Speaking & Workshops

Leanne Prain speaking at Hot Art Wet City

Speaking at Hot Art, Wet City Hot Talks, 2014. Photo: Chris Betnzen.

Leanne enjoys inspiring people to look at craft, art and design in new and radical ways.

As an author and maker, she’s delivered over a hundred lectures and workshops at galleries, conferences, bookstores, classrooms and libraries. She’s also conducted two North American-wide book tours: in 2011, she visited seven cities in a solo tour, and in 2014 she took part in an epic nine-city tour with authors Betsy Greer and Kim Werker in panel discussions at Powell’s Books during Portland Design Week, The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.

Leanne’s talks are always accompanied by large, colourful visuals and personal stories. She enjoys interacting informally with audiences and hearing about their experiences too. Bring on your burning questions!

Talks and Workshop Descriptions

Activism Through Art (lecture)

Author Leanne Prain will take you on an exploratory tour of how artists and designers can use their work to activate social or political change. By sharing a wide variety of examples from around the world, Leanne will discuss how art can be used to implement civic collaborations, community co-creations, conversation-worthy street art, and covert storytelling. Participants are encouraged to share stories of their own subversive art projects.

(Length: 45 minutes to one hour. Format: In person lecture with visual slideshow or web conference delivery. Participants: Up to 100 people. A one hour, hands-on workshop component can be added for a group of 30 for in-person events. Ages 14 and up.)

Sewing Our Stories: Stitch Narratives (lecture)

Inspired by a series of epiphanies that she had while researching multiple books on textiles, author Leanne Prain will take you through a personal journey of how multiple conversations with textile artists resulted in her obsession with linking the stuff we make to the act of storytelling. Amid the weft and weave of textiles, she has found societal commentary, personal confessions, humor, fictional dalliances, the secret lives of oppressed people, and simple snapshots of individual experiences. She believes that weaving a tale or dropping a thread can take on new meaning when we start to see textiles beyond the narrow scope of functional objects but instead, as an important part of the human experience.

From her research into the many motivations of those who participate in the yarn bombing movement, to a candid interview with a man who learned how to embroider while incarcerated, to a woman who stitches recollections of eHarmony dates on hankies; Leanne will share how she thinks that textiles can serve to tell us about ourselves and the lives of those around us. An audience Q&A will follow this talk.

(Length: 30 minutes with a 20 minute audience Q&A. Format: Lecture. Participants: Up to 100 people. Ages 14 and up)

Writing Creatively About Your Art (workshop)

Learn to write creatively about your artistic work. This workshop is designed for people who have no experience with writing. Participants will receive a series of writing prompts that involve tangible art and textile materials, personification, and letter-writing. Leave with a short piece of fiction, an unusual artistic bio, and a wild description of your own artwork.

(Length: One or two hours. Format: Participatory workshop. Supplies: Pens and paper. Participants:  6-15 people. Ages 16 and up)

Contact to inquire about fees and availability. Discounts are available for event organizers who purchase  10 or more of Leanne’s books for attendees.

Past Speaking Engagements (selected) 

Curator Nora Atkinson moderates a panel with author Betsy Greer, author Kim Werker, and author Leanne Prain at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, October 2014.

Guest Speaker & Visiting Author

Turn It Up and Disrupt 2019, UBC Arts and Culture District / International Women’s Day 2017 UBC Bookstore, Vancouver BC /School House Craft, Seattle WA / Interesting Vancouver 2010, Vancouver BC / Radical Reading Series, Canzine Vancouver BC / Hot Talks, Hot Art, Wet City, Vancouver BC / Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto ON / Brooklyn Craft Company, Brooklyn NY / Type Books, Toronto ON / Textile Arts, Brooklyn, NY / McNally Robinson, Winnipeg MA / In Other Words, Portland OR / Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops BC / Courtenay Public Library, Courtenay BC / Gibsons Public Library, Gibsons BC / Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver BC / Lulu Series: Art in the City, Richmond City Hall, Richmond BC / Vancouver City Hall, Vancouver BC / Joy Kogawa House, Vancouver BC / One of A Kind Show, Vancouver BC / Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver BC / Highlights, University College Design Association Design Conference, Victoria BC / Word On the Street, Vancouver BC / Museum of Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco CA / ArtSpeak, Vancouver BC / Vancouver Guild of Fibre Arts AGM, Vancouver BC / Abbotsford Art Gallery, Abbotsford BC / Gabriola Isle of the Arts, Gabriola Island / Super Cool Tuesdays, Vancouver BC / CV WebPosse, Courtenay BC

Classroom Lectures

La Salle College, Vancouver BC / Maple Ridge Senior Secondary School, Maple Ridge BC / Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver BC / SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts, Vancouver BC / Publishing at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver BC / Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Richmond, BC / Christianne’s Lyceum of Literature and Art, teen book club, Vancouver BC

Participating Panelist

Smithsonian American Art Museum. Hosted by Renwick Gallery Curator Nora Atkinson, Washington DC / University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Hosted by Garth Johnson / The Surrey International Writers Conference, Surrey, BC / Institute of Contemporary Art, Art Lab, Boston MA. Hosted by Meighan O’Toole / Portland Design Week, Powell’s City of Books, Portland Oregon. Hosted by Kate Bingaman-Burt / Booksmith, San Francisco CA. Hosted by Rena Tom / Diesel Bookstore, Oakland. Hosted by Lisa Congdon / Creative Arts Centre, Seattle WA. Hosted by Marlo Miyashiro

Design, Craft and Activism Workshops

Gabriola Isle of the Arts, Gabriola Island / Got Craft, Vancouver BC / School House Craft, Seattle WA / The Surrey International Writers Conference, Surrey BC / Makeshift Society, Brooklyn, NY / Makeshift Society, San Francisco CA / Makers Nation, Portland Design Week, Portland OR / Bird on A Wire, Vancouver BC / DIY or Die, Vancouver BC / MakerFaire Vancouver, Vancouver BC / West Vancouver Public Library, West Vancouver BC / The Gastown Pop Up Shop, Vancouver BC

Event Host

Making the Invisible Visible in Canadian Design, Vancouver Design Week 2018 / Regeneratus Artist Talk, The Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver BC / Fictionistas Author Tour, 2013 Vancouver BC / City Conversations, SFU Public Square Vancouver BC 2014

Reading Series

The Clarence Reads at Word Vancouver 2018 / Authors For Indies, Peoples Coop Books 2017 / W2 Real Vancouver Writers Series, Vancouver BC 2010 Olympics Edition (in The Burning Building)

Event Webcasts

FanFare Web Cast with FiberArts Magazine / State Library of NSW, Sydney, NSW, Australia