The Will to Adorn

The Project

What Now, What Next?

Since its launch in 2010, The Will to Adorn project has gained significant momentum. Project partners are documenting and interviewing people, and a beta version of the research protocol Web site continues to be refined. The project has been professionally recognized through research awards and support by the Smithsonian Youth Access Program, the Smithsonian Scholarly Studies Program, the Center for Craft, and Creativity and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. Team members have presented their work at conferences in Indiana, New York, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The project team continues to deepen its research, expand partnerships, and fundraise to support the work shared through the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a major publication, a travelling exhibition, and additional online/social media platforms.

An online conference showcasing the Will to Adorn Youth Access Program will be held in December 2013.

Explore some of the project's themes through a session—“What does clothing communicate?”—that was part of an online conference presented by the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies.

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Januwa Moja, an artist based in Washington, D.C., participates in a lively exchange with Al Haynes, Yemaya Jones, and other U.S. Virgin Islands-based artists, researchers, and exemplars of style about dress and identity on the island of St. Croix. This discussion was organized as part of the Will to Adorn project. Photo by Sally Van de Water, courtesy Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation

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Alfred Street Baptist Church Runway Fashion show, May 12, 2012. Photo by Sharon Farmer, courtesy of National Museum of African American History and Culture