Women’s Identity, Textiles and Heritage: Coastal Style in Mozambique (WITH Coastal Style)

Project Description

Women’s Identity, Textiles and Heritage: Coastal Style in Mozambique (WITH Coastal Style) will record and promote women’s identities and concerns linked to marine heritage in Katembe District, Maputo, Mozambique. Historically, marine heritage has been dominated by male stories, while women’s lives have been marginalized in representations populated by assumed-to-be male-dominated activities, such as fishing, shipbuilding, sailing, and trading. This project will address this by researching and disseminating the history and contemporary relevance of an iconic object that is ubiquitous in coastal women’s lives, the capulana, a mass-produced printed cloth that has become a symbol of Mozambican heritage. Capulana are preserved and passed from one generation to the next, their designs reflect women’s concerns, and they are part of the Indian Ocean trade network, being designed in Mozambique, made in India, and shipped back for sale. Capulana collections are archives of women’s Mozambican marine heritage.

Women’s heritage is a global developmental issue. United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 aims to ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’. Furthermore, heritage is a developmental issue for Katembe, where the construction of the largest suspension bridge in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to cause massive population growth, putting community cohesion at risk from urban expansion. This project will promote women’s heritage as a developmental resource, which can contribute toward social justice, education, and identity in the face of these social upheavals.

The project will produce three main public outputs: a photographic exhibition at the Fortress Museum, a mobile community exhibition in Katembe led by the Fisheries Museum, and museum educational resources. To ensure that these activities are brought into larger developmental conversations, policy makers and influencers from government and third sector organizations will participate in the project start-up meeting, the closing workshop and the exhibition openings.


Location: Kenya

PI: Sarah Worden (National Museums Scotland)

Co-Is: Valda Marcos (The Fisheries Museum), Moises Timba (The Fortress Museum), John Giblin (National Museums Scotland)

Partners: National Museums Scotland, The Fisheries Museum, Mozambique, The Fortress Museum, Mozambique

Size: Medium


Women’s Identity, Textiles and Heritage (WITH): Coastal Style in Mozambique