Dr Keireine Canavan PhD MDes MA RCA BA (hons)


Screen-shot-2011-06-21-at-15.31.27-e1308666720431-150x100.pnge: kcanavan@cardiffmet.ac.uk
t: 02920 416634/7
w: alsaduweaving.wordpress.com

Specialist Subject Areas

Educator, researcher and cultural expert, specialising in endangered tribal woven textiles & semiotics

Traditional & digital constructed textile design for fashion, interiors and exhibition; Digital Textile surface decoration and design for fashion, interiors and exhibition; Traditional tribal weaving techniques and textiles, specifically;
• Al-Sadu ground loom weavers, Kuwait and Gulf countries, Middle East: semiotic codes of the sharjarah technique and gata textiles;
• Iban Dayak warp ikat backstrap loom weaving, Malay-Indonesia;
• Patola weavers of Patan, NW Gujarat, India;

Middle East: woven camel trappings and decoration;
Museum textile collection advisor – National Museum Collection Centre, Scotland, Sadu House: Kuwait National Museum, Kuwait, & National Museum of Qatar, Middle East;
Applications of textiles as products & business studies.


Al-Sadu Research Associate     Sadu House Museum, Kuwait, Middle East


Dr Keireine Canavan is currently Head of Textiles and Principal Lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University UK, and is responsible for all textile undergraduate and postgraduate awards, including PhD level. She is Research Fellow to Al-Sadu Weaving Society, Kuwait ME, and is a founder member and Project Director of Material Matters Textile Research Group (formerly DIGIT) and a member of the International Super-research Group, WIRAD.

As educator and world specialist in traditional tribal weaving techniques, Canavan has published her research ‘Dayak to Digital: Traditional ikat for contemporary patterned knitted textiles’ (McFarlane Award 2003) and recently, ‘Material symbols of traditional weavings of Kuwait’ (Textile: the journal of cloth and culture – Bloomsbury/ Berg 2013). She lectures regularly at conference and public speaking events; Dar al-Athar al-Islamyyiah Cultural Centre in Kuwait, Cardiff Metropolitan University Summer Lecture Season Cardiff, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) London, and Victoria & Albert Museum, London. She exhibits her practice work nationally and internationally. Her passion for researching endangered and declining ancient textile techniques has taken her to Borneo and the Far East, India, Kuwait and the Gulf region, and most recently, Morocco.

Since Canavan’s nine-month sabbatical research in Kuwait (2009/10), she has considered the Bedouin al-Sadu weaving patterns and traditional symbolism at Sadu House, Kuwait National Museum, Kuwait and National Museums Collection Centre Scotland, Edinburgh UK (2011). As an experienced global cultural consultant, Canavan advises on sustainable cultural heritage projects for BBC World Radio and Al-Sadu House: National Museum of Kuwait (current), Al-Ahmadi Cultural Centre Project, Kuwait (current), National Museum of Qatar (2012), Samayal Industrial Training Centre in Oman (2012), and National Museum Collection Centre, Scotland, UK (2011).

Canavan returns to Kuwait and the Gulf Region regularly, where she resides part of each year, since 2004.

Current research

Canavan is currently engaged in her research project, Al-Sadu: Historical traditions and future prospects, and working on associated woven traditions in the Arabian Gulf region, including camel trapping decorations, with cross-comparison studies in Fez, Morocco.

Research collaboration with Dr Ali Alnajadah PAAET (Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, Kuwait) has resulted in recent peer-reviewed publications in English and Arabic. Drs Canavan and Alnajadah will continue their collation of data for a co-edited book publication during a forthcoming twelve-month sabbatical, when Dr Alnajadah visits Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2014/15. Supported by EU-Metalic Scholarship, Canavan will complete a one month comparison study in Fez, Morocco before 2016.

Continued collaboration with Cardiff Metropolitan University (Textile Dept.), PAEET (Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, Kuwait), AUK (American University of Kuwait), and Zeri Crafts (Textile Design Company Kuwait), involves innovation and contemporary applications to guide and perpetuate traditional al-Sadu weaving in the twenty-first century, with undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Canavan is currently acting ambassador for Sadu House: Kuwait National Museum and Al-Sadu Weaving Society Research Fellow, and delivers a continuous lecture series in the UK and Middle East. She is the international adviser and traditional Al-Sadu textile expert at the National Museum of Qatar and National Museums Collection Centre, Scotland.

