Image Credit: Cathy Crawford

What is your most cherished piece of clothing? What stories does it hold, and how do you care for it? Artist and fashion scholar Kate Sekules leads a few lucky patrons through a process of storytelling and visible mending, giving new life to beloved garments in need of repair. This interactive experience brings the themes of Conserving Active Matter to a human scale through storytelling, demonstration, and dialogue with curator Soon Kai Poh and Ann Coppinger, senior conservator at the Museum at FIT.


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Additional Events:
June 8, 2022 at 6 pm with Sarah Scaturro

Meet the Speakers

Kate Sekules is a PhD candidate at Bard Graduate Center. She researches mending cultures and related fields. She has lectured on the history, methodologies, and contexts of textile repair at institutions including Parsons, New York University (NYU), Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and Tufts, and taught mending workshops at Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Winterthur Museum, and the Textile Arts Center in New York, among many others. She is a board member of the Ethical Fashion Forum, UK, and sits on the advisory council of the New Standard Institute in New York. Sekules holds an MA in costume studies from NYU. Her book, MEND! A Refashioning Manual and Manifesto, was published by Penguin in fall 2020.

Soon Kai Poh is a recent graduate of the dual MA/MS program in the History of Art and the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works at the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, specializing in objects conservation with a particular interest in Asian and Near-Eastern works of art. He has completed internships and worked on projects in the conservation labs of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As part of his graduate training, he worked on-site at New York University’s Excavations at Aphrodisias in Turkey, and participated in multiple conservation projects at Villa La Pietra, New York University’s academic center in Florence, Italy.

His professional interests include the interpretive and technological implications of material culture arising from trans-geographical interactions, theory and practice in conservation, and in sharing the privilege of participating in the histories of objects with others. At Bard Graduate Center, he will continue to explore these multi-variate interests through the Conservation as a Human Science Fellowship, particularly in reconsidering the relationship between the conservator and the objects under their care, as definitions of the (former and) latter continue to shift and broaden.

Ann Coppinger has directed the conservation department of the Museum at FIT for more than fifteen years and has overseen its reorganization. She has worked diligently to advance the role of conservation in the museum and throughout the college community. Coppinger holds an MA in museum studies with a specialty in costume and textile conservation from FIT. She was the 2001–02 NEA Master Apprentice at the Textile Conservation Workshop in South Salem, NY, where she continued as a staff conservator for four years. Coppinger currently teaches a graduate course on collections care of costumes in the costume studies program of NYU’s Steinhart School, as well as an online short course on the care of textiles for the Northern States Conservation Center. Prior to taking her museum studies degree, she worked for 22 years in the fashion industry in New York City. She holds additional degrees in fashion design and patternmaking from FIT as well as a BS in marketing from Saint John’s University.