Essential Information

Type Talks and courses
Date and Times Wednesdays from 1 September | 7pm-8pm
Prices Pay what you can/ donations
Booking information to come

Join us for the second part of our exploration into tattooing history and culture. This series will take a deep dive into the origins of Tā Moko and its significance to Maori culture and traditions.

We look at the psychology around getting tattooed and our need for social identity, social information, commemoration, and as ways to continue a bond. What is this need to identify and show affiliation, and what can tattoos tell us about our basic instincts?

We also discuss the influence nautical tattoos and attire have had on fashion through the decades. Looking back to the past, we talk to one of the first female tattooists in the UK about her tattooing stories. Along side this we discover more about the fate of some of the most famous tattooed ladies with retired tattooist, researcher and tattoo historian Terry Manton, as we continue to explore how tattooing traditions reflect our culture.

Inspired by Darwin's quote “There is no nation on earth that doesn't know this phenomenon,” we will look at the connection tattoos have to tradition, culture and identity. Can tattooing inform us about our society as much as any object or artwork in a museum?

Speakers include:

Te Rangitu Netana: Artist and Maori Tattoo/ Tā Moko Practitioner.

Te Rangitu Netana is a Traditional Ta Moko/Maori Tattoo Artist from Aotearoa, New Zealand, and is of Ngapuhi, Ngati Wai and Te Arawa tribal descent. He has been practicing Ta Moko for over 30 years, and is experienced in both modern machine and traditional chisel methods of tattooing. 

Dedicated to bringing back the practice of Ta Moko with traditional tools within his own tribes, Te Rangitu has also travelled extensively throughout his career, sharing his culture and traditions, and working alongside tattoo masters from many other Indigenous cultures. 

He is currently living in the UK, and works from his private studio at a community in Buckinghamshire. He strives to uphold the integrity of his art form in his role as an indigenous practitioner, addressing issues of misrepresentation and misappropriation through educating people about Maori as a living culture. 

Te Rangitu Netanta : Artist and Maori Tattoo/Ta Moko Practitioner Te Rangitu Netana using traditional Ta Moko / Maori Tattooing

Facebook: Te Rangitu Netana Ta Moko  Instagram: @terangitu  Twitter: @terangitu  Website:


Dr Matt Lodder

Dr Matt Lodder is an academic, writer, curator and broadcaster.  He is currently Senior Lecturer in Art History and Theory, and Director of American Studies at the University of Essex. He teaches European, American and Japanese art, architecture, visual culture and theory from the late 19th century to the present, including modern and contemporary art post-1945, digital and "new media" art, and the intersections between art & politics. His research primarily concerns the application of art-historical methods to the history of tattooing  from the 17th century to the present day, with a principal focus on the professional era from the 1880s onwards.

Matt curated "Tattoo London" at the Museum of London in 2016. His latest major exhibition, "British Tattoo Art Revealed," began at the National Maritime Museum Falmouth in March 2017 and toured through to 2021. He also served as the presenter of the landmark television series "Art of Museums", which aired across Europe and beyond in late 2018 and early 2019."

Twitter: @mattlodder      Email:

Dr. Matt Lodder

Amber Butchart: Dress historian, author and broadcaster who specialises in the intersections between politics, clothing and culture.

She is a former Research Fellow at the University of the Arts London, and is a regular public lecturer across the UK’s leading arts institutions. She researches and presents documentaries for television and radio, including the six-part series A Stitch in Time for BBC Four that fused biography, art and the history of fashion to explore the lives of historical figures through the clothes they wore. Amber is an external adviser for the National Crime Agency as a Forensic Garment Analyst, working on cases that require investigation of clothing and textiles. She is the author of five books on the history and culture of dress, including Nautical Chic, the first ever book to track the influence of our seafaring past on the clothing we love.

Amber Butchart :Dress historian, author and broadcaster with her book Nautical Chic


Dr Rebecca Owens: Lecturer in Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing at the University of Sunderland.

Becci graduated with a first class degree in psychology in 2009, and went on to complete her PhD in 2016. Her PhD was based in evolutionary psychology, and examined sex differences in competitiveness with a focus on the function of competitiveness in men. Becci has had a long standing personal interest in tattooing and body modifications and was able to examine this academically post PhD. Her other research interests include male psychology.

Dr. Rebecca Ownes: Evolutionary Psychologist

Dorothy Shaw (nee Heywood): One of the first female tattooists in the UK circa 50s/60s.

Born Dorothy Heywood in the middle of WW2 in Oldham, Lancashire. Dad worked in the cotton mill and Mum stayed home but made sweets, purses, handbags, and took in sewing... anything to help keep food on the table. I much preferred my own company, drawing, painting and reading. Moved to Blackpool in March 1953, continued with my drawing etc. In September 1953 I started Collegiate High School for Girls, in 1957 I was introduced to Eugene by a friend and the rest, as they say, is history....

Dot Heywood in tattoo parlour Blackpool.jpg Prince Eugene's tattoo parlour blackpool.jpg


Needle On skin

National Maritime Museum

  • Guaranteed entry time
  • Access to all free galleries
  • Exposure: Lives at Sea exhibition
  • Paid exhibitions not included
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