Linen Biennale Conference Highlights

We would like to extend a warm thank you to our conference speakers and particpants who made this two day event so successful. We would also like to thank our funders:


We learned that Linen is a timeless and truly European fabric. In Northern Ireland it has been a huge historical industry – at its peak 70,000 people were employed in its manufacture on 37,000 looms. But now the incredible versatility of linen is beginning to be recognised again, even after decades in the wilderness at the hands of globalisation. Once again we are seeing its adaptability and value in staggering new ranges of design-led innovations.

The Linen Biennale Conference 2018 expanded new thinking associated with both linen and flax fibre heritage. The Conference stimulated collaboration between industry, trade bodies and academia, with a focus on technology, design and research. Linen may be Ireland’s oldest textile but the current range of artefacts and cutting-edge design mean that it has never been more exciting and relevant. And in a market that is increasingly aware of “slower” and more responsible attitudes to sustainability, linen is a smart choice for the future.

The key note speaker at the conference was Christien Meinsdertsma, a Dutch artist and designer whose investigation of the life of raw materials sees her exploring pre-industrial techniques. Her work has been exhibited in MOMA (New York) and the V&A (London).

Over the packed two day conference we had speakers from France, Poland, The Netherlands, Canada and The United States, lending the biennale a lively cosmopolitan feel. Friendships and new collaborations were formed during the conference dinner and at “Linen Futures: Fashion Showcase” at Belfast’s PRONI.

Linen may have a timeless quality but it is undergoing an astonishing renaissance; we are seeing countless opportunities and possibilities unfolding: its longevity, its durability and its aptitude for practical applications seem almost limitless. Linen, it seems,  is just getting started. Here’s to Linen Biennale 2020!


One thought on “Linen Biennale Conference Highlights

  1. Hello. I have a miniature painting of Fanny Cupples done in 1838. Tag on the back talks about her father Dr. Cupples. I would love to see the songs. Have you seen a picture of her? Would you like to?
    Gene from Canada

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