Faculty/Lecturer Directory

ABissonnette01

Anne Bissonnette

Associate Professor

Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences

Human Ecology

About Me

Job/Research Area: Associate Professor, Material Culture and Curatorship, and Curator, Clothing and Textiles Collection.


Research

Research Interests: Anne's work is in the field of material culture studies and dress history. Her areas of research consist of fashion from the late eighteenth century to the present day, with a special interest for the cut and construction of clothing, how the body and clothes interact, and on the convergence between art, fashion and science.

On-going Research Project: “A Revolutionary Decade: Fashion & Material Culture in the 1790s”

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant

March 2017-2021

Summary: The importance of the body in fashion and the radical adoption of street styles by the elite go back to eighteenth-century Europe. This study examines the effects of the French Revolution on European and American style. It asks how 1790s fashion drastically changed to affect and reflect the social order. During this revolutionary decade, clothing was implicated in the changing political, artistic and ideological landscapes of Europe. As people searched for new systems of government, the meaning of dress in France took on additional importance. The research will thus begin in France and expand to places traditionally affected by French style: the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States and Canada. Finding, accessing and analyzing surviving clothing and depictions of dress such as portraits and fashion plates from the 1790s will allow us to understand the journey towards more democratic and body-conscious styles. This project examines the intertwining of fashion with political, cultural and social histories.

Exhibitions since 2009 (for 43 previous exhibitions please see online CV)

  • Misfits: Bodies, Dress and Sustainability - University of Alberta (UA), April 2015 - February 2016. Co-curated with Josée Chartrand, Meg Furler, Yara Sayegh, and Patricia Siferd (this exhibition is part of the course "Material Culture & Curatorship (HECOL 668)).
  • Eyewear: Fashion with Vision - University of Alberta (UA), November 2016 - February 2017. Co-curated with Cybil Cameron, Katelin Karbonik, Naomi Milne, Danielle Peel, and Donnalee Piley (this exhibition is part of the course "Nineteenth, Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Dress in the Western World (HECOL 460)). This exhibition won a 2017 Richard Martin Award for Excellence in the Exhibition of Costume from the Costume Society of America. It is the first student co-curated project to receive this prestigious international award.
  • Stitched Narratives - University of Alberta (UA), April 2015 - February 2016. Co-curated with Larisa Cheladyn, Stephanie Huolt, Robyn Stobbs, and Sarah Woodyard (this exhibition is part of the course "Material CUlture & Curatorship (HECOL 668)).
  • High Tea: Divine Manifestations - East and West - Curator for western textiles for the exhibition currently being organized by The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, FL, to open January 2015. Co-curated with Laurie Barnes, Elizabeth B. McGraw Curator of Chinese Art.
  • The Re-Birth of Venus: Fashion and the Venus Kallipygos - University of Alberta (UA), May 2013 to March 2014. Co-curator with Sarah Nash and Loretta Yau (this exhibition is part of the course “Material Culture & Curatorship” (HECOL 668)).
  • The exhibition "In Mother's Hood: Inuit Packing Dolls from Taloyoak" - UA, 9 September, 2010, to August 3, 2011, Co-curated with undergraduate student intern Christina Williamson
  • Green - UA, October 2009 to January 2010.

Conference Participation Since 2009

JURIED (Single Authored Oral Presentation Unless Otherwise Noted):

