Archive for the ‘Research’ category

UAL ranks in overall top 30 in UK’s latest higher education research audit

University of the Arts London ranks among the top research universities with 83% of its research graded as world leading and internationally excellent, following the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF 2014).

UAL is placed by REF 2014 in the overall top 30 UK research institutions for the quality of research submitted. It is a top 5 research university in its broader peer group and first in the Power ranking in the Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory category.

Analysis by Times Higher Education shows that UAL enjoys 15.22% market share of all art and design research in the UK, by far the largest share of any institution.

Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor of UAL, said:

“UAL is known as a centre of excellence in practice-based teaching. I am delighted that we are now also recognised as a leading research university. We are making important contributions to global research on creative practice, sustainability, fashion, curation and the history of art and design.”

UAL has the largest community of designer and artist researchers in the world, and is a dynamic location for contemporary art historical research.

This is the most influential UK-wide benchmark for research. The results will be used by the four UK higher education funding bodies to allocate research funding to universities – around £2 billion per year from 2015-16.

Notes
1. REF 2014 provides a robust and thorough assessment of the quality of universities’ research in all disciplines. The research of 52,061 academic staff from 154 UK universities was peer-reviewed by a series of panels comprising UK and international experts, and external users of research.
2. REF 2014 was undertaken by the four higher education funding bodies for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It replaces the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), last conducted in 2008. The results are available at www.ref.ac.uk
3. REF 2014 was a process of expert review. HEIs were invited to make submissions in 36 units of assessment. Submissions were assessed by an expert sub-panel for each unit of assessment, working under the guidance of four main panels. Sub-panels applied a set of generic assessment criteria and level definitions, to produce an overall quality profile for each submission.
4. The overall quality profile awarded to each submission is derived from three elements:
a. The quality of research outputs. This contributes 65 per cent of the overall quality profile. The panels reviewed 191,150 submitted research outputs.
b. The social, economic and cultural impact of research. This contributes 20 per cent of the overall quality profile. This is a new feature in the assessment framework. The panels reviewed 6,975 submitted impact case studies.
c. The research environment. This contributes 15 per cent of the overall quality profile.
5. UAL places 26th out of all UK higher education institutions who submitted to REF 2014 in all subjects.
6. 83% of UAL’s research was assessed as world-leading (31%) and internationally excellent (52%).
7. Of all UK higher education institutions in unit of assessment 34 (Art & Design: History, Practice and Theory), UAL is 1st in the Power ranking.
8. UAL is 5th of all higher education institutions from peer group D who submitted research in unit of assessment 34: Art & Design.
9. UAL’s research case studies can be found at http://www.arts.ac.uk/research/research-impact/

 

 

Nigel Carrington praises UAL’s research community following REF 2014

After years of hard work, we now know that UAL has achieved an outstanding result in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. You can read our public statement on the UAL news pages.

83% of the research we submitted was graded as world-leading and internationally excellent. This places UAL in the overall top 30 UK research institutions in the UK for the quality of research submitted.

To put this in context, REF 2014 is the most influential and far-reaching UK-wide benchmark for research. The results will be used by the four UK higher education funding bodies to allocate research funding to universities – around £2 billion per year from 2015-16. So this result should have a big influence on our fortunes over the next six years.

As I have said more publicly, UAL is known as a centre of excellence in practice-based teaching. I am delighted that we are now also recognised as a leading research university against international benchmarks.

I want to pay tribute and thanks to the leadership of Professor Oriana Baddeley, UAL’s Dean of Research, and to the huge efforts of the entire research community at UAL. We are making important contributions to global research. It is right that this is recognised.

Nigel Carrington
Vice-Chancellor, UAL

Awarded UAL MPhil Maria Christoforatou exhibits in London

Maria Christoforatou graduated earlier this year from CCW with an MPhil, we caught up with her to talk about her experience at UAL and what she has been doing since.

Why did you choose to study your MPhil at CCW? Was it a good experience?

I chose to study at CCW because I was confident in the high academic standards and knowledgeable and experienced tutors. It was challenging and enriching experience throughout.

What was the transition from MPhil researcher to independent practitioner like?

Since finishing my MPhil course, less than a year ago, I had 3 solo exhibitions and several group shows. I feel well equipped to explore and present my ideas and my work. I am ready to dedicate myself to further developing and expand my artistic vision.

