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Live talks take place at the University Women's Club in Mayfair. We stream some talks, usually from overseas speakers, via Zoom. Whenever possible, talks are recorded and made available to members via the Members' Area of the website.

We also organise trips and tours for members and their guests. These are advertised in the monthly newsletters.

So far this year there have been two visits: in February a curator-led visit to Leighton House in Kensington, and in April a behind-the-scenes visit to Brighton Museum to see Burmese textiles not on display, as well as having a guided tour of the Royal Pavilion. Another private visit to Christie's for a preview of the recent sale including items from George Farrow's collection took place in late April.  Details of forthcoming visits appear in the members' newsletters.

Our most recent event

Wednesday, June 19th, 2024

Lecture by Diego Tamburini: 'Dyes in 19th century Karen textiles.' Virtual via Zoom. 18.00 (GMT).

Burmese textile.JPG

'Dyes in 19th century Karen textiles.' 


Changes in the production of Burmese textiles in the long 19th century – a focus on dye and fibre characterisation of Karen garments from the British Museum’s collection


The 19th century is a complex period in Myanmar’s history, marked by transition from the Konbaung dynasty (Myanmar’s last royal house) to the early phase of complete British colonial rule (1885-1914). Tremendous innovations occurred in this time period and evidence exists that the scientific advances and technological developments taking place in Europe impacted Myanmar’s traditional forms of crafts. Synthetic dyes represent one of the most important categories of new materials created in this period, and their introduction from Europe to Asia is an understudied topic. Moreover, little in-depth scientific work on Myanmar minority textiles has been undertaken.

For these reasons, a pilot study has been conducted at the British Museum focusing on the dye analysis and fibre characterisation of six Karen textiles with the aim to investigate how the fibres and dyes of such textiles changed over the course of the 19th century and how the changes related to local and colonial trade networks.


Some of the results were showcased in the BM’s Burma to Myanmar exhibition (2 Nov 2023 - 11 Feb 2024), resonating with the exhibition themes and underscoring the diversity and interconnectedness of the country, and the resourcefulness and skill of its people. These insights into Myanmar's material cultures open a window not just to the objects on display but also to the people who, through their craft, have woven their story across time and artificial borders. 

Guests welcome. Please contact Dimity Spiller to enquire.

More dates for your diary
Please scroll down to the bottom of the page for details

Saturday, June 29th, 2024

ORTS annual summer lunch party and auction in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Details in members' newsletters.

Wednesday, September 11th, 2024

Lecture by Robert Bell ‘Tribal Miniatures…..Small can be beautiful.’

University Women’s Club. 18.00 for 18.30. Time tbc.


Wednesday, October 16th, 2024

William Robinson of Christie’s: ‘Woven memories: 40 years in the carpet market.’

University Women’s Club. 18.00 for 18.30. Time tbc.

Society talks are normally held at the University Women's Club 

in South Audley Square just behind the Dorchester Hotel. Talks start at 7pm. 


Both Green Park and Hyde Park Corner tube stations are a short walk away. Free street parking

after 6.30pm (Tilney St, Stanhope Gate, Hill St, Waverton St, Curzon St, Chesterfield Gardens)


Guests are welcome to attend for £7 a single lecture. Students £5. 

Membership of one year for all events from £30.


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