Add a Person

Who is a mender?

The VMDH project bestows the compliment of being a mender onto a wide variety of specialists. Certainly, fixers of textile and clothing—a formerly menial, gendered, even shame-filled chore—are important here, but so is the conservator of a Ptolemaic period Egyptian coffin at the British Museum, a fundi simu phone repair expert in Dar es Salaam, or an artist whose medium is consumer discards. Scholars researching around the topic are definitely menders, and we hope that such projects being mapped en masse will lead to fresh and fertile collaborations.

Historically and customarily, menders are individuals of low status, no matter how deep their knowledge or subtle their craft, so that climbing the socioeconomic scale has required rebranding—to restoration expert, for example, or technical specialist, or surgeon. Here, that ontology is reversed, with rarefied professions filed under mending, fine artists listed as menders, and equal billing for all--including relevant historical figures. By a process of self-selection, the world, as mirrored on this map, is full of menders. Read more about mending here.

Application Forms

Images above, left to right: Annie Ware Winsor Allen Darning A Stocking,1884, Platinum print to CTP print, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard; Mierle Laderman Ukeles,Four actions of Maintenance Art, 1973, Maintenance: Inside, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut; Leroy Graves, collections conservator, sews upholstery for an easy chair at Colonial Williamsburg on May 4, 2018. Photograph Kristen Zeis; British Museum Conservator Verena Kotonski works on reshaping the lid of the Sherborne Cartonnage, a Ptolemaic period Egyptian coffin excavated in 1907 during the First Archaeological Survey of Nubia, photo, British Museum; a Fundi Simu mobile phone repair worker at Kariakoo market, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, photo Iago Bojczuk, MIT Global Media Technologies and Cultures Lab;  Car Repair, Havana Parking Lot, detail, photo Tommy Crow, Anne Hunter Galleries; Jessica Marquez mending denims with sashiko stitching, courtesy Jessica Marquez