How has the MPhil influenced your work and career?

It gave me a deeper understanding of both the theoretical and practical aspects of art. Also the extensive study and research opened doors to better appropriating the various aspects of my practice.  Most of all it gave me confidence in expressing my ideas and putting them into work.

Tell us about the work you are including in this solo exhibition; is it different from your MPhil work?

I am expanding the research that I have undertaken and developing new vision and possibilities for my art work.

Maria Christoforatou: Constructing Spaces

28 November – 30 November 2014
The Chocolate Studios, Flat 21, Shepherdess Place 7, London N1 7LJ
RSVP/contact: kornelia.pawlukowska@gmail.com

The exhibition Constructing Spaces presents new works by London based artist Maria Christoforatou. Christoforatou works across a variety of medium including drawings on paper, installations, sculpture, oil paintings and most recently collage.

Her practice examines the emotional effects of displacement in relation to notions of home as a place of refuge and departure, as well as the ways in which art can expose the effects of forced displacement, making observable such feelings as fear,
pain and loss. It is clear that her own personal experiences from the past, which has seen her lose two homes in fire has had a huge impact on her artistic practice.

Maria Christoforatou Constructing Spaces

Through her research Christoforatou examines critically the relationship between the romanticised notion of home, as a place of safety, security, comfort and belonging, and the emotional and material impact of its loss.

To express this concept, the artist deconstructs architectural and physical elements of a house, that are normally seen but overlooked, such as pipes or scaffoldings, to recreate a variety of pieces. By doing this Christoforatou emphasises that the
concept of a home can be very unstable, precarious and vulnerable reflecting the many changes and insecurities that humans have to face today.

The limited use of colour, the absence of people, the use of subtle lines, juxtaposed with the reproductions of Tudor and Victorian houses, as well as gable houses, are what characterise and distinguish Christoforatou’s work.

About Maria

Maria Christoforatou received her BA (Hons.) in Fine Art from the Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) in Greece and her MA in Fine Art from Wimbledon College of Arts, University of the Arts London. Recently she graduated from CCW Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London with an MPhil in Fine Art Practice-based research. As part of her research she has been investigating narratives of home and displacement in contemporary art practice.

She recently had a solo exhibition called ‘Dislocated’ at The Gallery @Idea Store Whitechapel, London, UK (2014) and another called, ‘Un-build’, at the Galeria-Atelier Metamorfose, Porto, Portugal (2013). During her career she has taken part in shows in Greece, UK, Italy, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands and USA, and awarded academic scholarships for her work in Greece (Academy of Athens, IKY). She has also been involved in organizing numbers of workshops in London for Tate Galleries, Barbican, Parasol Unit and The National Gallery as well as in Greece and Italy.

Further information about the artist:

Call for Papers: Writing Histories of the Moving Image

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Call for Papers

‘Writing Histories of the Moving Image’
A Doctoral symposium to be held on Thursday 26 March 2015 at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (University of the Arts London) Kings Cross

Deadline for submission of proposals: 19 January 2015

This call for papers invites submissions for the symposium Writing Histories of the Moving Image.

Moving image studies have been readdressing histories of artists’ film and video, expanded cinema, independent, community and activist film/video since the early 2000s. Recent research has often focussed on practices that go beyond earlier accounts that segregated histories of cinema, art and other forms of reception, distribution and engagement.

Moving image studies thus examine a wide range of histories, including those of exhibition contexts (Balsom, 2013; Uroskie, 2014), alternative approaches to television (Connolly, 2014), or documentary art practice (Demos, 2013). Moving image studies also frequently locates overlooked practices excluded from existing narratives, and in doing so casts a new light on the processes of inclusion and exclusion at work within historical accounts.

The discourse of moving image research reveals that its histories are open, and can be understood from a number of differing theoretical and critical perspectives. Scholars from different fields of academia such as Art History, Anthropology, Philosophy, Gender, Media and Film Studies, have contributed diverse theoretical approaches that have helped to broaden, deepen and contest histories of the moving image.

Writing about artists’ and experimental moving image is therefore built on a fragmentary patchwork of discourses, theoretical concerns and methodologies. While the approaches are diverse, these new histories have often set out to re-read canons, create new narratives, and disrupt boundaries between media and forms of film and video making. In light of these developments, this symposium aims to examine how and why academics today are writing historical narratives about moving image practices.

