Staff employed at University of Copenhagen – University of Copenhagen

Jane Anne Malcolm-Davies

Jane Anne Malcolm-Davies

Associate Professor

Since my Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellowship here at the Centre for Textile Research (CTR), University of Copenhagen, I have been part-time project team member in THREAD (the Textile Hub for Refugee Empowerment, Employment and Entrepreneurship Advancement in Denmark). This is a pioneering scheme supported by the Danish government's Innovation Fund, which promotes "Grand Solutions" to key challenges in today's society. The project is built around a textile craft and culture network drawn from the CTR's contacts in archaeology, history, handicrafts, fashion, and philology to build on collaborative partnerships with other orgnisations both academic and commercial. It aims to demonstrate how a dynamic network can provide opportunities for refugees - who bring potential rather than problems to Denmark - to build new lives for themselves.

My Knitting in Early Modern Europe (KEME) research project continues to focus on the 100+ knitted caps which I studied in museum collections worldwide. Despite their diverse locations, they have remarkable similarities in their materials and manufacture. The main outcome has been a themed issue of the Archaelogical Textiles Review (no 60), which proposes and tests the first protocol for the scientific reporting of evidence for knitting. Visit my online database to see most of the knitted caps reported in detail and for a full list of my publications. I have also pioneered the use of citizen science in textile research with an experimental archaeology project investigating the effects of fulling on different fleece types.

I now plan to take advantage of cutting-edge scientific study techniques (including radiocarbon dating, scanning electron microscopic examination, x-radiography, DNA analysis and proteomics) to discover new knowledge about these remarkable survivals of ordinary men's dress. I am seeking collaborators and co-authors with access to labs where these analyses can be carried out to demonstrate the potential for learning from the "re-excavation" of material with doubtful provenance which has been long-buried in museum stores. The aim is to report negative as well as positive results to show the limitations of these techniques alongside revelations which bring exciting new stories to light.

Fields of interest

I have designed and/or developed relational databases (including the online costume resource www.tudoreffigies.co.uk and two in-house facilities for researching images of 16th century children’s dress and interrogating references to dress in 16th century British wills and inventories). Results drawn from these databases are published in Textiles and text: re-establishing the link between archival and object-based research (2007), The Tudor Child: clothing and culture 1485 to 1625 (2013), and The Typical Tudor (forthcoming - see below).

Before coming to Copenhagen, I was a heritage interpretation consultant running my own business, JMD&Co,and lecturer in business management and research methods. My doctoral research established a reliable method for measuring the effectiveness of front-of-house presentation at heritage sites. My methodology had immediate commercial application and I established a consultancy to provide benchmarking services for major heritage organisations such as Historic Scotland. It has since been used to allocate scarce resources at World Heritage Sites such as Edinburgh Castle, the Roman Baths in Bath, and Skara Brae, part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.

I was a postdoctoral research fellow at Aalto University in Helsinki, the University of the Highlands & Islands (Centre for Interpretation Studies) and the University of Southampton (Textile Conservation Centre). I lectured in entrepreneurship and leisure management at the University of Surrey (to August 2014), introduced costumed interpreters at Hampton Court Palace (1992 to 2004), and coordinated training for the front-of-house team at Buckingham Palace each summer (2000 to 2010).

I am also co-director of The Tudor Tailor, which researches and retails publications and products aimed at improving reproduction historical dress for pedagogical projects. Since 2005, my co-director Ninya Mikhaila and I have built a collaborative team of dress historians with whom we publish books on the reconstruction of 16th century dress. Our next book The Typical Tudor will draw on my knitting research to provide instructions for making everyday garments. These will build on patterns for boys’ headwear and babies' knitwear available in The Tudor ChildI was co-author and editor of The Tudor Tailor: reconstructing sixteenth century dress (2006), a pioneering book which brings together the social history of dress and instructions for making early modern garments based on primary sources. It has sold more than 10,000 copies worldwide.

I have a postgraduate diploma in law (2012) and have volunteered for Citizens Advice in the UK for several years providing support for clients who cannot afford professional legal advice and campaigning for changes to social policy which affect the disadvantaged.

I was a keynote speaker at Malmö University's Public Medievalism conference (2018) in Sweden and Colonial Williamsburg’s conference A Reconstructed Visitable Past in Virginia, United States (2011), giving two papers on the challenges of reconstructing historic dress for visitor experiences at historic sites. In 2002, I organised and chaired a prestigious study day at the V&A Museum, London in association with The Costume Society of Great Britain to complement the controversial Men in Skirts exhibition. I also published a commentary on the exhibition in Fashion Theory (2003).

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Knitting virtual tribes together: new audiences for cultural objects

    Malcolm-Davies, J. A., 2018, In : IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering. 364, 012031, p. 1-9 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  2. Published

    Sticks, stones, fingers and bones: nurturing knitting and the other neglected non-wovens: Guest editorial

    Malcolm-Davies, J. A., 2018, In : Archaeological Textiles Review. 60, p. 3-9 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  3. Published

    Unravelling the confusions: Defining concepts to record archaeological and historical evidence for knitting

    Malcolm-Davies, J. A., Gilbert, R. & Lervad, S., 2018, In : Archaeological Textiles Review. 60, p. 10-24 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  4. Published

    ‘Silk’ Hats from a Sheep’s Back: how 16th century craftspeople created legal luxuries

    Malcolm-Davies, J. A., 2018, Archaeological textiles - links between past and present, NESAT XIII: Archaeolingua. Bravermanová, M., Březinová, H. & Malcolm-Davies, J. (eds.). Liberec: Archaeolingua Alapitvany, Budapest., Vol. 34. p. 187-195 & 339 10 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

  5. Published

    Shedding light with science: the potential for 21st century studies of 16th century knitting

    Malcolm-Davies, J. A., 2017, In : Journal of Dress History. 1, p. 83-91 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Selected activities

  1. KU Summer School: Textile and Fashion in Theory and Practice through 3.000 years

    Marie Riegels Melchior (Organizer), Marie Louise Bech Nosch (Organizer), Eva Birgitta Andersson Strand (Organizer), Jane Anne Malcolm-Davies (Organizer)
    1 Aug 201714 Aug 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation of and participation in conference

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