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Kelly Thompson

Professor, Fibres and Material Practices, Studio Arts

Kelly Thompson

Kelly Thompson has lived and worked in California, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. This mobile and nomadic life informs her research as an artist involved in contemporary fibres/textiles as an expanded field within in art discourses. Before joining Concordia in early 2009, she was head of the textiles program at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK and spent a decade as a senior lecturer and program manager at the Otago School of Art, in Dunedin, New Zealand.  She has a BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts and a MA Visual Arts, from the Canberra School of Art, Australian National University.

Over the past 25 years her work has explored aspects of family and personal narratives, travel and material culture read through postcolonial theory, textile practices as signifiers of place and identity and notions of visual touch, signs, order, mapping, surface and structure relationships in objects and installations. Recent interests include translation and language, site and traces, migration, mobility and textiles as part of broader cultural, geopolitical and environmental contexts.  Her artistic practice is achieved through intersections of digital imagining and material engagement with traditional weave and fibres construction, print, dye and electronic jacquard weave technologies.

Her artworks have been exhibited in curated and juried exhibitions in Canada, USA, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand.  Her work is in public collections in the Australian National Gallery, Canberra, The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, and in New Zealand and Indonesia, along with numerous private collections internationally.


BFA          California College of Arts and Crafts, 1984
MA           (Visual Arts) CSA, Australian National University, 1994

Areas of expertise

Fibre materials, structures, digital and analog weave, including computer-assisted jacquard, print and dye processes, hand construction skills.

Kelly Thompson , from the "Here, there everywhere" series 2011-12 and "Orientation" 2010
Parallax: Landscapes in Translation, FoFA Galley 2014
Photo credit: Guy LHeureux

Research interests

Areas of Expertise

fibre materials, structures, digital and analog weave, includingcomputer-assisted jacquard, print and dye processes, hand construction skills.


Research Projects

Material Codes: Ephemeral Traces is a three-year research-creation project funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC)

The project engages a methodology of contemporary fine arts production, critiques and enquiry in an exploration of thematics that marry the digitally implicit with the materially expressive. Material Codes: Ephemeral Traces visually explores the relationship between digital data, scale, trustworthiness and fallibility thorough the medium of woven textiles, while also investigating mutual benefits of closer connections between fine arts textile practices and industrial production methods and promoting multiple creative collaborations.

Material Codes: Ephemeral Traces includes mentorship and community-building through the creation of a research working group and subsequent international symposium of students, artists and scholars; and outreach to industry. Link

Teaching activities

Recent Courses Taught

FBRS240: Fibre Structures I

FBRS385a: Issues in Material Practices:Transformative Cloth
FBRS 397: Special Topic. Wool and Sustainable Making
FBRS 341: Intermediate Fibre Structures
FBRS480: Advanced Fibres
FBRS 611/613 MFA Studio Seminar: Fibres and Material Practices Studio
DISP 615  (MFA - summer Directed Independent Studio Project)

Recent exhibitions

Vanish/Survive Vilnius, Lithuania (satellite exhibition to Kaunas Biennial TEXTILE'11,
VI Bienal Internacional de Arte Textil Contemporåneo - Aire  (VI International World Textile Art Biennial Of Contemporary Textile Art -Aire) - held in Xalapa and Mexico City 2011
Fiberart International 2010 Pittsburgh, touring to Rochester University Gallery, 2011 Fibreworks 2010 Cambridge Galleries Fibres Biennial, Ontario, Canada 2010, tattered cultures:mended histories, curated international exhibition of contemporary fiber art, at the Academy Art Center, Honolulu, Hawaii 2008  Global Intrique - Tradition and Innovation 3rd European Triennial Textile and Fibre Art, Riga, Latvia, 2007

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