In Conversation with Cissy Serrao

Thursday 6 May, 9.00 - 10.15

How can ethnographic and world cultures museums use their collections and galleries as spaces which create active discussion around the impact of humans on the planet, while also highlighting what long-term perspectives can tell us about sustainability for developing positive futures? The project TAKING CARE explores the connections between ethnographic collections and questions regarding the climate crisis, the Anthropocene and issues related to the afterlives of colonialism.

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In the fourth week of the 'Matters of Care: Museum Futures in Times of Planetary Precarity' conference series, we talk with Cissy Serrao, founder of Poakalani & Company, Hawai'i. Cissy and her family have been creating Hawaiian quilts for many generations. In conversation with Jeremy Uden and Misa Tamura, she shares her thoughts with us on the cultural significance and symbolism of quilting in Hawaiian culture, why the patterns and tradition are so important to keep alive, and how she teaches this exciting and beautiful art.

'The Art of Hawaiian Quilting'

Cissy Serrao is the founder of Poakalani & Company, a quilting guild and school in Honolulu, Hawai'i, established in 1988 by Cissy's parents, Poakalani and John Serrao. Her parent's philiosophy in creating this guild was to preserve and appreciate the cultural heritage of Hawai'i.

Photo of Cissy Serrao











Jeremy Uden is Head of Conservation at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. He is interested in research into materials and construction techniques using non-destructive scientific techniques. He is also currently conducting research into pesticide residues on museum objects and whether these residues potentially have an impact on human health. 

Jeremy Uden conserving an object








Misa Tamura is a Senior Conservator on the Talking Threads textile research project at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. She is also Chair of the Institute of Conservation Ethnography working group.

Photo of Misa Tamura
Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union