Maja Gunn, new Professor of Textiles: “Crafts and textiles are part of a larger social context”

27 April 2022

The designer, researcher, artist and curator Maja Gunn is a new Professor of Crafts with a focus on Textiles.

Photo: Patrick Miller

She is also a professor at HDK-Valand at the University of Gothenburg, and her professional activities include work in the fields of crafts, art, fashion and costume for theatre and film, among others. Maja Gunn holds a Master's degree in Textiles from Konstfack, another in Fashion Studies from Stockholm University, and a PhD in Design from the Swedish School of Textiles.

"With critical perspectives, curiosity and interest in the contemporary and the historical, together with knowledge of both large-scale artistic productions and small-scale craft production, I hope, in dialogue with my colleagues, to lead the education in a direction that highlights textile crafts in both a Swedish and international context. The ambition is to give students the opportunity to develop and provide the students with the tools for a professional life as craftspersons and artistic practitioners," says Maja Gunn, who has broad and deep knowledge and interest in textile materials and their associated techniques.

"I also see textiles and crafts as part of a larger social context. In that context, norm-critical perspectives can be shared, sustainability issues can be spotlighted and discussed, and the relationship between the body and the textile materials can gain a broader significance and understanding. In short, there is a lot about my approach to my professorial role that will benefit the students," she says.

In her artistic practice, Maja is interested in the body and bodily experiences, identity politics and collective organisation, performativity and stagings, language and materiality, histories and power structures. She has mounted solo exhibitions at, among others, the Textile Museum, Museum in Borås, Museum Anna Nordlander, Norrbottens Museum, and Steneby Konsthall, and has participated in group exhibitions at the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design (ArkDes), Färgfabriken, the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, USA.

Maja Gunn's research ranges from the exploration of body and performativity (mainly in relation to textiles) from artistic perspectives, to the designed living environment. This also includes the development of artistic methods and their uses. Queer feminist theory and norm-critical perspectives have characterised several of her research projects.

Maja is currently working on a multidisciplinary research project on the design living environment, funded by Formas, Public Art Agency Sweden, the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, he Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design (ArkDes) and the Swedish National Heritage Board. In May, the Göteborg Opera will premiere the dance work Astronaut, for which Maja Gunn is the costume designer, and this summer she will participate in a group exhibition at the Fresno Art Museum in California, USA.

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