Researcher Blog by PhD Candidate Alison Mayne: The Spiritual and Social Benefits of Knitting

About the author

Alison Mayne is a doctoral candidate in the Art & Design Research Centre (ADRC) and a Scotland-based amateur maker in knitting and crochet. Alison’s research focuses on women’s crafting experiences and perceptions of well-being shared through social media and is diverted by what may be learnt through remaking historical dress.

Alison works as an Associate Lecturer in Fashion Theory at Sheffield Hallam University and as tutor in Design and Screen Cultures at the University of Edinburgh.

Alison Mayne’s supervisory team are: Professor Alison Adam (Director of Studies) Dr Eve Stirling (Supervisor) at Sheffield Hallam and Dr Alison Gwilt (Adviser) University of South Australia.

Alison blogs at Newbie Researcher and you can find Alison on Twitter @newbiephd

In the final stages of her PhD, Alison Mayne reflects on being interviewed by journalist Pauline Moore at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March 2018 for BBC Radio Scotland, discussing knitting, crochet and well-being.

I met the lovely Dr Anna Fisk in the first year of my PhD at the 2015 In the Loop conference in Glasgow.  She was reflecting on her thesis exploring knitting and implicit religion and I was bringing my nascent research on knit, crochet and wellbeing to its first ‘big’ audience.  There was lots of interesting overlap and we kept in contact, grateful for the connections that conference networks can bring.

When Dr Fisk asked me if I’d like to contribute to part of a radio programme about religion and well-being, my first reaction was no – as an introvert with imposter anxiety and a protective reluctance for my voice or face to be traceable, it seemed too much.  However, she gently reminded me of the current conversations about the lack of women scholars’ presence in the media and I knew she had me at ‘feminist voices’.

At the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March, journalist Pauline Moore interviewed Anna, one of my research participants – Sarah (happy to be named here) and I as part of her section about what knitting means to makers.  Following vox pops with visitors to the Yarn Festival, Anna speaks of her research on ‘crafting spiritualities’, knitting and implicit religion, while Sarah and I discuss knit, crochet, well-being and making connections through craft on Facebook.

You can listen to the programme here on BBC Radio Scotland ‘Sunday Morning with…’ (from approx. 43 mins)

Image by PhD Candidate Smizz.


Please note: Views expressed are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of SHU, C3RI or the C3RI Impact Blog.

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