival material.
- Current UCA research student – Georgina Pierce