Kate Irvin is Curator and Head of the Department of Costume and Textiles at the RISD Museum. There she oversees a collection of 30,000 fashion and textile items that range in date from 1500 BCE to the present and represent traditions and innovations across the globe.
Her most recent initiative, Inherent Vice, was co-curated with textile conservators Jessica Urick and Anna Rose Keefe, and comprises a year-long exhibition (2022–2023), deaccessioning and other collections-care activities, community-building conversations, and related RISD courses and creative output produced therein. As a whole, the project reframes collections care as a reparative, empathetic act that embraces both literal and metaphorical cracks as opportunities for revealing and making room for neglected narratives. Previously she curated Repair and Design Futures (2018–2019), another year-long multidisciplinary exhibition and programming initiative that investigated mending as material intervention, metaphor, and as a call to action. With Markus Berger, she co-edited a related book Repair: Sustainable Design Futures, published by Routledge in 2022.
Other exhibitions and projects at the RISD Museum include: From the Loom of a Goddess: Reverberations of Guatemalan Maya Weaving (2018); Designing Traditions: Student Explorations in the Asian Textile Collections (2017); All of Everything: Todd Oldham Fashion (2016); and Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion (2013).
Irvin’s videos are used in this Choices Program curriculum unit:
Confronting Genocide: Never Again?