  • Symphony in Flesh Colour and Pink: James Abbott McNeill Whistler and the High Fashion Interior Gown. Costume Society of America National Symposium, Portland, ME, up-coming: May 29-June 4, 2017.
  • Dynamic Taxonomy Visual Interface on Structural Color to Bridge Science and Design Innovation. Design Principles & Practices Conference, Toronto, ON, up-coming: March 3-4, 2017. Carlos Fiorentino,* PhD student, first author. Poster.
  • Understanding the Gaps: Four Archetypes of 1790s Gowns. International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Symposium, Vancouver, BC, Nov. 9, 2016.
  • Across Time & Place: Investigating Classical and Continental Influences in Macaroni Dress Dressing Global Bodies Conference, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, July 8, 2016.
  • “And Called it Macaroni”: Seeking a Non-satirical Understanding of Male Macaroni Dress in Eighteenth-century England and America. Costume Society of America National Symposium, Cleveland, OH, May 24, 2016. Co-authored with Michael McCarty, Apprentice Tailor, and Mark Hutter, Tailor, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
  • The Error of Our Ways: A Practitioner’s Approach to Dress Studies. Material Culture in Action: Practices of Making, Collecting and Re-enacting Art and Design, Glasgow School of Art, UK, Sept. 7, 2015. Anne Bissonnette 13
  • Chemise Dresses and Embodied Practices in France 1778-1799. Costume Society of America National Symposium, San Antonio, TX, May 29, 2015.
  • Travelling Brunswick Day to Evening Reversible Mode. Costume Society of America National Symposium, San Antonio, TX, May 27, 2015. Creative dress scholarship: original garment design based on historical research category.
  • Winter Coat Inspired by an Eighteenth-century Quilted Petticoat. Costume Society of America National Symposium, San Antonio, TX, May
  • The Re-Birth of Venus: Fashion and the Venus Kallipygos. Costume Society of America National Symposium, Baltimore, MD, May 31, 2014. Delivered by Anne Bissonnette* on behalf of herself and her co-author, Sarah Nash, PhD student in the University of Alberta’s History & Classics Department and enrolled in Dr. Bissonnette’s HECOL 668 course.
  • Re-assessing Late Directoire Dress for Women in 1797-1799 Paris. International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Symposium, New Orleans, LA, Oct. 17, 2013.
  • Travelling Brunswick Day to Evening Reversible Mode. International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Symposium, New Orleans, LA, Oct. 16, 2013. Design submission (target market, professional category). Live runway presentation.
  • Addressing the 1790s Neoclassical Transition in Dress through Dolley Payne Todd Madison’s Silk Gown from the Greensboro Historical Museum. Costume Society of America National Symposium, Las Vegas, NV, May 30, 2013. 
  • What if Vionnet…?: Working with Betty Kirke to Unravel a Few Mysteries. Costume Society of America National Symposium, Las Vegas, NV, June 1, 2013. Delivered by Anne Bissonnette* and Therese Martinez-Yu,* masters student under the direct supervision of Dr. Bissonnette. Poster.
  • Dessiné d’après nature: Renditions from Life in the Journal des Dames et des Modes 1798-1799. Costume Society of America National Symposium, Atlanta, GA, May 31, 2012. 
  • Charles Kleibacker: Designer, Educator and Curator 1921-2010. Costume Society of America National Symposium, Boston, MA, June 9, 2011. 
  • Être du Métier: Madeleine Vionnet, Betty Kirke and the Role of Craftsmanship in Fashion Design and History. Material Culture Institute Conference “Material Culture, Craft & Community: Negotiating Objects Across Time & Place,” University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, May 20, 2011. 
  • Doing History with Objects: Betty Kirke and Madeleine Vionnet. International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Symposium, Montreal, QC, Oct. 29, 2010. Poster.
  • Canadian Greatcoat: Variable Winter Wear for Mild to Subarctic Temperatures. International Textile & Apparel Association Annual Symposium, Montreal, QC, Oct. 29, 2010. Design submission (target market, professional category). Live runway presentation.
  • Discovering and Belonging to Place: The Expatriate Curator. Alberta Museums Association Annual Conference, Edmonton, AB, Sept. 25, 2010.

 INVITED & OTHER (Invited Unless Otherwise Noted):

  • Fashion Revisionism: Napoléon, Dress and Deportment 1795-1814 (formal lecture). Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, QC, Nov. 3, 2016.
  • Napoléon et Paris (gallery talk in French). Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, QC, Nov. 3, 2016.
  • Fashion & Fiction: Chemise Dresses and the World of Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun 1778-1799 (formal lecture). National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON, June 5, 2016.
  • Meet the Experts/ Rencontre avec les experts (gallery tal). Accompanied the exhibition “The White Dress” and done with the Curator, Dr. Erika Dolphin. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON, June 5, 2016.
  • Photography of Historic Collections. Costume Society of America National Symposium, Cleveland, OH, USA, May 30, 2016. Professional Development Workshop to be given with Iowa State University PhD student Charity Calvin.
  • Re-assessing the Macaroni. Presentation to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation staff that was part of the Rockerfeller Library Fellowship, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, VA (UAS), Nov. 5, 2015.
  • A Community of Learners. 5th Annual Graduate Residence Student Conference, University of Alberta, March 28, 2015. Keynote speaker.
  • When Science, Art, Politics and Fashion Collide: Dress in France in the 1790s. Canadian Federation of University Women, University of Alberta Faculty Club, March 23, 2015.
  • Guest in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) radio show “Head to Toe,” which airs on the CBC & across North America on Sirius Radio. Two episodes: “Special Occasions: Is ‘Dressing Up’ Worth It?” (2014) and “Season Finale: Canada’s Fashion Panel” (2014). Invited panelist.
  • Fashion in the Age of Revolutions: Body, Mind & Matter 1770-1820. Gadsby Tavern Museum Symposium entitled “Road to Regency.” Alexandria, VA, Sept. 28, 2013. Keynote speaker.
  • Addressing the 1790s Neoclassical Transition in Dress through Dolley Payne Todd Madison’s Silk Gown from the Greensboro Historical Museum. Gadsby Tavern Museum Symposium. Alexandria, VA, Sept. 28, 2013. 
  • What if Vionnet…?: Working with Betty Kirke to Unravel a Few Mysteries. Costume Society of America National Symposium, Las Vegas, NV, June 1, 2013. Delivered by Anne Bissonnette* and Therese Martinez-Yu,* masters student under the direct supervision of Dr. Bissonnette. Poster.
  • Dessiné d’après nature: Renditions from Life in the Journal des Dames et des Modes 1798-1799.Costume Society of America National Symposium, Atlanta, GA, May 31, 2012.
  • Charles Kleibacker: Designer, Educator and Curator 1921-2010. Costume Society of America National Symposium, Boston, MA, June 9, 2011.
  • Être du Métier: Madeleine Vionnet, Betty Kirke and the Role of Craftsmanship in Fashion Design and History. Material Culture Institute Conference “Material Culture, Craft & Community: Negotiating Objects Across Time & Place,” University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, May 20, 2011.
  • Doing History with Objects: Betty Kirke and Madeleine Vionnet. International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Symposium, Montreal, QC, Oct. 29, 2010. Poster.
  • Canadian Greatcoat: Variable Winter Wear for Mild to Subarctic Temperatures. International Textile & Apparel Association Annual Symposium, Montreal, QC, Oct. 29, 2010. Design submission (target market, professional category). Live runway presentation.
  • Discovering and Belonging to Place: The Expatriate Curator. Alberta Museums Association Annual Conference, Edmonton, AB, Sept. 25, 2010.

