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Conference 2024

Beyond the Blockbuster: Exhibiting Fashion Now

Museum of London Docklands and London College of Fashion

30 and 31 May 2024

The increasing prevalence of fashion exhibitions on cultural calendars is undeniable. Growing visitor numbers to these exhibitions indicate that clothing holds an innate fascination to a wide audience, and the potential socio-cultural reach of these events. However, the dazzle of large-scale fashion exhibitions, so-called “blockbuster” spectaculars dedicated to the output and legacy of (often) luxury houses, can obscure urgent conversations about what the display of fashion might be capable of doing, beyond promoting commercial interests.
Held over two days, at Museum of London Docklands and London College of Fashion, the Beyond the Blockbuster: Exhibiting Fashion Now conference will provide a forum for interdisciplinary voices from across curation, conservation, journalism, and design to discuss their research and practice in fashion exhibition-making. Speakers will present evidence of the complexity and potential for cultural change innate to the display of fashion through papers and panels that go behind the veneer of the blockbuster exhibition and explore the development, production, and delivery of a diversity (in scale and theme) of international exhibitions.
Day 1, situated at Museum of London Docklands and site of the current Fashion City exhibition will explore the financial and cultural benefits and challenges of exhibiting fashion, impact on community engagement and representation, and conclude with a reflective roundtable debating the role of fashion exhibitions beyond the institution.
Day 2, held at London College of Fashion’s East Bank campus, will examine the expansive definition of the fashion “object” and innovative curatorial methods, the ethical and social responsibility of fashion exhibitions and collaborative practice, and conclude with a roundtable surveying the symbiotic relationship between designers and collections.


If you have any questions regarding the event or registration, please email the Pasold Director, Dr Bethan Bide at –



Tea and Coffee: 10.00-10.20
Introductions and opening information (10.20-10.30)
Round Table 1: The Fashion Effect: The Sociocultural Impact of Fashion Exhibitions (10.30-11.40)
Shahidha Bari, Christopher Breward, Fiona McKay and Lucie Whitmore
Panel 1: Places and audiences: engaging local communities (11.40-13.00)
Valerie Wilson: Take your partners please: collaboration and partnership building in a museum collection
Shelley Tobin: Staying hyperlocal – collaboration in a rural community: Thirsty for Fashion, circular fashion past and present (2023) and Playing by the rules: Childhood, dress and imagination (2024)
Emma Treleaven: No Time, No Money, No Glitter: Curating a Fashion Exhibition at an Independent Local Museum
Lunch: 13.00-14.00
Panel 2: Commerce vs curation? The value of exhibiting fashion (14.00-15.45)
Matteo Augello and Marta Franceschini: This is not the end of fashion exhibitions
Charlotte Delacour: Iris van Herpen. Sculpting the Senses. Analysis of a potential blockbuster
Alexandra Foxwell: Mediating Methodologies: Examining the Competing Interests of Designers and Curators in Fashion Exhibition-making Practices and Institutional Collection Policies
Jihane Dyer: Looking back at The London Look, twenty years on
Tea and Coffee: 15.44-16.15
Panel 3: Representing identity and addressing stereotypes (16.15-18.00)
Jamie Robinson: Lee Miller: Dressed Puts The Icon as Exhibit Theory into Practice
Jonathan Faiers and Kirsty Hassard: Fashion speaks louder than words: Tartan’s use of fashion as curatorial narrative
Reina Lewis: Fashioning Religion for Exhibition: curating fashion, belief and worldview
Alexis Romano and Jenna Rossi-Camus: Staten Island Mode: Ways of (not) Being a Blockbuster
Evening reception and visit to Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners Shaped Global Style: 18.00-19.30
Visit to Making More Mischief: 10.00-11.20
Panel 4: Missing Links: Reimagining and Reconnecting fashion in the museum (11.20-13.10)
Meg Kobza: Fashioning Georgian Fancy Dress
Carolina Davalli: Exhibiting Fashion Printed Matter and Ephemera at International Library of Fashion Research
Charlotte McReynolds: Ashes to Fashion: Can a Blockbuster Fashion Exhibition Re-Ignite Cultural Memory?
Liz Tregenza and Jana Riedel: Dressing up in the collections? Digital dressing and the future of fashion history
Lunch: 13.10-14.10
Panel 5: Duty of Care: Addressing Ethical and Social Responsibility in Exhibitions (14.10-15.30)
Marta Matera and Hester Mauduit: Healing and Confronting: Fashion Exhibitions and Social Responsibility
Jenny Frances Mearns: Diversifying Stories Through the Curation of the Fashioning Our World Project & Exhibition at the Salisbury Museum
Georgina Ripley: Beyond the Little Black Dress: Reinterpreting the Fashion Exhibition in an Era of Activism
Panel 6: Pass the Mic: Collaborative practice and empowering collections (15.30-16.50)
Marie Helbing: Better together: Process and benefits of exhibiting collaboratively
Michelle Guo: Fashion as Intermedia in Australian Museums
Jeffrey Horsley: Exhibiting Fashion: exhibition-making and curation as a catalyst for advancing museum practices
Tea and Coffee: 16.50-17.20
Round Table 2: Curatorial Continuum: Symbiotic inspiration between fashion collections and the fashion industry (17.20-18.30)
Hannah Beach, Fenella Hitchcock, Andrew Groves and Danielle Sprecher.

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