Embroidering Protection

Timeframe: 2021-2022
Funder: British Council, Crafting Futures

Dr Özge Subasi at Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey, and Dr Angelika Strohmayer aim to collaboratively craft digitally augmented interactive sister-quilts to explore colonial legacies of women’s safety, focusing primarily on Turkish traditions, techniques, and legacies. We raise awareness of the links between coloniality and women’s safety, and build solidarity among women who may have experienced un-safety. These women are expert embroiderers, contemporary hybrid crafters, and women’s safety advocates in Turkey as well as expert quilters and contemporary e-textile makers in the UK. In an international and cross-cultural collaboration, we facilitate digitally-mediated participatory crafting workshops and work with expert artists to collectively craft two sister-quilts – one’s home will be in Turkey and the other in the UK. These sister-artefacts are a physical manifestation of our shared (un)learning, understanding, and hopes for the future.


Throughout its history, Istanbul has been a physical and metaphoric bridge between East and West; a melting pot of religions, cultures, and craft practices. With this project, we respect this rich cultural heritage while looking towards the potential of novel hybrid crafts for the future; using digitally mediated and augmented practices. The project broadens participant’s horizons, encouraging them to think beyond their own practices, borders, and beyond western ideas of women’s safety and traditional forms of craft. We believe all participants, those in the UK and in Turkey, will benefit from the process and exhibition of the work: they will have their expertise and stories recognized internationally, learn new skills through making with others, and develop an inclusive, virtual community of practice that welcomes marginalised makers.