Principal Publications, Exhibitions and Awards

• WIRAD/ Material Matters Cardiff Metropolitan University -WIRAD Lecture Series: Traditional Tribal Textiles and Techniques. March 2014
• BBC World Service: World Have Your Say. Consultant contribution to BBC World Service Language Roadshow: Cardiff with Nuala Mcgovern & Jason Mohammed BBC Wales. Bute Town Arts & History Centre. 27 Feb 2014 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03wg0by
• Costume & Textile Society. Traditional Tribal Weaving Techniques and Textiles. St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff.
• Mohammad, A., Littlewood, J., Canavan, K., Carey, P., Mediterranean Green Energy Forum. University Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah, Fez, Morocco. Design Philosophy of the Traditional Kuwaiti House. 16-20 June 2014
• Canavan, K., Alnajadah, A. Textiles: The Journal of Cloth and Culture (Berg) Bloomsbury Pubs. Material symbols of traditional weavings of Kuwait. Issue Vol 11, No 2, London. July 2013. ISSN: 1475-9756. Online ISSN: 1751-8350 (link)
• WIRAD/ DIGIT Symposium No 3. 2013: Material Matters. Camel Trappings and Tassels. Cardiff Metropolitan University. June 2013
• Camel Conference @ SOAS 2013: Camel ornamentation & the humble tassel. School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) London. 29-30 Apr 2013
• Camel Cultures of the World: Research Papers. The association between Bedouin Al-Sadu weaving and the camel. SOAS Publications, London. 2013. ISBN: 978-0-906305-14-0
• WEFT World Eco-Fibre Textile: Endangered Textile Traditions Seminar UNESCO/ World Craft Council: Al-Sadu Textiles from Kuwait: lost meanings and future prospects. School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) London. 18-19 Jan 2013
• Al Akhawayn University, Morocco. Lecture: Concepts of Community across Cultures. Al Akhawayan University, Ifrane, Morocco. Nov 2012
• WIRAD/ DIGIT Symposium No 2. 2012. The Semiology of Traditional Weaving in the Middle East. Cardiff Metropolitan University. July 2012
• Zericraft Gulf Handicrafts Exhibition: Gulf Handicrafts: new interpretations, new horizons. Sadu House, Kuwait. May 2012
• The National United Arab Emirates: Zeri Craft’s mission to preserve Bedouin handicrafts. M. Harkins. UAE. Mar 2012
• Glamorgan Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers. Cardiff UK. Feb 2012.
• WIRAD Cardiff Metropolitan University -WIRAD Lecture Series: Unwritten Narratives of Bedouin Women Weavers of the Arabian Gulf. Nov 2011.
• Goldsmith’s London University: ‘Material Matters’ Seminar: Materialising Symbols – Lost Voices. Oct 2011
• WIRAD/DIGIT Symposium No 1. Research Poster Presentation: Research poster presentations by K. Canavan & A. Alnajadah, C. Treadaway, S,Grant. June 2011
• Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah Lecture Season 16: Weaving in the Arabian Gulf: Historical traditions and future prospects. Apr 2011.
• Sinclaire (Prof), R., Textiles and Fashion: materials, design and technology. Canavan, K., Chapter 22. Applications of textile products. Woodhead Publications, London. 2011.
• Gulf Conference: Aspirations and Challenges in the Gulf Conference. University of Exeter. 2011.
• Kuwait Textile Arts Association: Camel Trappings and Contemporary Textiles. Apr 2011.
• Camel Conference SOAS: AlSadu Trappings, Decoration & the Dromedary. May 2011
• Oral History Society Conference V&A Museum: The Language of Al Sadu. July 2010
• Material Matters: DIGIT Joint textile research exhibition with C. Treadaway, P. Lawrence, H.Watkins. Howard Gardens Gallery. Oct 2010.
• The National United Arab Emerates: House & Home. Article. July 2010
• UWIC Summer Lecture Series: The Language of Bedouin AlSadu Weaving. June 2010
• Kuwait Textile Arts Association: Discovered Through Translation: Gata. Mar 2010.
• American University of Kuwait Communication & Language of Textiles. (Nov) 2009
• Roy, Chaitali B. Textiles Speak Louder than Words. Arab Times. 17 Nov 2009
• Canavan, K. Dayak 2 Digital – Traditional Ikat for Contemporary Knitted Textiles. Heriot-Watt University. MacFarlane Prize. 2003


