The conference ‘Lace: the transgressive thread’ was attended by about 60 people on Friday. It marked the inauguration of the Lace Research Network a centre for lace research at UCA Farnham. There were 9 speakers talking about different aspects of lace. The first keynote speaker was the American textile artist Piper Shepard whose exhibition of cutworks accompanied the conference and illustrates this blog. The second keynote speaker was Lesley Millar, curator of the Lost in lace exhibition at Birmingham in 2011 who spoke about lace in cinema as mise en scene. Carol Quarini talked about contemporary uses of the doily and the net curtain in fine art and Angela Davies described her Golau light project. Dorie Millerson spoke about her needlelace practice and Joy Buttress discussed her work with gloves and underwear linked to lace. After these papers on contemporary practice, the afternoon was given over to talks on lace as historical artefact. Gail Baxter spoke about the hidden hand in the archive and in the story of lace. Beth Walsh discussed the role of lace in the 17th century and Emma Ferry’s paper concentrated on the political lace designs of WH Pegg.