The 21st century marks the beginning of a new textile revolution, and we believe it is smart, invisible, sustainable, ethical and poetic.
Smart? The emergence of intelligent technologies such as conductive textiles, sensory fabrics, wearable computing, biomaterials, nanotechnology demand greater collaboration between science and design to transform textile design processes and products.
Invisible? New fibers and finishings create textiles with invisible built-innovative functionality such as vitamin-enhanced fabrics, anti-stress fibre, solar-reactive yarns and composite materials.
Sustainable? Increasing demands to consider sustainability necessitate more responsible approaches to textile design. Issues of production, waste and post-consumption drastically change potential design processes and outputs.
Ethical? Demographics, globalisation, changing consumption patterns that impact on markets can be challenged by design.
Poetic? Human need for inspiring aesthetics and comforting material persists. The aesthetic and emotional qualities of cloth and craft become even more relevant in a high-tech, high speed consumer culture.
The world of textiles needs dynamic designers who can propose and realise intelligent, responsible innovations with strategic thought, leadership and personal vision. We provide a think-tank in which to cultivate ideas, reflect on individual practice, and challenge boundaries of textile design. Students investigate issues affecting the textile design discipline in the short, medium and long-term future. Practice-led, the course initiates and encourages design innovation. We support textile designers with the potential to shift existing design boundaries, re-shape how we live and create the textiles of tomorrow.
The course is structured around three different Units, which enable students to gradually build on their design skills and critical judgement.
The course shares part of its programme with a pool of other postgraduate courses: MA Industrial Design, MA Communication Design, MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments and MA Design by Project. Joint lecture programmes as well as interdisciplinary design projects are designed to foster a creative and challenging multidisciplinary environment and the development of experimental and innovative "hybrid" design practices.
Unit 1 - Critical interrogation of practice
The joint postgraduate Critical Context Programme is a multidisciplinary lecture and seminar programme. This programme aims at fostering a critical and analytical perspective of the nature and context of design and culminates in a short multidisciplinary team project and presentation.
Unit 2 - Design challenge
In the first part of the course, students are challenged by a series of design projects which aim at fostering the creation of innovative design proposals and new textiles. Projects may include design related to smart textiles, new materials, interactive design, sustainable textiles, trend forecasting, branding, fashion and/or craft futures. Some of these projects are linked with industry and they differ every year.
Students will be encouraged to challenge traditional techniques and break conventions as well as to explore new technologies such as laser cutting, ultrasonic welding, digital printing and digital jacquard weave. This is the most intensively taught unit. Students will gain new hindsight on the nature and practice of textile design, through group and individual tutorials with a range of design professionals; and via team projects and design presentations led by practitioners.
The particularity of this course is that it encourages innovation in textile design by confronting textile design with other design disciplines. For this reason, guest lecturers come from various fields (textile design, craft, fashion, branding, material and environment consultant, fine art, architecture and interaction design, as well as programming, digital art and web and graphic design).
Unit 3 - Design Future
This unit is dedicated to the development and realisation of the personal Master Project, which has to be located within a chosen 'future'. Students have to produce a body of comprehensive and thorough research with appropriate methodologies. This is mostly a self-directed study time. The justification and critical analysis of the MA Project is inherent to the creative process. This should be reflected in the Master thesis which is a critical evaluation of the design project. Students are encouraged to take risks and to produce a body of experimental work before the realisation of the final design work. Work produced at Master level should be original, innovative and sophisticated, and should contribute to advance the discipline of textile design.