Collection: NJMR Special Issue - Volume 11, Issue 4

Special Issue Article

Stitching People Together: The Art of Cross-Cultural Encounters in an Embroidery Workshop



This article discusses how to live with differences while maintaining differences in an international embroidery workshop in Tromsø, Norway. It explores the role of art in enabling interactions between strangers, showing how individuals become part of collectives and facilitate social change. This collaboration between artist and researcher draws on data from arts-based participant observations and qualitative interviews. The analysis shows how embroidery practices, materials, and the expression of the embroideries create a space affording integrative encounters between strangers, easing the interaction which neither presupposes nor asks for similarities, or aims for strong interpersonal relations. We find that difference is the material through which encounters are made. The embroidering and the workshop create a space owned by no one with no majorities or minorities, where all possess differences but do not produce “otherness.” Participants remain different, yet connect and transform, while demonstrating the possibilities of impersonal cross-cultural encounters.


ArtsCo-productionDifferencesSimilaritiesEncountersIntegrating interaction
  • Year: 2021
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 4
  • Page/Article: 400–415
  • DOI: 10.33134/njmr.373
  • Submitted on 22 Jul 2020
  • Accepted on 10 Aug 2021
  • Published on 2 Dec 2021
  • Peer Reviewed