We invite submissions from speakers that explore new approaches to the histories of the moving image. The day-long symposium will consist of two panels and each speaker will present for 20 minutes. There will also be screening sessions, events relating to The British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection (part of the Central Saint Martins Museum) and a screening event co-organised with students undertaking the MRES Moving Image at CSM.

The symposium is organised by Claire Holdsworth and Colin Perry, who are currently undertaking PhDs at CSM. It is being organised with support from CSM Research. As well as encouraging submissions relating to PhD and post-doctoral research, we also welcome proposals from academics and curators with insights and interests relating to writing histories of the moving image.

  • Please send a 300-word abstract proposal, and 3-5 keywords, along with your full name, institutional affiliation and a short biography (ca. 50 words).
  • Proposals should be submitted by email with the subject heading “Proposal: Writing Histories” to:
  • Claire Holdsworth (c.holdsworth1@arts.ac.uk) by 19 January 2015

We look forward to receiving your submissions.

Further reading:

Call for Papers: Fast Forward: Women in Photography – Then and Now

Image ©Anna Fox from the series Back to the Village

Image ©Anna Fox from the series Back to the Village

Following a lively panel discussion about the role of Women Photographers, both historical and current, held at the TATE Modern in April 2014, we are now inviting papers and visual presentations for a conference to be held at the Tate Modern, London in the autumn of 2015.

The original panel brought together women from across the globe to explore and identify key themes and issues pertinent to women’s work in photography in the 21st century. The energetic debates and presentations were inspirational. Through these discussions key issues were identified, informing the development of work for women in photography, highlighting the need to ensure a place for women in the burgeoning histories of the medium.

The TATE Modern, The University for the Creative Arts, and UAL Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC) (at London College of Communication, UAL) are now organising a two-day conference, Fast Forward: Women in Photography – Then and Now, to be held at the TATE Modern on 6th & 7th November 2015.

This call for papers and artist’s presentations is looking for for submissions that explore the significance of women’s photographic practices both historical and contemporary, addressing key themes pertinent to current photography research and to celebrate the best work produced by women in photography.

Themes might include: new technologies, re-interpretation of archives and histories, vernacular and amateur photography, social and political impact of photography today, identity and sexuality, activist photography , collaborative practices, staging the real, culture of confession, histories of working concerning production and dissemination ie: collectives/co-ops, web dialogues, networking and social media. In the critical discourses emerging from practice and theory, related to these themes, it is vital today to consider the historical and contemporary place that the work of women in photography occupies.

Submission of papers as follows:

  • 19th January 2015 submit 500 word abstracts for anonymous peer-review
  • 16th March 2015 Successful applicants will be notified after this date.
  • 30th September 2015 Full Paper/presentation required.

Please email submissions to: FASTFORWARD@ucreatve.ac.uk
For any enquiries please email: FASTFORWARD@ucreatve.ac.uk

Two Halves // Dolly Sen and Peter Matthews

Dolly and Peter final

Two Halves is a monthly thoughticle spotlighting two people connected by London College of Communication.

Our aim is to showcase the conceptual intentions, deeper thinking and personal insights that come with the creative process.

If you would like to nominate someone for Two Halves, please email Natalie Reiss (n.reiss@lcc.arts.ac.uk).

DOLLY SEN

“reality is a cheeky bastard”

• My name is Dolly Sen and I am a professional mad person. I spend my time creating art, mischief, things that don’t exist, and working in mental health as a trainer, speaker and consultant.

• I was a student at the London College of Communication (LCC) between 2007-2010, studying film and video, and last year I was commissioned to make a film – Outside – by Sal Anderson, who set up the Institute of Inner Vision, LCC.

• Outside is my experience of psychosis and was shown at the Barbican in 2013.

• Psychosis is akin to collage, a cutting out of reality to present a story/experience that can’t be faced in its purest form. I don’t know of any way to explore psychosis except through art.

• What prompts all my work is the interplay between concepts of ‘madness’ and ‘reality’, so it continues along that line.

• The source material is not a newspaper or magazine, but the complex human being. Without complexity, there would be no art.

• I don’t start with the medium. I start with the idea and then decide which medium is the best way to convey it.

