The WOVEN Festival returns in summer 2023 and will feature more than 100 free and ticketed events across Kirklees.

The third biennial festival, funded by Kirklees Council, celebrates the district’s textiles past, present and future.

The festival runs from June 3 to July 9 and the theme of this year’s programme is sustainability, focusing on reducing waste and cutting environmental impact while still retaining creativity.

Kirklees is built on the textiles industry, from humble domestic spinning and weaving beginnings to large-scale mill production.

WOVEN’s themes will also explore generations of innovators, connecting the past, present and future of textiles.

This year’s festival launches on June 3 with STRUT, a free one-day event taking place outside Dewsbury Town Hall centring around a community catwalk.

The catwalk will see groups, students and community members strutting their stuff and celebrating their individuality in their own handmade designs, embellishments and accessories.

This event will be a mix of fashion, music, and fun, and will feature a music stage presented by Kirklees Year of Music, a pop-up skate park, as well as textile crafting opportunities.

Additional programme highlights include:

  • Various Dates: Every Child Challenge: This challenge is aimed at teaching young people five core textiles skills, inspiring creativity and fostering a love of textiles and mending. Includes two home education sessions in June and July and a free drop-in session at Huddersfield Art Gallery on July 1 where children and adults can learn new skills.
  • June 10-July 8: Quilted: Community, Creativity and Care – This free exhibition explores the powerful art of community quilt making, from the Threads of Survival quilts made during the Covid pandemic to quilts stitched by individuals and communities in Kirklees. Workshops are also available at the Huddersfield Art Gallery alongside the exhibition.
  • Various Dates: Repairing roadshow, Mission to Mend aims to address pressing issues for people and the planet, drawing inspiration from the rich unique textile heritage of Heckmondwike, Golcar, Meltham, Holmfirth and Mirfield. Mission to Mend will travel to each location and invites the local community to come together and learn more about how they can be more sustainable with their garments, repairing instead of replacing for the future. Focusing on teaching textile repair skills to instil a sustainable outlook of ‘buying once, buying well’, for future generations, these free roadshow events will bring together the best local textile talent to celebrate with talks, demonstrations, workshops and more. Thanks to National Lottery players, Mission to Mend has been funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund as part of Sing and Sew by WOVEN and Artichoke.
    • June 11 in Meltham at Meltham Church Hall
    • June 25 in Golcar at Golcar Scout and Community Centre
    • July 1 in Holmfirth at
    • June 16 in Mirfield at Calderdale & Kirklees Recovery and Wellness College
    • June 17 in Heckmondwike at Green Park
  • Various Dates: Growing Colour Together – growing Colour Together aims to involve the local community in natural dyeing and to turn Kirklees into the UK’s largest ever dye garden. Artists have been working with communities in Birkby and Fartown, Dewsbury and Kirkburton to showcase their growing and creativity. Growing Colour Together events are continuing into the Summer with a programme including:
    • June 3: Eco-printing workshop and open gardens – This free eco printing workshop will teach you how to transfer colour from flowers and leaves onto fabrics and offer an opportunity to explore and enjoy the beautiful Kirkwood gardens.
    • June 6: Birkby & Fartown Celebration Garden Party – A free afternoon in the Growing Colour Together garden, honouring the deep roots of textile heritage and local growing spaces in the area.
    • June 17: Roving Lands – a collaborative textile installation made up of over one hundred individually-designed textile pieces that represent personal journeys through natural spaces, taking over Crow Nest Park Wildflower Garden for one day only.
    • June 24: Foraging walk for Natural Dyes – Join local textile artist Kayleigh Davis on a foraging walk for natural dye plants. Meet at 10am at the grassy area with a gate next to St Patrick’s Catholic Primary Academy on George Avenue and explore nature together.
    • July 1: Growing Colour Together Symposium  – A free symposium at The University of Huddersfield which showcases presentations from artists, designers and researchers exploring natural dyes. Booking essential. 
  • July 7-8: Textiles Futures: Closing the festival and looking forward is Textile Futures, a two-day event featuring a series of talks, workshops and meet and greets, exploring the latest innovations and trends in the world of textiles, as well as the vast career opportunities the industry brings to young people. Bringing together industry demonstrations, university tours, and careers information, the event will give young people the opportunity to speak with local manufacturers and watch experiments to learn about what the future of textiles could mean for them. 7 July- schools only event, 8 July – open to all.

Of the rich programme, 36 events are led by the WOVEN team, 11 by local businesses and the rest are community-led showcasing the diverse skill, passion and career-focus surrounding the textiles industry in the area.

Colin Parr, Kirklees Council’s strategic director, environment and climate change, Kirklees Council, said: “Textiles is an industry with a rich history in Kirklees and continues to play a vital role in our economy today, providing a range of exciting career opportunities.

“WOVEN is a vibrant celebration of this significance and we are delighted to host the inclusive programme to showcase our district on a national and international stage and foster a passion for textiles amongst future generations.”

Natalie Walton, Curator of WOVEN, said: “We are proud to have created such an inclusive festival that truly reflects Kirklees, with not only WOVEN curated events but the multitude of community events that join the WOVEN programme this year.

“We are looking forward to welcoming visitors from West Yorkshire and beyond to celebrate textiles and learn together.”

The festival also features:

  • Various Dates: Yarn Bombing – Vibrant yarn bombing will be taking place across the region throughout the festival for people to explore. A map is available to find all Yarn Bomb locations on the WOVEN website. 
  • Stitch Heroes – WOVEN wants to celebrate your unsung Stitch Heroes! Whether it’s a grandma who knits everyone child the family a jumper or friend who fixes all your snags, nominate the Stitch Hero in your life and they’ll be recognised on WOVEN channels, as well as at the festival! To enter, please DM @woveninkirklees on social media or email the team details of your Stich Hero and what makes them special at: Deadline for roadshow showcase of your Stitch Hero – May 19. Deadline for social media showcase of your Stitch Hero – July 8
  • June 3-July 2: Make Do and Mend Exhibition – This exhibition will show work from the Victorians until now, demonstrating how we can make do and mend to help the environment.
  • June 8 & 22: OXFAM Batley: Teacher Tour – Through a partnership with the OXFAM, teachers working in Kirklees are invited to a one-hour tour of OXFAM’s Northern Logistics Centre in Batley to learn about sustainability in the zero-waste site.
  • June 17: WOVEN Family Fun Day – Bring all the family together and get creative with textiles, inspired by the Quilted: Community, Creativity and Care exhibition.
  • June 29: Patterns from India – This creative workshop will explore the Textile Fabrics of India Archive held at the University of Huddersfield, showcasing the history of textiles in Kirklees and the inspiration the textiles industry took from Indian craftsmanship.

For a list of all Woven events taking place throughout Kirklees, click here to be taken to the events page on their website.