Since January 2019 there’s been a vital conversation on social media about racism, representation, inclusion and diversity within the online crafting community.
The urgent need for change has been revealed through this discussion — change that must be led by BIPOC makers.
What is BIPOC in Fiber?
BIPOC in Fiber is a website and resource portal. It's mission is to amplify and celebrate the work of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour working in the fibre Industry.
The website will
- enable BIPOC working in the fibre industry to find and see one another
- enable event planners and publications to be more intentional
- feature a beautiful, easily navigable directory celebrating BIPOC working with fibre
- pool resources and articles designed to improve access to opportunities for BIPOC working with fibre
BIPOC in Fiber is the idea of Britain’s most prominent black knitwear designer, Jeanette Sloan. Jeanette and her team need your help to develop this project and its aims to the next level.
What's the history of BIPOC in Fiber?
Long before the recent online discussion began, Jeanette was exploring issues of race and representation through her own social media platform and through articles like "Black People Do Knit", written for Knitting Magazine.
Putting out calls across social media asking the online crafting communities to contribute names of designers and makers of colour, Jeanette heard that all non-white ethnic groups felt invisible and underrepresented. She also learnt that institutional barriers and the bias of social media algorithms meant that many BIPOC makers were not getting exposure or representation at fibre events or in fibre publications.
This prompted her to create the POC Designers & Crafters List on her Wordpress blog — a practical list designed to raise the profiles of BIPOC makers working in the fibre industry.
This list went some way towards counteracting those problems and has quickly become an essential resource that is leading change. It is influencing how major fibre events are curated and organised and its existence enables BIPOC crafters to find and see one another. It helps event planners and festival organisers to be intentional when planning marketplaces and booking speakers and teachers... and it stands as a brilliant and joyful reminder of just how diverse our sector is. Jeanette’s work on compiling and sharing the list is already promoting greater diversity and inclusion in our fibre communities.
With your help and support, the list could do much, much more.
More than a list…
BIPOC in Fiber needs funds to expand the capacity and capability of the POC Designers & Crafters List so it can be much more than a list
- The new directory will be searchable by name, location and craft type
- Listings will be visually appealing with photographs and lengthier descriptions of individuals and their work, modeled on the idea of a gallery or showcase
- The website will publish monthly in-depth BIPOC in Fiber Profiles featuring beautiful photographs and written interviews
- We will also produce empowering learning resources designed to enable further paid opportunities within the industry for BIPOC makers
What we'll do with your backing
Fairly compensate BIPOC creators for making and maintaining this vital community resource, for example:
- Pay Alyson her fee for the development of the website and directory
- Pay Lorna Hamilton-Brown for producing the project logo and working on the branding
- Compensate Jeanette for interviewing and writing in-depth BIPOC in Fiber Profiles
- Pay BIPOC photographers to shoot images for BIPOC in Fiber Profiles
- Compensate Jeanette and Alyson for their time contacting BIPOC and growing the directory
- Pay Indiana Hamilton-Brown for the use of the track Refresh in the video for this campaign
- Pay the amazing BIPOC working with fibre who have produced some of our fantastic rewards
- ICO data protection fee and GDPR compliance and safeguards to protect BIPOC listed on the site
- Research and develop learning resources
- Ongoing maintenance and hosting costs associated with running the website
- Rewards for our lovely backers (that's you!)
Funds raised here will ensure that Jeanette’s project continues to grow in the same spirit as her original list—a project by and for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour working with fibre, with the aim of working towards a more inclusive and representative industry.
What your support means
By supporting BIPOC in Fiber, you are:
- supporting BIPOC leadership
- helping fund a resource for everyone
- ensuring BIPOC are fairly compensated for working towards a more inclusive fibre industry
- contributing towards the creation of a project which will have a lasting and beneficial impact on our whole industry
- agreeing to follow our Code of Conduct
The key goal of this Crowdfunder is to raise funds for BIPOC-led, industry-wide change. BIPOC in Fiber are producing a range of rewards to commemorate your commitment to, and support of, that change. Thanks to Leila Bux at The Urban Purl, Lola Johnson of Third Vault Yarns, and Suraya Hossain of Mahliqa, for each agreeing to produce rewards for the higher levels of individual backing for this project.
In celebration of the fibres which connect our shared passions - knitting, crocheting, weaving, etc. - our tiers are named after different weights of yarn. Please note, for rewards involving actual yarn, the names of the funding tiers bear no relation to the actual weight of the yarn being supplied; please read the fine print carefully to avoid confusion!
A note to Business backers
To reiterate what we said earlier: this year has seen the online crafting community reckoning with issues around racism, bigotry and privilege. These are immensely complex problems which must be dismantled in multiple ways and through a wide range of different approaches.
We strongly believe that the visibility and profile of BIPOC in working in the fibre industry can be increased through intentionally inclusive curation and planning processes: that is the central remit of this project. However, to avoid tokenism, we believe these actions must be contextualised by other strategic work towards inclusion and diversity. Your support for this Crowdfunder is enormously appreciated; you are helping to fund this project and to ensure it remains BIPOC-led. However, this support does not preclude your organisation from supporting other BIPOC-led projects, or from working towards inclusion and diversity in other ways.
Please understand that BIPOC in Fiber reserve the right to reject backing from business entities whose policies or behaviour are not in alignment with our Code of Conduct.
If you are unsure about anything please reach out to our team at [email protected] so we can go over your concerns. Thank you for your support and for enabling us to work towards making this industry as diverse as the community it serves.
A number of you have reached out to ask whether we can accept payment through alternative means. We really appreciate your wish to support the project! However, unfortunately, we cannot accept payment through any other means. You can back our project using all major international credit/debit cards, but not through AmEx or PayPal. If your pledge is not going through, please try contacting your bank, as it most likely that your payment is being blocked by them. Thank you for your understanding and your wish to help this project reach its goal.