• I do cross-pollinate a lot. If you go to one of my artistic blogs, you can see in the last year I have used visual and conceptual art, poetry, websites, participatory action, performance, subversion of everyday objects, film, writing, and comedy to explore my ideas.

• There are many films professing to show the experience of psychosis. Although there are a few exceptions, mostly it has been done very badly, made by people who have never experienced it and are informed by previous inaccurate cinematic portrayals of psychosis. Think about it this way: you may know the language, the food, the culture and the history of, say, France, but unless you live there, how can write about what it is to be French? There aren’t nearly enough films made on psychosis by people who know it first hand.

• I am not always so serious. In fact most of my art has a playful, irreverent element to it. I don’t know if you will be able to print this, but I think reality is a cheeky bastard, and I am putting him over my lap and slapping his naughty arse through my art.

Dolly Sen is currently training to be an occupational therapist and her film, Outside, has just featured in Mind Rights Film Festival.

http://www.dollysentraining.com/

PETER MATTHEWS

“There’s very little reason to produce art if you don’t keep faith with reality”

• I’m a Senior Lecturer on BA (Hons) Film and Television at LCC. I recently started working on a short film with Sal Anderson (Reader in Interdisciplinary Art-Science Film), David Knight and Jaime Peschiera, who all teach on the course. The film is about bipolar disorder and I believe it marks the first time so many course team members have collaborated on research. It looks like I will be contributing as script advisor and facilitator. The film will be produced under the aegis of the Institute of Inner Vision.

• The first piece (of art) I recall doing that satisfied me creatively was a profile of the old Hollywood star Bette Davis for a long defunct journal called The Modern Review. I think the year was 1992.

• I’ve just written an article on Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1972 film The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant for The Criterion Collection, a New York-based distribution company, and I’m currently tinkering with the final draft.

• I have two degrees in English literature, and I always bring that knowledge to bear on teaching as well as my own writing practice. I encourage students to read widely beyond academic film texts, to attend exhibitions and generally enter into dialogue with other art forms.

• We live in an age of specialisation, and however quaint it sounds to policymakers, there’s still much to be said for the value of a traditional liberal arts education. I’m certainly one for tearing down the artificial barriers between disciplines. Film that looks only to itself is apt to grow sterile and solipsistic.

• My creative practice of writing essays and reviews necessitates spending a great deal of time alone. I will admit that I enjoy the feeling of single authorship. Yet inhabiting the ‘zone’ of writing can be scary. When the words aren’t flowing, I grow intensely aware of my isolation and it’s easy to lose perspective.

• Every artist learns both from tradition and contemporary work, but it can be paralysing if such influences become too dominant. Filmmakers who merely copy the effects of a Scorsese or even a Michael Haneke (to name two examples popular among the students) are apt to end up with a soulless exercise in technique. I think these sources of inspiration should be absorbed and then essentially forgotten about.

• There’s very little reason to produce art if you don’t keep faith with reality (I’m paraphrasing André Bazin here). It would be naïve to suppose we could ever capture it raw. The mediations of the artist may result in something quite phantasmagorical, but that in no way precludes reality – by which I mean a core of emotional truth.

• I believe that film criticism is a branch of writing, and when undertaken seriously, may approach the condition of art.

• I am most proud of an essay I wrote fifteen years ago for Sight & Sound on the French film theorist André Bazin. The runner-up would be a feature on Hitchcock’s Vertigo for the same magazine in 2012. Usually I’m frustrated by the enormous gap between intention and achievement, but I remain proud of these articles because in both cases I found the right words (more or less).

Peter Matthews’s short film will be complete by the end of 2015.

Read more about the Institute of Inner Vision

The post Two Halves // Dolly Sen and Peter Matthews appeared first on London College of Communication Blog.

Josefin Tissingh tells us about her work in TEXTILES TOOLBOX

Josefin 2

Josefin Annie Tissingh, Sweaver

Tell us about the work you are including in Textile Toolbox: Sweaver, by Josefin Tissingh – why did you chose this work?

