Artist | Researcher
My name is Iris Tsang, I am a textile artist and independent researcher for fashion, cultural theory and disability studies. I work with diverse communities to co-design effective inclusive art education programmes that empower communities and individuals by respectful story telling. My work focuses on identity, wellbeing, material and memory. My research intersect fields of cultural, fashion and disability studies. I work with installations and objects, with fabric, embroidery, weaving and natural dyes. My works have been exhibited in Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Netherlands, France and the UK.
I operate in a wide range of research work - from material culture, heritage crafts, fashioning identity, access to cultural sites, art as therapeutic tools. I have researched with disabled people, LGBTQ+ community, migrant and displaced people, as well as ethnic minorities.
Artist Residency and Cultural & Craft Heritage Research (2015-2019
Supported by multiple art funds, I conducted a series of field research on local crafts and artisan communities to enrich my creative practice.
The one-month artist residency at Icelandic Textile Centre at Blönduós, Iceland, focuses on preservation and cultural identity development through heritage crafts. The field trip investigated topics including historical natural influences in textile practices, culture heritage evolution of fish Tanning and icelandic wool through creative industries, and the intertwined cultural influences of language, oral history and textile practices. The residency also included artist knowledge exchange and open studio.
Supported by the Professor Mayching Kao Fine Arts Fund, the two-month artist residency at Kemijärvi Artist Residence, Arctic Circle, focuses on Sami cultural heritage, tradition of Finns traditional costumes and crafts, pedagogy of cultural identity through craft. The trip enabled me to interview local artisans and visit a craft lesson in the local school. During the residency, I further investigates the evolution of cultural heritage conservation models in the changing face of creative industry and livelihoods, as well as the climate crisis caused extinction of natural crafts and related language.
The Miao tribe textile research trip took place in Shidong, Kaili, Guizhou Province in China. The field trip enabled visits and exchanges between local artisans, designers, collectors and heritage conservators, to unpack traditional Miao values that underlined their fascinating crafts, and particularly its place in the world today. The research highlighted the enormous richness of Miap heritage craftsmanship in silversmith, indigo dye and embroidery; observation of artisan communities network of trade and knowledge exchange through Sunday markets; decoding the Miao mythology through embroidery motifs; and examine the entrepreneurship and heritage preservation model of Women’s school of heritage craft.
Through the artist residency at METALAB/ RETICULAR at St. Etienne, France, I was introduced to the historical silk industry at Lyon. Costume and material studies were arranged through fashion and loom museum visits. Islands of Reminiscence, a reflective solo exhibition took place at the end of the residency. Through interactions with audiences, art acted as an universal language of a woman’s life experience
During the IMAGO International Artist Residency, at Tsarimir, Bulgaria, I was introduced to cultural
experiences, traditional crafts and the Kukeri culture by local artisans. The research examined fluidity and intersections of cultural identity, through histories and memories in a reconstructed political lens. The artist residency ends with a group exhibition, TRANSITIONS, at Sofia, Bulgaria.
The textile field trip at Jaipur, India, consisted of a series of textile museum visits, block printing workshops and local textile communities visits at Bagru. It was a priceless experience to understand the intergenerational ecosystem of wisdom and craftsmanship networks of block making, block printing, dyeing, washing and drying of textile.
'Who is Not in the Room': Representation and Experience of the Disabled Bodies in Museums Fashion Exhibitions
This study discusses how museums curate and represent disabled bodies, and how disabled people experience in museum exhibitions, to discuss appropriate narratives and representation of disabled people in fashion exhibition.
SURGE: Art x ART - LGBTQ+ Communities & Fertility CarE
UAL’s Post-Grad Community, in collaboration with Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences (WEISS), have launched SURGE II: a project bringing together scientists, artists, and the public to explore the complexities and application of technology in surgery.
This study partnered with researcher and UCL PhD candidate Chloe He in examining the meaning of family, family-building in the context of fertility care with a group of 6 participants with diverse sexual orientation.
Tapestry of Home: Weaving Past, Present, Future
This study is a collaboration with curator Ellen Wong, Kingston University MA Curating alumni, on a participatory textile art project - Tapestry of Home. Tapestry of Home explores concepts of home-making and fabrication of memory, identity and community between new Hong Kong migrant communities and residents with diverse heritage in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, in order to understand social integration challenges and possibilities.
Collaborative textile artwork exhibited in 'In Motion: Your Stories' exhibition in Kingston Museum, 30th September 2022 to 11th March 2023.