• EU-Metalic Scholarship: Research Travel Bursary Award. £2,500. Morocco 2014-16
• Strategic Insight Programme. Awarded Morocco, SIST University, Casablanca and British Council. 2013
• National Museum of Qatar: Travel Bursary Award. 2011
• Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah Lecture Season 16 Travel Bursary Award. £3,000 . Kuwait Mar 2011
• Strategic Insight Programme £2,500. Awarded National Scottish Museum Collection, Edinburgh. 2011
• Al Sadu Weaving Society Research Fellowship. Awarded 2010
• 9 Month Extended Research Leave Sabbatical £10,000: To investigate the traditional AlSadu weaving techniques of Kuwait and to document traditional and modern patterns with associated symbolism, in order to preserve awareness of the declining artform. Sadu House Kuwait, Middle East. 2009 – 2010
• Al Sadu Museum Travel Bursary £500. June 2010
• DIGIT – Textile Research Group. Project Director. Collaborating with UW Newport
• WIRAD Super Research Group. Design Enhanced Human Futures. Thematic research super group of international standing. Collaboration with UWN. Awarded RAE Strategic Support Initiative Fund £10.5K. 2007- ongoing
• Material Matters Joint exhibition. Howard Garden’s Gallery, Cardiff Metropolitan University (UWIC), Cardiff. Oct 2010.
• Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah Kids: The Al-Sabah Collection. AlSadu Textiles. Apr 2010
• Kuwait University The Student Experience. Graphic Liberal Arts Department. 2009
• HEFCW Research Fund £4,500. Indian Patola Weavers, Patan, N/W India 2008
• Contemporary Textiles. Joint exhibition. Wales Millennium Centre. Jan-Mar 2007

Enterprise Projects and/or Industrial links

• International Greetings – consultation modular project and two industrial work placements. 2014
• Festive UK– consultation modular project and industrial field visits 2013
• Melin Tregwynt – student design project and industrial consultation 2012
• IKEA. Annual modular project and public exhibition at IKEA Wales, Cardiff. 2004 – 2011
• Laura Ashley Foundation Maintenance Bursary – application
• IKEA Kuwait. Student exhibition. 2010
• Laura Ashley Foundation Equipment Bursary £150,000. Textile Department – equipment and student support grant (New Designers, London). 2007-10
• ZERI Kuwait £1,000 Student design project/ competition/ work placement in Kuwait (10 days) and production in India/ Laos/ UK. 2010
• UWIC Management Banner Project £1,000 Student design project. 2011
• Gilbert & Cheyne, London. Annual consultancy 2011- 2004. Student design work taken to Textile trade fairs in France and Germany. 2011

Supervision of Doctoral Research (titles or broad areas of investigation)

PhD Supervisor: Mohammad Alhazim. Design philosophy of traditional Kuwaiti house. (current).
PhD External Examiner: Carol Banks.  Achieving visual narration using photochromic dyes on a textile substrate in the style of French Impressionist films. Heriot Watt University 2011.
PhD External Examiner:  Musaed M. Alberhairi. Using the traditional textile ‘Sadu’ as an element of the ancient traditions & representing it in the development of the concept of visual culture in Kuwait. University of Wales Newport. 2010.
PhD Co-Supervisor/ Internal Examiner: Cathy Treadaway. Digital Imaging Technology on the Creative Practice of Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design. Cardiff School of Art & Design. UWIC. Completed Jan 2006.
MPhil Consultant/ Co-Supervisor: Heather Prosser.  Llangorse Textile Cardiff University.  2006.
PhD External Examiner: Norwani Md. Nawawi.  Investigating Patterns, Motifs and the Reproduction Techniques of Ikat Limar. Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.  Completed Nov. 2005.