As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we plan to RE-PURPOSE our conference to an online platform. We are committed to producing an interesting and informative event and are excited to explore a new innovative way to deliver our programme to you. 

The RE-PURPOSED: Reclaiming Past Objects, Knowledge, and Narratives virtual interdisciplinary symposium will go live on Tuesday 19th May 2020. A collection of video presentations will be available for your viewing from 9am Tuesday 19th May 2020 until 9am Tuesday 26th May 2020.

We encourage our visitors to participate in our question and answer session which will be open Tuesday 19th, Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st within the comment section of each panel page. The presenters will regularly review this forum and answer any question over this three-day period.

We hope you will enjoy the flexible nature of this interdisciplinary conference and we welcome participation from all our visitors.   


Keynote Speaker

Juli Bolaños-Durman

M.F.A. Glass (Distinction). Edinburgh College of Art. Edinburgh, UK.

B.A. Honors Graphic Design. Veritas University. Costa Rica.


© Miriam Levi, 2019

Emerging Costa Rican Artist & Designer based in Scotland with a background in Graphic Design, mixed-media and recent immersion into the glass material. This specific set of experiences give Juli a fresh and versatile vision when approaching research and the creative process by repurposing found objects and transforming them into precious artefacts that tell a story.

Winner of Jerwood Makers Open 2017, the ELLE DECORATION British Design Awards 2015- ECO DESIGN Category, Awarded Exceptional Talent (Promise) Visa endorsed by the Arts Council UK, Inches Carr Scottish Craft Award 2017, and her work is included in the collection of Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (MUDAC) Collection. Lausanne, CH., Chancellor’s Fellowship Award Commission & the Royal Edinburgh Hospital 2017, UK.

Keynote Abstract

© Shannon Tofts

Through my work, I invite the audience to delve into a magical world of second chances, where waste material is the starting point. I create raw pieces that are put together intuitively through the joyfulness of play, exploring different materials and ideas to challenge the boundaries of art and its meaning. I’m interested in how this visceral bond between the maker and material permeates the creative process, guiding it to become something new. These objects honour the instinctual need to create something with our hands, and how this act of making connects us to our forefathers/foremothers and the future. 

© Shannon Tofts

These came to life by deconstructing discarded glass, reconfiguring the elements through play and embellishing decadent layers of hand-cut details. Bolaños-Durman is known for revitalising waste material by applying various heritage cold-working processes. Her practice is driven by a genuine concern for the amount of rubbish we produce as consumers. This series represents an opportunity to demonstrate both the traditional skills and artistic vision required to breathe new life into discarded objects; creating objets d’art personifying a story of potential. 

© Shannon Tofts

Intellectual Property of ©Juli Bolaños-Durman Studio Edinburgh, UK.

Portrait Photography ©Miriam Levi 2019

Photography ©Shannon Tofts

Proggy Mat Demonstration

The Re-Purposed Symposium will include a craft demonstration by local craftsperson Vivienne Dalgliesh

Vivienne Dalgliesh runs a long-established group called Woodhorn Matters who make traditional Proggy mats, also known as (Clippy mats). Mat making is a traditional craft in its home area, the North East of England. In Northumberland, England’s northernmost county, mat-making goes back at least 150 years. It developed out of need, as mine-workers and farm workers etc. lived in homes where the floors were beaten earth or flagstones. There was no insulation or central heating, so rugs were highly valued as floor coverings and were even put on the bed in cold weather. These mats were developed using re-purposed material, old sacks were a useful source of base material and old clothes were cut up and utilised. Mat making has therefore been associated in the past with poverty, but whilst being traditional, the craft has more recently become recognised as a creative and versatile art form.

 The mats are designed from scratch from free drawn patterns. For traditional mats the group follow the old way of working on a hessian base, usually on a frame, and use recycled textiles. At other times they experiment with a wide range of recycled materials. In addition to mat making they use the same techniques to produce wall hangings, cushions, seat covers, bags, Christmas decorations etc.

The Woodhorn Matters group will be present at the 53rd Northumbrian Gathering, 17 April – 19 April 2020. The Gathering is held every year over the weekend after Easter. It is a festival which celebrates traditional music and culture. It is an exciting three-day annual festival of street entertainment, indoor events, music dance, craft, dialect heritage and traditional fun in the medieval town of Morpeth, 14 miles north of Newcastle. Go along and see the group’s display of rugs and other items using upcycled fabrics. Watch how Proggy, Clippy and needle punch rugs, pictures, cushions, bags and footstools are made using traditional tools and methods. You may try out the techniques and discover a new hobby!

For further information feel free to explore Woodhorn Matters website