Academic Research Projects.

Emotional Quilts in Space & Time (PhD).

‘Emotional Journeys: The British Quilt in Space and Time, 1770-1920’. The long-lived and hand-made domestic patchwork coverlet or quilted bedcover was an emotional object which could carry feelings, memories and associations across space, and through time. In exploring both temporal and geographical space this study concerns itself with journeys, presenting the quilt as a flexible and meaning-full vessel which did emotional work over long periods as it travelled through the spaces and places of the long Nineteenth century. Unfolding the focus outwards from my MA study (which explored textiles as conduits for the emotional webs within the family across the lifecycle), this study explores overlapping arenas; the smaller more intimate sphere of the body, senses and souls of makers, and wider spheres by exploring how quilts lived on through remembered afterlives, in alternative domesticities, reinforcing regionalities, and doing the work of nationhood. 

This work is supervised by Professor Joanne Begiato and Dr Sally Holloway, Oxford Brookes University.

Remember Me (Masters by Research).

‘”Remember Me”. Domestic Textiles in Britain 1790-1890: memory, Identity & Emotion’. This research explores the emotional history of stitched domestic textiles asking how makers of the past used made domestic textiles to create and preserve their personal and family memories, but also to establish their legacy for future audiences. Exploring the stitched phrase ‘Remember Me’ which occurs on quilts, stitched samplers and other domestic textiles, Deb asks, who wanted to be remembered? What did they want future audiences to know of them, and what can we learn about makers lives and their own agency when they worked? This research study includes examination of textiles in relation to emotions such as grief, homesickness, societal dislocation as well as love, care and memory. This study spans the human lifecycle, mapping the role of domestic making from the cradle to the grave. Deb’s work is situated in the fields of emotions history, material history and domestic and family history; exploring the central role of domestic stitched textiles in families, and for individuals as a tool to express a sense of personal identity and family history between 1790-1890.

This unpublished dissertation can be accessed at the library of Oxford Brookes University, Headington Road, Oxford, UK.

A paper from this wider research, McGuire, Deborah. ‘Remember Me – Love, Loss and Legacy. British Memorial Quilts’, was published in the academic journal Quilt Studies, The Journal of the British Quilt Study Group in 2022, Issue 23, and was presented at the BQSG Conference in Oct 2021. Copies of this journal can be purchased from the library shop of the BQSG

AHRC Funded Inheriting the Family Network.

Deb is a contributor to the AHRC funded Inheriting the Family Network, presenting a paper titled ‘Maintaining ‘The Importance of Aunts’: Textiles, Emotions and the Matrilineal Family’ at the Autumn 2021 Workshops (3)

New research into object inheritance biographies from The Quilters’ Guild Museum Collection will inform an edited book chapter in 2023.