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Black Style

Creators:Tulloch, Carol

Black Style’is a dialogue on dress and textiles associated with the African diaspora. It looks at different parts of the region, West Africa, Jamaica, the United States and Britain. The book filled a gap in this under-researched area of study where the main concentration has been on parts of Africa and African-America. A primary aim was to highlight the connections and unique qualities of the different cultural groups of the diaspora.

The book supported the exhibition 'Black British Style’. It expanded on the latter’s aim to present a visual discussion on the internal cultural exchange of garments and political or cultural empathy within the African diaspora. The publication provides a broader picture of what has driven particular style influences within the diaspora, and underwrites their desirability by other groups.

An overriding issue, which emerged alongside that of identity and place in the contributory chapters, was the quest for respect, dignity and self-worth. In the process of editing the book issues and ideas sited informed the exhibition, and vice versa. Together they highlighted the social and political complexities that have helped to shape the identities of black men, women and children, and the cultural influences such as music, performance and design on their lives and dress practices.

The national and international response to the book reiterated the above. Overall the consensus is that this form of study is long overdue. Its publication led to invitations to speak at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2004); The British Council’s ‘Interaction Networking Event on Cultural Heritage’, Livingstone, Zambia (2005); South African Fashion Week Seminars, Johannesburg (2006), and explanation of my research practice to Ph.D candidates at De Montfort University, Leicester (2006).

Type of Research:Book
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Carol Tulloch

Carol Tulloch is TrAIN Senior Research Fellow in Black Visual Culture, based at Chelsea College of Art and Design and the Victoria and Albert Museum. A dress historian and graduate from the joint V&A and Royal College of Art Masters in Design History programme (1995-97), at which she won The Basil Taylor Travel Bursary, Carol Tulloch has written about and curated numerous exhibitions on dress and the African diaspora, and was Curator of the Archives and Museum of Black Heritage Project (AMBH). She has previously been awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Board Small Research Grant and has been a member of the Fashion and Modernity Research Forum at Central Saint Martins College of Art (1999-2000).
In 2004/05, she co-curated the highly acclaimed 'Black British Style' touring exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum and edited the accompanying book 'Black Style' - the first exhibition in the UK to explore the style and fashion of black people in Britain and their impact on British culture over the past 50 years. She is currently researching her forthcoming book, 'The Birth of Cool - Dress Culture of the African Diaspora' - an investigation of the profound influence Black style has had on the history of dress in the twentieth century (due May 2008, Palgrave Macmillan).
Current Research - Statement
"My current research is the book 'The Birth of Cool: The Culture of Dress in the African Diaspora'. This is a self-authored work which is the culmination of a number of years study around the relevance of dress to the development of black identities in different parts of the African diaspora. The research for the book formed much of the ideas for the recent V&A national touring exhibition 'Black British Style', which was curated by Shaun Cole and myself, and the accompanying book 'Black Style' edited by me. Birth of Cool presents a series of case studies of individuals and groups from either Britain, Jamaica or North America to illustrate how their dressed selves express their sense of selves within the society they inhabit."

My current research continues with the telling of selves through the dressed black body, which has progressed through the inclusion of narrative studies. This line of inquiry has shifted to understand how individuals negotiate this within diverse contexts-locally, nationally or internationally. Therefore my work has begun to include other groups with similar experience, and/or cultural collaboration, with people of the African diaspora in order to develop a dialogue in the telling and place of individuals and groups. This has partly developed out of the AHRC funded 'Dress and the African Diaspora Network' I co-ordinated over the past two years. Material and visual culture remain central to this investigation, but I now make use of a wider range of media beyond my usual focus of garments, accessories and photography. Exploration of this is being conducted through writing and curating.
Key Projects
Principle Investigator for the 'Dress and the African Diaspora Network' which is part of the AHRC initiative Diasporas, Migrations and Identity: Research Networks and Workshops Scheme. It provides a series of forums where established and new researchers discuss the consumption, production, collection and display of dress, textiles and beauty regimes. The primary aim is to provide a forum for debate in order to identify new directions of study, and to create information resources for scholars in the field.

Publisher/Broadcaster/Company:V&A Publication: London
Your affiliations with UAL:Colleges > Camberwell College of Arts
Colleges > Chelsea College of Art and Design
Related Websites:http://www.vam.ac.uk/activ_events/community/black_heritage/bbs/index.html, http://www.amazon.com/dp/1851774246?tag=isbndb-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1851774246&adid=0ZRRY2ASCA07R32FCKN2&
ID Code:800
Deposited By:Carol Tulloch
Deposited On:07 Dec 2009 12:57
Last Modified:22 Feb 2011 16:08
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