Diversity and inclusion at EYF 2019


This time next week I’ll be travelling up to Scotland for my first Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

Initially I hadn’t planned on visiting the show but a couple of opportunities arose which made it a good excuse to combine these meetings with seeing some of our non knitting friends. (As for who I’m meeting, can’t say, sorry!) Plus going to EYF meant I could basically drool my way around the Corn Exchange at a fibre event which started after Sam and I relocated to the south coast. What I hadn’t envisaged was being asked to be part of a panel discussion on  Diversity and Inclusion taking place on Sunday the final day.

Those of you already aware of the current conversations about racism and the lack of diversity in the knitting community will know that this was arranged to replace the scheduled speaker, Kate Davies who unfortunately had to withdraw due to ill health. I’m sorry that she won’t be speaking and I genuinely wish her well.

The discussion about racism in knitting is both difficult and uncomfortable. It takes many of us out of our comfort zones and forces us to look within and examine how we humans behave towards each other. Or at least that’s what it should be doing. If we as BIPOC (Black & Indigenous People Of Colour) / POC are to see ourselves represented in the fibre community we need to be able to have open, honest and respectful conversations about the racism within it. Ones where BIPOC  / POC can share their experiences and non BIPOC / POC listen, learn and work with us to move forward.

When I posted on Instagram that I was taking part in this panel I saw a comment that referred to ‘waves of aggression’. Perhaps it’s due to my age but I really don’t do aggression, I like to be measured in my responses and thoughtful with my words. So when I take part in this discussion on Sunday along with Cecilia Nelson @creativceci, Aimee Gille of @labienaimee and Sophia Cai @sophiatron I’m hoping to hear voices from knitters of all colour; black, brown, white and every other combination. EYF are making this a ticketed event with priority going to BIPOC / POC but it can’t be a ‘one sided’ conversation if we want to make the fibre community one that reflects and respects us all.

If you’re coming on Sunday, already have tickets for the Make:Wool event and are interested in attending you can find out more information on the talk here 

As I mentioned doing this really takes me out of my comfort zone but I feel this topic is far too important for me not to be part of this discussion. I’m looking forward to meeting up with people I’ve only previously spoken with on Instagram so if you see me and want to say hi, then do!

J x

12 thoughts on “Diversity and inclusion at EYF 2019

  1. Thank you so much for accepting this important role. I’m gutted that my flight home is that morning. I’m hoping there will be a video or that someone will report on it for those who can’t be there.

    Have a wonderful time at the festival. I’m counting the days!

    1. Thanks Kay!

      I do feel the weight of expectation but I’ll always do my best to try and help. I know they’re trying to sort out the recording or streaming of it but not sure how far they’ve got. Have a great time!

  2. Janet Wagner

    I’ll be interested in hearing about the event. In the meantime, tTin Can Knits recently posted a link to Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremecy workbook. I’d be interested in your thoughts on that as well (as if you have all the time in the world 🙃)

    1. I’ll let you know in a post when I’m back. I’ve been meaning to read Layla Saad’s workbook, yes I’m really busy but in those spare hours will let you know when I get around to it!

  3. liz n.

    Reblogged this on Make A Thing and commented:
    It’s an uncomfortable and often painful discussion for all of us, but conversation on racism and inclusion within the fiber community is important.

  4. Nina

    have you heard any update on whether they will eventually post the panel on Youtube or something? I was not even at EYF, but I am interested in seeing it.

    1. Hi Nina
      Since the show they’ve had the videographer working on the video for release and I only got to see it last night. It should hopefully be available to view on Vimeo next week but keep an eye on the EYF website and IG feed for details.

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