Project Threadways records, studies, and explores the history of the textile industry in The Shoals community, and the American South.
Our goal is to accurately and respectfully retell the story of textiles—from farm to finished product—and the way the act of making textiles shaped the lives of the communities and the individuals of those communities. In partnership with the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area and the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, we collect oral histories, analyze and publish data, and stage events that serve as centers for conversation, exploring the connection between community and the evolving region through the lens of material culture.
We’ve developed a survey to help us reach a wider audience and gather more information about the demographics of the workforce within the textile industry. If you worked in the textile industry in our region, or know someone who did, we invite you to fill out our survey.
VISION AND VALUES
We envision a healthier future in which textiles are an integral part of growing communities and where material culture can be a source of reconciliation and communal growth.
1. We tell untold stories.
a. Each community has its own stories that are part of a larger, unexplored picture. We seek to celebrate both of these cultures by asking questions that may never have been asked before.
b. We are committed to honesty. Not all stories are comfortable or easy to hear—but their relevancy remains central to the overall picture. We cannot tell a complete story without facing truths of all kinds.
c. Each story comes from an individual who is part of a community. We vow to respect the individual histories we document, both good and bad.
d. We intend to use each story and all data collected to tell the larger story of textile culture in the South, as it truly was.
2. We seek to collaborate.
a. We will work with organizations who have similar goals and visions and who have relevant information toward our project.
b. We will reach out to all academic organizations to find the most accurate resources available to us in our studies.
c. We do not limit our community by physical boundary. Those who have stories or information to share that is relevant to our study are welcome to the conversation.
3. We have no agenda but to tell the truth.
a. We are proud of our region but are well aware of the pain that surrounds the research we are undertaking. It is our responsibility to tell all truths, not just the convenient ones.
b. We seek to partner with all like organizations that can advance our research, provided they offer objective research.
c. We are creating a product that is intended for public consumption. To the best of our ability, we intend to be transparent in our methods and our data. This project is meant to document a community and should be open to that same community’s examination.
d. We do not seek to press an agenda upon the data we collect or the stories we document. Project Threadways will follow where the data leads us.
4. We are committed to responsible and sustainable practices.
a. Because Alabama Chanin is a key participant in this undertaking, we aim to lend our practices of responsible making to our research and study. This includes utilizing fair and unbiased research methods and responsible environmental procedures.