Aida Balafkan (2018 Cohort)


Aida Balafkan

My research: My research is about textiles and weaving in an Azeri minority community in Georgia. In the past, throughout the Caucasus nearly every woman wove rugs. Mothers would teach their daughters and pass on the knowledge and skills acquired by previous generations. Each generation ensured that practices and skills required for weaving and producing textiles were passed on to the next generation. However, many have stopped weaving after the introduction of cheap, machine-made rugs and textiles.

Despite the drop in the numbers of women weaving in the region, some women continue the weaving traditions. Each textile narrates multiple complex stories. This research is concerned with these narratives. My aim is to observe why and how some women continue weaving. The research seeks to understand the way these textiles negotiate relationships between weavers and their families and communities. Furthermore, the textiles highlight an alternative way of acquiring knowledge. Learning to weave is more than simply producing textiles. It involves learning about the environment, culture, and how one makes sense of life. The weaving practices, the relationships that are produced and/or maintained, and memories passed on from one generation to another offer an alternative way of learning about life.

Supervisors: Dr Orkideh Behrouzan and Professor Paul Basu

Location: SOAS Anthropology

Pathway: Anthropology