Diversity Advisory Council Mission Statement
We are professionals in a creative industry that serves a creative audience. Creativity, at the core of what we do and the audience we service, flourishes best in an environment where diversity of thought and inclusion of all are priorities. For everyone to perform at their best, we need to recognize and address demographic, opportunity and social issues that can impede the creative process and create an environment where those priorities are apparent. The Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) at SoHo Publishing LLC has as its mission to ensure that all—regardless of race, gender, gender identity, sexuality, religion, age, ability or access needs—feel welcome, supported and recognized by our publications and at our events. We recognize that this is not a quick fix, but rather a journey to lasting change that starts now.
DAC Immediate Goals
- Evaluate existing organizational policies, programs and structure and make recommendations for institutional change and additional programming. The goal is to incorporate into our culture exemplary practices, programs and individuals that embody the commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Retool existing programs and events and implement new ones that reflect our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Develop the scope of and source writers for a new column in Vogue Knitting that regularly features the broadest spectrum of LGBTQ2IA+, BIPOC, and other identified underrepresented designers.
- Create a mentoring program for aspiring teachers to increase diversity in the knitting/crochet teaching community.
- Initiate a crafting business accelerator program, overseen by Diane Ivey from Lady Dye Yarns, where experienced BIPOC professionals in the industry will inform potential vendors of the financial benefits, risks, inventory, and necessary planning to become a successful vendor.
Note additional information for both the teacher mentoring program and vendor educational sessions will be available at a later date.
The composition of the DAC participants will change each year. To keep the momentum going, the DAC will work on longer-term goals that create a framework through which the next set of DAC participants can continue the DAC’s work. The DAC will create a checklist of things to consider—now and in the future—to ensure that SoHo Publishing LLC and the future DAC members will remain committed to the DAC mission statement.
Details Regarding the DAC Appointments:
- 2019/2020 council appointments were voted on by the four initial council members
- Appointment term is one to two years maximum. The existing DAC will vote on new members for the following year
- The 2019 DAC year is Wednesday June 13, 2019 - Friday, June 12, 2020
- No more than 50% of the existing members will voluntarily remain on the DAC for a maximum of one additional year to facilitate the transition
- There will be a total of 15 meetings per year (telephone conferences or in-person meetings)
- Each council member receives an honorarium of $1500 per year (fees vary for international members, to take into account exchange rate)
- There is a maximum of 10 council members per year
A submission form will be made available soon for anyone interested in participating in future years of the Diversity Advisory Council.
Diversity Advisory Council Members
LOUIS BORIA/BROOKLYN BOY KNITS
Puerto Rican knitwear designer, philanthropist and motivational speaker Louis Boria has been in the fiber-arts industry for more than ten years. Since gaining fame on social media, Louis has been at the forefront of breaking down gender norms, putting out the message that art has no gender. His commitment to the community continues by bringing fiber artists together with projects including Hat Not Hate and School of Yarn and working with cancer patients by teaching them how to knit as a form of therapy. Louis’s goal for the council is to bring much-needed recognition to both POC and LGBQT fiber artists and to highlight their commitment and works in our fast-growing industry.
LORNA HAMILTON BROWN
Lorna Hamilton Brown is a black British knitwear designer and artist. She has a Master’s degree in Knitted Textiles from the Royal College of Art, London, and is a qualified University lecturer. Lorna learned to knit and crochet from her Jamaican mother and started out designing and selling items at school. Her knitwear has appeared on BBC TV and been sold in Harrods of Knightsbridge, London. As an artist, Lorna creates artworks that challenges racial stereotypes. She’s currently building on research from her Master’s dissertation, which debunked the myth that “Black People Don’t Knit,” as well as revealing the bias shown in the way knitting histories have been presented.
