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The International Conference Shoes in History, organized by the Museum of South East Moravia in Zlín, has a long tradition. The event was conceived by Miroslava Štýbrová, the long-term curator of extensive shoe collection of Zlín museum. Experts from Czech Republic as well as from abroad met for the first time in 1994 in order to to exchange knowledge about footwear and shoemaking in history and they continued to meet in Zlín about every three years ever since. Over the years, various topics related to footwear and everything about it were discussed, whether they were rare items from museum collections, new archaeological finds or research projects.
Papers that are presented at the conference are published in the conference proceedings and in them you can find many such interesting topics as a report by Petr Hlaváček from Tomas Bata University in Zlín on the reconstruction of prehistoric footwear of Ötzi (1994), a study by June Swann of Northampton, England about the mystical ritual of hiding shoes in a house to protect its inhabitants from evil (1997), or an analysis by Jana Langová from the Zlín Museum, dealing with prehistoric ritual vessels in the shape of footwear (2000). Lot of attention attracted lectures of Sonja Bata of the Canadian Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto on footwear in ancient India (2000) and China (2004) and the study of D. A. Sagut of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia on the shoes of English sailors from the ship De Brak also that sunk in 1789 off of American shores (2004). At 2010 conference, Miroslava Vandrovcová from the National Museum in Prague presented a humorously conceived lecture on a shortage of women's winter boots on the Czech market in the 1960s. Martina Hřibová, Václav Grešák and Uranbileg Altangerel presented paper about eccentric renaissance shoes called chapines with a description of their making a faithful replica of the shoes (2014). Most interesting lecture from Kristel Peters from School of Arts, University College Ghent concerned making shoes from non-traditional materials, in this case from mycelium - part of fungus (2018).
The conference is regularly attended by excellent experts who have dedicated their entire lives to research concerning shoes and their history. In this context, Zlín has already been visited by foreign experts from Canada, the United States, Japan, France, Italy, Romania, Germany, Austria, Russia, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Finland.
The form of the conference is also constantly evolving, for example in 2018 it took place for the first time outside of Zlín, when the event was hosted by the Eperon d'Or Museum in the Belgian city of Izegem. The conference aims to include more of the current trends of the footwear industry, which is often based on long historical developments and tradition.
Other shoe conferences HERE...
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