Sweaver is inspired by past and present Swedish textile consumption habits. When I went home to Sweden last Christmas I asked my 94 year old grandfather about the clothes he wore and where he bought them. The things he told me were naturally extremely different to how we consume and dispose of our clothes today. I found a recent report on Swedish textile consumption with a lot of intriguing and slightly frightening statistics. What stood out for me whilst I was reading the report was the amount of textiles that each Swede consumes per year and the current lack of good disposal options. According to the report we don’t recycle any textiles in Sweden today.

I started to think about what I could do about this waste with my craft skill, which is weave. I started playing with an old Swedish technique called Rep Weaving. This technique was in the olden days used to utilize the very last scraps of household textile waste. There are 10 000 registered weavers in Sweden today according to the Swedish textile craft (Textil Hemslöjden) website. My piece for the TEXTILE TOOLBOX exhibition begins to explore the possibility of developing a service between Swedish weavers and consumers to prolong the life of textiles and minimize waste.

Where do you mostly work/research, in your studio/at UAL or in the library (if a library, which is your favourite?)

To be able to keep up with latest sustainable textile developments I do most of my research online. But there’s nothing better than finding a relevant, current book in one of UAL’s great libraries. The old, quiet reading room in the Chelsea Library is amazing!
I recently received the Cockpit Arts/ Clothworkers’ Award, so I do most of my creative work in my studio in Deptford. You can see more of my work and process at the Christmas open studios the 5-7th of December.

What is it like to be part of TED and TFRC? How does it affect your work?

TED was one of the main reasons that I chose to do my BA in Textiles at Chelsea College of Arts. The team has a wide and deep knowledge of sustainable textile design, gained through many years of design research. It’s an intense and high pace workplace where the lead researchers simultaneously work on a range of different projects as well developing their own design work. During my time at TED it has become very clear to me how incredibly technical and chemical the making of textiles are. It has given me the time to reflect on my own work and my responsibility as a designer. This knowledge has made my own design process slower and more complicated, but more interesting, refined, holistic and environmentally sound.  This meets my values as a practitioner better.

How do you balance your work as Research Assistant and practitioner?

At the moment I work one day a week at TED and two and a half days in my studio, and that works well for me. I value having a job that so naturally feeds into my creative practice.

Review // LCC turned Inside Out

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‘Framing the Elephant’ at LCC. Image © Filip Bigos

The LCC Graduate School was proud to host a series of events recently as part of the Inside Out Festival 2014. Ranging from a pop-up drawing event to a documentary film screening, the events brought students, the public and industry experts together in celebrating London’s vibrant culture.

Photography PhD student and MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography graduate Zephie Begolo reports.

Monday saw the pop-up drawing event ‘Framing the Elephant’, which was run by Grace Adam, who teaches design at LCC and across UAL. The window of LCC’s Typo café was turned into a canvas as frames were stencilled onto the glass – not permanently! – and people were invited to draw what they could see outside.

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‘Framing the Elephant’ at LCC. Image © Filip Bigos

They washed the images off after photographing them and started again. This created a buzz in the café and saw lots of people, from arts to journalism and business students, picking up their Posca pens and giving it a go.

Grace, who specialises in working with spaces we build and negotiate, said: “We’ve had all sorts of people giving it a go. It’s all about getting people to draw who don’t normally draw and getting them to take a few minutes to really notice and appreciate their environment.”

That evening, Professor Lawrence Zeegen, Dean of the School of Design at LCC, presented his new book and accompanying exhibition ’50 Years of Illustration’.

Taking the audience on a personal journey through the world of illustration, Professor Zeegen also charted the past five decades in the industry, from the psychedelic idealism of the ’60s to the stylised, overblown consumerism of the ’80s, right through to the beginning of the 21st century.

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Attendees explore ’50 Years of Illustration’. Image © Filip Bigos.

He shone light on professionals who have created some of the most iconic images across the generations, noting work that has been of social and political importance and demonstrating how illustration through the decades has been informed by and represented the social zeitgeist.

A preview of the exhibition followed the talk and included an impressive array of familiar illustrations. Coinciding with the beginning of a new MA in Illustration at LCC, this event was a celebration of the subject’s rich and colourful history.

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‘Is Silver Surfing the Solution for Social Isolation?’ panel debate. Image © Filip Bigos.

On Tuesday an expert panel gathered in the Main Lecture Theatre to discuss the topic ‘Is Silver Surfing the Solution for Social Isolation?’. LCC’s own Amanda Windle, DigiLab Fellow, presented research that has been conducted into people’s relationship with technology over the age of 65 and discussed a new app aimed at getting more people engaging with social media.

