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8-10 December 2023

Benaki Museum, 138 Pireos St., Piraeus, Amphitheatre

In 2023 the Hellenic Costume Society completes twenty years of activity in the field of the study of costume. To celebrate this important anniversary, it is organizing the fifth conference in its history on the theme "COSTUME: Research - Museum - Theatre", dedicated to its founder, Ioanna Papantoniou, its first president for 16 consecutive years, who is also a set designer, costume expert and president of the Basil Papantoniou Foundation, in recognition of her tireless work and her contribution to the research, study and promotion of costume as a part of our culture in historical and contemporary times.


The themes of the conference will cover the three main axes of Ioanna Papantoniou's multifaceted activity: the study of local costume, museum collections, exhibitions and interpretations of costume and scenography -&costume in the performing and audio-visual arts.


The aim of the conference is to activate a more systematic conversation between disciplines that study costume, revealing the perspectives it opens up as an object of study, as museum objects and exhibits and as a result of creative interpretation and expression in theatre and cinema.


The language of the conference will be Greek, but presenters from abroad may speak in English. Presentations should not exceed 15 minutes.

Thematic units

1. Costume & research

Progress in the research and study of clothing in the field of material culture has been largely determined by its interdisciplinary approach, utilizing the theoretical approaches and corresponding methodological tools of folklore, ethnography-ethnology, social anthropology, psychology, sociology and other related disciplines.

Ioanna Papantoniou was a pioneer of her time in the study of (not only) Greek costume, approaching its multiple aspects with knowledge, scientific rigour and respect. From 1956 to the mid-1990s, she carried out field research throughout Greece, combining research and recording of the cultural act of "dressing" at the time and place of its performance, taking into account and utilizing the information embedded in the social context. Her contribution to the science of costume is invaluable, and to this day she remains a beneficial presence for the in-depth study of dress.


In light of the above, for our first thematic unit we welcome contributions that delve into practices and methodologies of costume research and may include topics such as:

  • The social dimension of costume: how costume reflects/shapes identities: national, local, gendered, youth or marginalised groups.

  • The political dimension of costume: power, subordination and resistance as expressed through costume.

  • Local costume and fieldwork in the 21st century.

  • Local costume, dance performances and cultural associations: theatrical costume or preservation of local/historical memory?

  • From fashion shows to shops: performance or consumer good?

  • Fashion and the return to our ‘roots’: fashion and national traditions (ethical issues), fashion and art

  • The fashion industry and the environment: recycling and upcycling


2. Costume & Museums

Costume has long been a matter for museums as well, a fact that starts with the recognition that it is a complex object with multiple meanings and contexts, which museums attempt in to integrate into their narratives in various ways. These range from the garment itself, the materials it is made of and the techniques used to manufacture it, to the objects complementary to the garment (shoes, hats, bags, etc.), while there are also those narratives which use the garment as a means of interpretation in the context of cultural representation policies or as a tool for education and experiential approaches.

The work of the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation “B. Papantoniou” (now called the Basil Papantoniou Foundation), which has always been careful to apply museum theory and practice, is a significant contribution to the debate on the promotion of costume research or the showcasing of costume collections by museums. This was proven by the European Museum of the Year Main Award (EMYA), which went to the Foundation in 1981 for the exhibition on“Production, Processing and Application of Natural Textile Fibres in Greece”, as well as byitsactivities in the area of museums in general at that time.


With the aim of mapping the current museum landscape, as well as exploring and reassessing the practice of assembling collections and creating exhibitions on the subject of costume, in the second thematic section we look forward to proposals dealing withissues such as the following from different perspectives:

  • Which items of clothing do we keep and bring to museums, and why? What strategies or ambitions determine what a museum collects and what it discards or ignores? Innovative policies for enriching costume collections in conjunction with the inclusion of immaterial cultural heritage and emerging trends and perspectives in contemporary collecting.

  • Which of a museum's costume collections will be considered for exhibition? How do curators intervene into the collection and reintroduce it to the public? Revisions and new directions in exhibition practice and interpretive approaches to costume.

  • Museum policies and issues of representation of the clothed body in museum environments.

  • The dictionary of the “language” of costume and transposing itonto the museum landscape: Examining the problematics surrounding the complexity of costumeterminology, complex concepts and diverse linguistic idioms at the level of documentation, but also of use across the entire range of textual information within museums.

  • Fashion vs. ethnographic costume. Blockbuster exhibitions vs. small-scale exhibitions. Research vs. spectacle. Glamour vs. everyday outfits. "Authentic" pieces vs. copies. Distinctions and other dichotomies at the heart of museological interest, and the expectations of audiences.

  • Digital surrogates of garments in museums (digital, virtual and cyber-museum).

  • What may be the meaning ofmetaverse for costume collections and costume museums?


3. Costume & Theatre

In the third thematic unit, the word "theatre" encapsulates the multiple forms of garments that become costumes in the performing arts (theatre, dance, opera, etc.) and the audio-visual arts (cinema, television, etc.).


Alongside her role as a researcher and collector of costume, Ioanna Papantoniou always maintained an active role as a creative scenographer and costume designer. This artistic identity is intertwined with a free and creative but at the same time responsible and conscious dimension of the concepts of "interpretation" and "representation" through costume.


In the 21st century, artistic costume practices can now be encountered by virtue of a multitude of different media, from theatre and cinema to virtual environments and multimedia platforms and applications. Mediation has become a dominant principle of contemporary life and culture. However, exploring the role of costume and the human bodyin this context remains a central issueof contemporary costume research.


In the third thematic unit, issues such as the following will be discussed:

  • What is the function of costumes in the performing and audio-visual arts, from a historical perspective and/or within 21st century performance cultures?

  • How is costume defined and distinguished from the ethical and social expectations of everyday dress?

  • By what simple or complex and sophisticated means docostumes function as a "performative medium" or even a self-contained "performance" for creators, participants and observers/viewers?

  • What are the contributions to and/or implications of technological developments with respect to the study and practice of costume both historically and in the present?

  • How does costume activate or curate a "shared space" of experience between creators and participants (performers/actors and observers/viewers)?

  • How is the practice of costume applied beyond the stage and the screen, and what does this mean for the study of costume today?


The Hellenic Costume Society invites young and experience researchers who are active in the above areas to send their proposals by 30 April 2023 by completing the entry form and sending it to: Your e-mail should mention "HCS -20 years" in the subject line.

The Scientific and Organizing Committee of the Conference reserves the right to exclude communications which:

  • are not relevant to the themes of the conference

  • do not meet the requirements of originality, have been or will be published elsewhere (in printed

  • or electronic form) or overlap.

  • are submitted after the deadline.

  • All participants will be notified in June.


All presentations will be published in the 7th volume of “Endymatologica”, the original scientific journalpublished by the Basil Papantoniou Foundation, which will include the proceedings of this conference.

Presenters will have a reduced registration fee, to be announced soon.

For further information, interested parties can contact Ms Aristoula Karra at, indicating "HCS-20 years" in the subject line of their e-mail.

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