The increased understanding and use of textiles as both a decorative and technical material has led to a rapid expansion of the industry into areas such as architecture and engineering.
This merging of textiles technology and aesthetics is complex and requires designers who are able to converse with engineers and scientists, handling technical information as well as expressing conceptual design ideas.
Through established links with the DR-i (Design Research Initiative) and Brighton's School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, this MA is designed to stimulate such diversity in textile design thinking. We are seeking talented students who are keen to push the boundaries and perception of what we understand textiles to be.
This course is suitable both for recent graduates interested in furthering their skills or exploring new areas and markets, and for experienced designers who want to challenge their practice in a creative environment.
Due to the open and explorative nature of the course, students from non-textiles backgrounds such as 3D craft design, fine art, materials development, engineering and science are welcome to bring a fresh viewpoint and build on their existing specialist knowledge.
The first semester is made up of three modules and serves as a foundation to your learning experience, imparting key research skills, exploration beyond your discipline and initial explorative practice-based enquiry.
• Practice-Based Enquiry (Part One)
Spanning semesters one and two, this module provides a reflective environment for rigorous explorative practice-based enquiry and the development of design concepts identified in the self-initiated project proposal submitted at interview. Increasingly informed by research and critical awareness skills developed in the supporting modules, you will explore and reflect on novel design concepts and the application of practice-based research methods. You will also be encouraged to engage with live research, industry contacts and collaborative projects.
• Research Skills and Training
Through a series of lectures and seminar groups with active researchers, you will explore the value of research within a practice-based design context. You will develop research skills and an understanding of different methodologies and how research can be used as a design tool.
• Options module
Placed in the first semester to maximise the potential areas of study, the options module takes advantage of the range of subjects and learning experiences available from across the college. This module allows you to tailor your study and learning experience to complement and inform your specific area of interest from an early stage. Learning alongside students from varied disciplines, you will be able to explore areas of personal interest from subjects including design history, sustainable design, professional practice, and historical and critical studies.
The second semester encourages you to explore diverse cross-disciplinary sources to inform and contextualise your research project before focusing on your final proposal.
• Practice-Based Enquiry (Part Two)
Continuing from initial explorations in Practice-Based Enquiry (Part One), you will develop an increasingly focused, reflective body of work that demonstrates applied research methodologies and an understanding of their position within a broader textiles and industry context. You will conclude the module with a final 500-word proposal to define the area of study that you will undertake in your thesis.
• Creative and Contextual Enquiry
Informed by the learning undertaken in semester one, you will critically engage with and reflect on your subject area, exploring diverse cross-disciplinary influences that inform your practice. Through the use of relevant research methods, this creative contextual enquiry will stimulate awareness and rigorous critical evaluation of cultural, technological and research debates, both within and outside of your discipline.
In the third semester, you will fully integrate your previous learning into the realisation of your thesis.
• Practice-Based Textile Design Thesis
During this self-directed module, you will put into practice the skills acquired throughout the programme of study, working towards the realisation of the final proposal submitted at the end of semester two. You are expected to rigorously explore and fully resolve a body of practice-based textile design inquiry, which should be positioned at the forefront of your academic or professional discipline and advance design thinking within your stated field.
The module contains planned lectures, group seminars and individual tutorials delivered by lecturers who are active researchers or innovative design practitioners. You will have access to a diverse range of lecture series and conferences held at the university as well as exhibitions and trade fairs relevant to your study.
You will have the opportunity to extend your skills through advanced textiles technology, working closely with expert technical demonstrators. Relevant placements or access to external study are negotiable on an individual basis, determined by the requirements of your proposal.
Our facilities range from traditional hand looms, screen printing equipment and knitting resources to advanced industrial textile technologies, including a Mimaki TX2 digital printer, Dornier industrial 20 shaft electronic dobby, twin rapier Powerloom, TC1 Electronic Jacquard Loom and Shima Seiki industrial knitting machine. We also make use of Scotweave design software.
Other resources that you can use include a 3D body scanner, laser cutter, rapid prototyping machine, CNC router and plasma cutter, and 5 axis milling machine. You will have access to our facilities through specialist workshops in knitted, printed and woven textiles, which are run by a highly skilled team of technical demonstrators.
Careers and employability
Successful completion of the course signifies specialist and transferable skills in design and research, and will prepare you for work across the textiles and allied design industries. You could also choose to pursue research in the commercial sector or continue your studies at doctoral level.
Many graduates of the Textiles MA hold high-level design and trend forecasting positions at international companies including Abercrombie and Fitch, Donna Karan, DKNY, Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Cath Kidston, H&M, WGSN and Forpeople.
Others have forged independent careers in the industry, from establishing design labels such as Marchesa, (Keren Craig), Eley Kishimoto (Mark Eley) and Julien Macdonald to textile design studios and consultancies (Larch Rose and Woven Studios).