World Footwear Conference

On the 20th & 21st March 2013, Northampton Museum & Art Gallery and The University of Northampton held a World Footwear Conference exploring the significance of shoes, encouraging discussion and debate by academics and keynote speakers from around the world. Martina, our intern from Austria went to the conference and this is what she thought:

Image from Northampton Museum & Art Gallery’s world footwear collection

Image from Northampton Museum & Art Gallery’s world footwear collection

“I was impressed by the wide range of topics which could be coved during these 2 days of the World Footwear Conference 2013! From monosandalism in ancient Greek mythology and art (Sue Blundell), to the significance of the development of the trainer brands Adidas and Puma during the Nazi regime (Thomas Turner). Even a shoe fashion amateur like me could get a lot out of this Conference and allowed me to get to know fields of science I didn’t know existed, such as Ellen Sampsons research addressing the relationship between footwear, the body and memory. Here I learned about theories of a reciprocal dialogue between the wearer and the shoe and the particular embodied attachment that has yet to be explored.

Image from Northampton Museum & Art Gallery’s trainer collection

Image from Northampton Museum & Art Gallery’s trainer collection

The World Footwear conference gathered Footwear specialists, artist and scientists from all around the globe. It was interesting to also see young students actively involved, questioning and asking questions to respected speakers which they would normally only read about in their lectures. Maybe one of the talented juniors will be able to give a definite answer to Rebecca Shawcross’ question: Is the single shoe in need of its pair?”

Image: Tom Hackett 2013
Image: Tom Hackett 2013

Did you attend the World Footwear Conference? What were your thoughts?