Black Material Geographies

Lisa Woolfork is an associate professor of African American Literature and Culture. Her teaching and research explore Black women writers, the fiction of Black identity, trauma theory, and American slavery. She is the convener and founder of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black Lives Matter. She is also the host/producer of Stitch Please, a weekly audio podcast that centers on Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. In the summer of 2017, she became a founding member of Black Lives Matter Charlottesville. Actually, she is active in a variety of university and community initiatives, including the College Fellows Program to reshape the undergraduate general education curriculum.

Teju Adisa Farrar

Teju is an environmental equity consultant, speaker, and creator/host of the Black Material Geographies podcast. She centers on climate, racial, and distributive justice by sharing ideas on regenerative practices and co-collaborative design. Teju uses a social geographies perspective encouraging us to think about space, place, and identity. Teju’s lens includes sustainable fiber and fashion systems, urban ecologies, nature, history, activism, and art. She supports people, collectives, and organizations who are mapping / making alternative futures.

Insights from this episode: 

  • How to reclaim the traditions that are valuable art and are valuable to us
  • How do we look at geography in relation to humans who identify as Black across the planet
  • Strategies to help people get economic independence and freedom so that they have to borrow from people and be forever indebted
  • Details on how to alleviate people from poverty and give them a platform for economic freedom
  • Why it is important to learn where the different textiles come from
  • How understanding the importance of making things for ourselves or where they come from can shift how we consume things

Quotes from the show:

  • “We need to know how to make things with our hands because that’s how we can support ourselves and live outside systems that don't support us, that don’t value us and in many cases are violent to us and oppress us” - Teju Adisa Farrar in “Stitch Please”
  • “I don't ever underestimate the joy and creativity that is involved in Black folks getting dressed, and especially Black women” - Teju Adisa Farrar in “Stitch Please”
  • “Black joy is our birthright. We live within systems of oppression that convince us constantly to devalue the things that we do, that are not connected to capitalism and patriarchy” - Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “Freedom isn't a secret; it is a practice” - Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “When you get dressed, and you look the way you wanna look, and you wear the colors you wanna wear and texture, and the style, you feel good” - Teju Adisa Farrar in “Stitch Please”
  • “What you wear is like your armor” - Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “Nature is constantly guiding us and resisting us and our efforts, and we can learn a lot about how the natural world operates” - Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “Sustainability is how do we keep things in circulation for as long as possible” - Teju Adisa Farrar in “Stitch Please”
  • “Sustainability is if we cannot use it in the way we have been using it, can we use it in a different way and can we find a way to make it work, can we find someone who knows how to use it in a different way” - Teju Adisa Farrar in “Stitch Please”
  • “It just the human thing to do, to give people agency, dignity, leisure pleasure” - Teju Adisa Farrar in “Stitch Please”
  • “Making is one of the most important pleasures of human life” - Teju Adisa Farrar in “Stitch Please”

Resources Mentioned: 

Black Material Geographies Podcast

Stay Connected:

Black Women Stitch Patreon

Lisa Woolfork

Instagram: Lisa Woolfork

Twitter: Lisa Woolfork

Teju Adisa Farrar


Instagram: @misstej

Twitter: Teju Adisa-Farrar

Facebook: Teju Adisa-Farrar 


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Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.