Event Date

December 1, 2020, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


Research Lecture Series

Program Information

Lunchtime Lectures
Dates: First Tuesday of each month
Time: 12 - 1pm
Location: online for now
Cost: Free, Open to the Public

BRIT Research Seminars
Date: Various dates throughout year
Time: 12 - 1pm 
Location: online for now
Cost: Free, Open to the Public
Visit the event page for specific date and time information.

Point of Contact

Brooke Byerley Best, Ph.D.

Director of Research Programs

Textiles from Trees: Ugandan Bark Cloth

A Lunchtime Lecture by Lesli Robertson

For centuries and into today, bark from a specific tree is stripped, beaten, and used by the people of Uganda. The tree, with its bark removed, does not die, but grows its outer covering back to be used again and again, year after year.

Lubugo, or Ugandan barkcloth, has a diverse history from clothing kings to finding its way onto fashion runways in Europe. Lesli Robertson has been traveling to Uganda since 2005, where she first saw this rust colored cloth folded up in a roadside stall. Since, she has worked with artists, researchers, and community leaders in Uganda to assist in promoting and preserving this cloth.

In this lecture, Lesli will give a behind the scenes glimpse into her work and what she has learned from array of stakeholders who love this material, from fashion designers to 9th generation bark cloth makers. Look for her upcoming Maker to Maker: Ugandan Barkcloth hands-on virtual workshop at BRIT in January. Also, visit her studio, www.mekekadesigns.com, to learn more about her current work.

A mutuba tree with new, red roots emerging
A mutuba tree with new roots emerging
Paul and Vincent removing the bark from a mutuba tree
Paul and Vincent removing the bark from a mutuba tree


Lesli Robertson is an interdisciplinary textile consultant and project developer who partners with local and international organizations to develop impactful engagement through interactive programs. She has recently worked on projects supported by USAID, the Smithsonian Institution, and Fulbright Specialist program, taking her to countries as diverse as Kuwait, Armenia, Uganda, and Ghana. She launched Mekeka Designs in 2018, creating bespoke textile collections with artisans in Uganda. As a former faculty at the University of North Texas, she spent more than a decade teaching textile and visual arts approaches while developing national and international community programs and opportunities.

A recording of this lecture is now available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/yNcrxca_cQY


About Research Lecture Series

The BRIT Lecture Series is designed to create community wide conversation about a diverse range of important and rapidly developing topics. This series gives scientists and speakers a forum for sharing the most current information about their areas of expertise and allows the public to interact with leading members of the local, national, and international scientific community.

Our Lecture Series is made up of Lunchtime Lectures and Research Seminars. Lunchtime Lectures take place the first Tuesday of each month, February – July and September – November, from noon - 1pm in the BRIT Commons (**Now held virtually until further notice***). Research Seminars take place periodically throughout the year and are scheduled based on the availability of our in-house and visiting researchers.

All events are free and open to the public. Please watch this page and our social media channels for announcements of upcoming Lunchtime Lectures and Researcher Seminars.