Teaching

Students currently supervised and their research topic/area of interest 

Undergraduate Students Research under Direct Supervision:

  • Ann Salmonson (BSC Human Ecology obtained 2014): “Qing Dynasty Embroidery: An Exploration of Historical Tradition and Practice.” Research conducted by the student in China and India during the summer of 2013. University of Alberta’s Undergraduate Research Initiative.

      Graduate Students under Direct Supervision:

      • Therese Martinez-Yu (Jan. 2010–Aug. 2013: thesis-based MA, Textiles & Clothing). Completed thesis: “Five Building Blocks: A Study Madeleine Vionnet’s Construction Techniques Explained to the Novice through the Exploration of Five Patterns by Betty Kirke.”
      • Loretta Yau (Sept. 2012–Aug. 2013: thesis-based MA, Textiles & Clothing, withdrew).
      • Carlos Fiorentino (since Sept. 2013 entered the PhD program in Human Ecology, co-supervised with Dr. Strickfaden). Dissertation research: “Bio-inspiration: A Natural Step in the Evolution of Design & Material Culture.”
      • Sarah Woodyard (Sept. 2014-Jan. 2017: thesis-based MA in Textiles & Clothing). Completed thesis: “Martha’s Mob Cap? A Milliner’s Hand-Sewn Inquiry into Eighteenth-Century Caps ca.1770 to 1800.”
      • Stephanie Huolt (Sept. 2014-Dec. 2016: thesis-based MA in Textiles & Clothing). Completed thesis: “The Power of Dress Up: Investigating Children’s Perceptions to the Use of Reproduction Period Garments in a Costume-based Museum Education Program.”
      • Yara Saegh (since Jan. 2016: course-based MA in Textiles & Clothing).
      • Josée Chartrand (since Sept. 2016: thesis-based MA in Textiles & Clothing).
      • Patricia Siferd (since Sept. 2016: thesis-based MA in Textiles & Clothing).
      • Meg Furler Chartrand (since Jan. 2017: course-based MA in Textiles & Clothing).

      Graduate Students: Supervisory Committees:

      MA, Textiles & Clothing:

      • Committee Member & Chair for the final exam of Lesley Stafiniak (June 2011 – Aug. 2013). Completed thesis: “How Inspirational Sources are Adapted towards Textile Surface Designs.”           
      • Committee Member & Chair for the final exam of Afrin Anowar Biswas (Aug. 2013). Completed thesis: “Characterization of Disability within Design Process.”

      MA, Department of Art and Design:

      • External Examiner for Ceren Pektas (Sept. 2014). Completed thesis: “Innovation Through Design: Understanding the Challenges, Improving the Practices of Using New Materials Application in the Building Industry.”

      Doctoral Level (within the Human Ecology Department Unless Otherwise Noted):

      • Committee Member, Leanne Page (Dec.2011 on) (English and Film Studies Department). Dissertation research: “Bodies, Spaces, and Identities: The Functions of Dress in the Victorian Sensation Novel.”
      • Committee Member, Sandra Tullio-Pow (Nov. 2013 on). Dissertation research: “Exploring the Clothing Taskscape: Mapping the Relationship between Ability and Environment to Design Specialized Functional Apparel for Occupational Rehabilitation Therapy.”