Where and what did you study?
I am a former Birmingham City Univeristy BA (Hons)Textile Design student and graduated in 2008 with a first class degree in Printed Textile Design.
I later decided to further my studies overseas and graduated in 2016 with an MFA in CRAFT! Textiles at Konstfack University College of Art, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, Sweden.
What are your career highlights?
I spent a year in southern Finland teaching at Ostra Nylands Yrkesinstitut Inveon vocational college – a professional placement funded by the British Council Comenius Assistantship Programme. This was my first taste of international education and really shaped the direction of my career in teaching and relationship with textiles (and massively grew my collection of anything Marimekko!)
Nothing really compares with the two intensive years spent at Konstfack in Stockholm. The most challenging, but most transformative. We were a very small cohort of less than 20 students. Here I truly experienced the benefit of a close-knit learning community.
What are your specialist areas of expertise?
At BA level I specialised in Printed Textiles and have a particular interest in manual printing methods. Hand-knitting is my developing skill and pursuit – which I hope to be an expert in one day!
What are your research interests; past and present?
I use craft as a jumping off point for discussion around learning methods and educational structures. My MFA artist research explored the learning relationships between amateur and professional craft artists. I undertook a three week artist residency at my grandmother’s home in suburban Birmingham. Some of this work has been exhibited as part of Craftspace Made in The Middle 2016-17 touring exhibition and a group exhibition Soft Strategies, Harsh Reality at RAM Galleri, Oslo in 2017.
I dream about establishing a hand-knitting degree. Imagine that! Such things do exist, in Sweden for example. Whether hand-knitting needs to be academised is another discussion – but I’d certainly enroll!
Former CRAFT! course-mates and I are in the process of establishing a collective. We all live in different European countries – which will be a challenge but also our unique selling point! We plan to visit each other’s country/home/studio at intervals, continue conversations and make together. How we will publish and share our outcomes (should there be anything tangible) is to be seen…
What’s your favourite part about working for BCU?
I’ve worked at BCU for just over a year now. Just this week I realised how impressive the views from our design studios are. You can see for miles and within that, the constant movement and progress of the city – from grand architectural projects to the daily doings of everyday life.
Inside the building, I am very fortunate to work with an exceptionally dedicated team. This energy feeds back and forth between the teaching team and our textile design students. That’s my favourite part.
What do you believe it takes to work in the fashion and textiles industry?
We have recently re-written our degree programme to support the development of practitioners who can be both specialists and inter-disciplinary in their approaches. This ability to peruse and refine a specialist technique whilst having the confidence to learn and employ new ways of working is going to be crucial for our graduates going into industry.