Goldsmiths academic receives MBE for uncovering hidden histories of Windrush women

A Goldsmiths academic was made an MBE at Windsor Castle by Princess Anne last week for her work in uncovering hidden histories of women from the Windrush generation.

The MBE marks 30 years of Rose Sinclair’s research into black women’s crafts. 

After accepting her award on March 6, she said: “I loved the experience of collecting the MBE and will treasure this day for years to come.”

Ms Sinclair joined Goldsmiths in 1998 on a research fellowship after gaining an MA in Textiles from Central St Martins. 

Through her research at the Lewisham-based university, Ms Sinclair unearthed what used to be known as Dorcas clubs.

Named after Dorcas – a woman in the bible known for her “good works and acts of mercy sewing clothes for the poor” – the clubs taught the destitute to become “makers of cloth”. 

Ms Sinclair joined Goldsmiths in 1998 on a research fellowship after gaining an MA in Textiles from Central St Martins (Picture: Goldsmiths University)

Ms Sinclair said: “Through missionaries Dorcas translated to the new world and were later conveyed in the re-passage of Caribbean immigrants arriving in the UK. 

“Women found a sense of how-to craft, to exchange knowledge and found a space where they could talk to each other about how to find a job, a house and how to decorate a space.” 

Until Ms Sinclair’s research this history of black women and their crafting culture was “invisible”.

“We didn’t know those stories of black women doing craft, but we are beginning to now”, she said. 

Pictured top: Rose Sinclair accepting her MBE at Windsor Castle on March 6 (Picture: Goldsmiths University)

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