This year’s International Visual Literacy Association Conference theme, Engaging the Senses, sought to revisit the original definition of visual literacy. A multidisciplinary field, visual literacy refers to the “vision competencies a human being can develop by seeing and at the same time having and integrating other sensory experiences.”

From its keynote speakers, workshops and art exhibitions, the conference asked how might visual literacy “also become a field of multi-sensory and/or inter-sensory investigation?”

Engaging the Senses through Textiles and Materiality Research-Creation was one such exhibition. Taking place at the Museum of Fine Art in Montreal and featuring eight Textiles & Materiality cluster artists, the multi-venue exhibition focused on themes of material fluency and material translation that enhance visual and sensory literacy.

“For many in the cluster, this exhibition was a fantastic opportunity to showcase their work in both an international forum as well as at a renowned Montreal art institution. Many fruitful discussions were had with visitors from outside of Canada, who were here for the conference, and who had interesting connections to make. Some of those new connections have now gone beyond the conference to have an ongoing cross-cultural exchange.”  Textiles and Materiality member, WhiteFeather Hunter

The exhibition featured digital jacquard weaving, digital and hand embroidery, digital printing and a soundscape installation.

Participating artists: Sophie Borowska, Mary Jo Daines, WhiteFeather Hunter, Ryth Kesselring, Lea Schwarz, Nicole Macoretta, Geneviève Moisan, Nicholas Shulman, Kelly Thompson, and Kathleen Vaughan.

The IVLA 48th Annual Conference was hosted by the Concordia Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture in collaboration with the Department of Art Education, the Department of Design and Computation Arts, and the Centre for Sensory Studies from October 5-8, 2016.