The debate was chaired by Sarah Johnson of the Guardian and she was joined by Thomas Giagkoglou, Course Leader BA Media Communications; Tim Burley, Development Director of artsdepot; Marcus Green, Research Manager at AgeUK and Michele Fuirer, Artist and Specialist in Learning – Public Programmes at the Tate.

The panel discussed the increase in feelings of isolation among the older generation and how these might be counteracted through arts and technology initiatives that could build social networks.

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Richard Wilson talks to William Raban about ’72-82′. Image © Filip Bigos.

Lastly, Thursday saw the screening and interview ’72-82: Richard Wilson in conversation with William Raban’. The film ’72-82′, which brings together rare archive footage, interviews and images of the first decade of the groundbreaking London arts organisation, Acme, was created by LCC’s Professor of Film William Raban.

He worked in conjunction with Wilson, who went on to become a renowned sculptor following his time at Acme. The film provided a fascinating insight into the lives and community of the thriving arts scene in London and the ways in which artists were supported by Acme, and given the opportunity to work and create, who otherwise might not have been able to survive in London.

In the discussion following the screening, Wilson described the sense of freedom that was afforded to the Acme artists in taking over derelict buildings in the East End and often incorporating them into their artwork, creating a unique mode of expression for all the artists involved.

Professor Raban emphasised his love of the capital and how it is an extraordinary breeding ground for inspiration and creativity, which leads him to continue to make films about the city.

Watch the discussion between Raban and Wilson //

The Inside Out Festival, which is curated by the Culture Capital Exchange in association with Times Higher Education, aims to shine a light on the contribution of London’s universities to the vibrant creative culture of the capital.

Words by Zephie Begolo

Read more Research at LCC

Read more about the LCC Graduate School

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Miriam Ribul tells us more about the TEXTILES TOOLBOX exhibition

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Miriam Ribul, DeNAture research samples, 2014

Miriam Ribul is an Associate Lecturer at UAL and has been part of the team of researchers from UAL involved with the MISTRA Future Fashion project funded by the Swedish Government’s Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research. Here she talks about the piece she is exhibiting in the TEXTILES TOOLBOX exhibition and how she juggles her time…

Tell us about the work you are including in Textile Toolbox: why did you chose this work and do you always collaborate with Hanna?

In January this year I lead a science-design research project in Sweden with funding from COST, the European Cooperation in Science and Technology, titled ‘Design Possibilities in Regenerated Cellulose Materials’. As a designer in residence at Chalmers University of Technology and SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden I had access to world-leading research in chemical recycling technologies for cellulose fibres. Dr Hanna de la Motte, a technical scientist and the project leader in project 5 in the MISTRA Future Fashion consortium titled ‘Reuse, Recycling and End of life issues’, hosted this project.

Hanna researches innovative methods for chemical recycling of materials including regenerated wood-based cellulose fibres. Through observation, interviews and lab tests I recognised the need for faster and more accurate identification of materials at the recycling stage and for the development of a system that embeds material information in the fibres without disrupting its properties. By applying design thinking in a technical laboratory environment I developed my project ‘DeNAture’ to aid cyclability of resources. The prototypes in the Textile Toolbox exhibition communicate the outcomes of the design residency.

Where do you mostly work/research, in your studio/at UAL or in the library (if a library, which is your favourite?)

The COST residency is an example for how, as a designer I work in different contexts: in this case the lab became my studio where I had access to materials and tools. The parallels of processes of a textiles designer and a technical scientist were significant. I discovered that the tools in a lab can be very advanced and specialist or improvised and DIY.

There is a similar approach to this in my design practice where I adopt tools from different disciplines depending on project. I have a studio space in East London as my home base for making and exploring materials. As Part Time Research Assistant and Associate Lecturer I am based at UAL, and being part of the team of the international MISTRA Future Fashion project I travel regularly to conferences, researchers meetings or workshops. I enjoy the library at CSM and Chelsea when I get the time to work there. This leads to a very varied range of workplaces.

What is it like to be part of TED and TFRC? How does it affect your work?