Ana Campos was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and now makes her home in Salem, Massachusetts. She is passionate about all things handmade and learned to knit and crochet as a child. Ana brings more than 20 years of knitting experience to her yarn shop, Circle of Stitches. She also has a line of hand-dyed yarns, Toil & Trouble, and teaches workshops throughout New England. Her focus is on the technical aspects of knitting, and she particularly enjoys teaching Portuguese knitting in honor of her Portuguese ancestors. As a queer mixed-race Latina, Ana is fiercely committed to intersectionality and diversity, which she seeks to promote within her own business. She is excited to participate in the Diversity Advisory Council and hopes to encourage proactive, rather than reactive, change in the fiber industry.
FELICITY (FELIX) FORD
Felicity (Felix) Ford is an artist who believes that creativity and social change go hand in hand. She’s been working with knitting and sound (as KNITSONIK) since 2005 when she joined a knitting circle in Oxford, England, while studying for her MA and PhD in sound art. Her sound works include a podcast series about disability; a PhD exploring the underappreciated sounds of domestic space; and commissions for TATE Modern, The Dickens Museum and The Wellcome Library. Felix now writes knitting books celebrating the everyday in stranded colorwork, and teaches workshops that empower her fellow knitters around creative self-expression. She has been managing psoriatic arthritis, depression and anxiety for more than twenty years. Through joining this council she aims to highlight the needs and perspectives of disabled people in the knitting industry. As well as advocating from her own experiences, she looks forward to better understanding how disabilities intersect with other marginalized identities.
Diane Ivey is the owner and Creative Director of Lady Dye Yarns, an indie-dye yarn company since 2010. A knitter for 17 years and a dyer, spinner and crocheter for 12, Diane looks forward to not only expanding her company but using her expertise in growth and expansion with other BIPOC businesses to grow on a national scale. She spent 16 years in the non-profit sector. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Mass Communication with a concentration in Print Journalism from Georgia College & State University. She also holds a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from Suffolk University.
As a Diversity & Inclusion practitioner, Cecilia Nelson- Hurt has more than 15 years of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion experience. Currently, Cecilia serves as the Assistant Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion at L’Oréal USA, where she is responsible for shaping diversity efforts through innovative initiatives that underscore the company’s commitment to creating an equal opportunity workplace. Cecilia is also responsible for the curriculum development and facilitation of all L’Oréal USA Diversity & Inclusion trainings, having trained more than 15,000 employees to date. Cecilia was introduced to the fiber arts by her maternal grandmother, who taught her how to crochet when she was very young. Cecilia later taught herself to knit and has been an avid knitter for more than 20 years. Combining her love for knitting and travel, Cecilia travels the world and visits yarn shops wherever she goes. To date, she and her “Yarn Husband” Jerome have visited more than 100 shops in the United States and abroad.
Jeanette Sloan is a British designer with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Textile Design. Since first starting to work with fiber in 1990, she has worked in higher education both as a tutor and a technician and designed and produced collections of accessories under her own label. She has also designed for several brands, including Erika Knight and Rowan. She’s written four books on hand knitting. Her designs have appeared in several U.K. knitting publications, including The Knitter and Knitting, where she’s been a contributor for more than a decade. November 2018 saw the publication of her article “Black People Do Knit,” which discussed the lack of BIPOC representation in the fiber community; since then, she’s worked to highlight the work of BIPOC through her Instagram feed and her blog. She continues to write and speak about the need for better representation of BIPOC in the fiber community and chose to become involved with the council as a direct way to shape and implement long overdue changes in the industry.
Angela Tong is a Chinese American Fiber Arts Designer living in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters. She studied Industrial Design and Jewelry & Metalsmithing at Massachusetts College of Art and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York with a degree in Jewelry Design. She has been designing knitting, crochet and weaving patterns for numerous magazines, books and yarn companies. She also teaches knitting and weaving classes online for www.mybluprint.com and at yarn stores and fiber retreats. In 2019, she became a brand ambassador for Mirrix Looms. Currently she is working on her first weaving book. Angela believes that she can help bring diversity to the industry by teaching and attending events, showing students and event goers that people who look like her knit, crochet and weave. Diversity and inclusion are a part of her core beliefs and she is raising her daughters with the same beliefs.