Being part of TED and TFRC I work with an inspiring cohort of researchers in a unique research environment that explores sustainability through different approaches. My practice is research-based and being embedded in the research culture at TED and TFRC since the start of the MISTRA Future Fashion project I am part of small to large research projects with varied deliverables and outcomes, as well as small to large industry engagements. This leads to exciting project outcomes that prove to have real impact. My work as part of the team as well as my individual practice is linked in my aim to develop sustainable systems that can be applied to different contexts.

How do you balance your work as Research Assistant and practitioner?

As a practitioner I explore the boundaries to which design can contribute and this approach feeds into my whole portfolio of work. I work as designer and researcher for independent projects or in consultancy engagements for a range of industry clients – my completed projects include concepts for future mobility and communication. I am also Associate Lecturer at UAL leading the ‘Sustainable Design’ unit at Chelsea to a cross-disciplinary student cohort from the courses Textiles Design, Interior and Spatial Design, and Graphic Design and Communication. In 201, I co-founded the design initiative Vectors and co-curated the exhibition ‘Design Beyond Making’ that launched at the Protein gallery. The initiative builds a platform to communicate new roles for designers beyond products.

Related links and further reading:

Meet Professor Becky Earley Director of TFRC and find out more about Textile Toolbox

Fractal Shirt Becky Earley

Fractal Shirt (2013) by Professor Becky Earley

Professor Becky Earley, Director of Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC) tells us more about the upcoming Textiles Toolbox online exhibition, which launches on 13 November 2014.

This exhibition is to showcase the developments in the MISTRA project so far, do you think you have progressed with your aim to bring about significant change in the fashion industry leading to sustainable development within the industry and throughout wider society?

The brief is ‘systemic’ change, and we have been designing prototypes that propose change in terms of systems and services. The concepts that we are proposing through the exhibition include: the idea of textile design and mending for the fashion library; short life fashion materials that are appropriately made and disposed of; disruptive technology that changes the way that garments are cut, embellished and seamed; and technology systems that communicate fibre content to aid with sorting for recycling. You will have to view the show to see the others – but yes, we believe that they all signal new ways to think about how the industry may work in the future!

The consortium as a whole has begun to have a significant effect on the industry: with fibre and recycling research (Fortex testing, cotton bed sheets to cellulose research); consumer behaviour recommendations (Five Ways); policy recommendations (prolonged producer responsibility); ‘public fashion’ (recommendations for textiles in hospitals); as well as our own interventions with design teams in small, medium and large businesses (through Konstfack, the Sustainable Fashion Academy (SFA), and H&M).

The important thing about this funding is that it recognises that research takes a while to create impact. The other thing is that the funding programme extends to a further 4 years (2015 – 2019) – this to specifically ensure dissemination and impact. Working with the industry stakeholders over the last 4 years we have been able to continuously adapt our ideas to suit needs and demands.

Tell us what’s next for you and the project

We are working towards a final report for the middle of next year which brings all the TED research together and will go through an industry peer review process. The phase 2 proposal has already been submitted and it focuses on designing for the circular economy. All the projects will work together more closely in the next phase to create viable closed loop options for Swedish stakeholders. It’s exciting for us, as our AHRC Worn Again project (2005 – 2009) set out to explore ‘upcycling’ design strategies, so we are able to continue with those ideas here, but now working with larger volumes of production.

Your piece in the exhibition, Fast Refashion, by Prof Becky Earley, how does this showcase the values of MISTRA?

As the programme asks for both systemic and profitable change, we all recognise that fast fashion mentalities and habits in generation Y consumers will be hard to shift in the short term, if ever. However, there is much that can be done to get consumers more involved in their clothing choices and care  – and making it realistic and fun is important to this sector. Fast Refashion gives the consumer creative freedom to remake the garment at least one time before giving it to a friend, or sending it to a charity or a recycling initiative. Extending use by a single simple redesign act makes environmental savings in terms of potentially reducing new purchases, and may raise awareness and build emotional durability. The upcycling can be done with a domestic iron, and the designer support the consumer through online video and downloadable tutorials. Of course it’s an experiment, but in the next phase when we look at this idea with consumer behaviour experts and real fashion library users we will be able to understand more about the potential for the consumer extending the life of garments – either with or without the help of a retailer. (For more reading around this, see my article about The Black Hack Chat in September’s issue of The Design Journal.)

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