Call for Entries: Textile Research in Process

School of the Arts, Loughborough University
Textile Research Group
16th November 2011
School of the Arts, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK


Technology such as digital embroidery, print and jacquard, laser and rapid prototyping  are valuable assets in textile manufacturing but can be limiting and may restrict or exclude creative spontaneity and innovation in the design process, development, and production. This may lead to a more superficial approach to the origination of the designs and artefacts, inhibiting conceptual content and promoting mechanical and uniform characteristics where irregularity and subtle variety are less evident in the final textile outcomes. In contrast to this, in relation to traditional processes, human inconsistencies and even error could be promoted as positive qualities, leading to innovation through experimentation and may also embed a desirable degree of character into the textiles. The unexpected can contribute a visual and conceptual depth that is exciting and potentially unique. Within this context the hand-made has  acquired a new value and respect in recent years.

Through a series of illustrated presentations and panel discussions by leading artists, designers, researchers and technologists, the symposium will seek to explore and define the role of hand skills and the value of process in contemporary textiles. Submissions are invited in response to the following topics & questions:

Is knowledge and practical experience of traditional process and specifically hand skills necessary in the context of technological development and is this relevant to contemporary practice? * How do hand skills interact with new technology? * How are inconsistency, spontaneity and error exploited as creative tools in digital process? * Is it desirable to preserve knowledge of traditional hand skills, how is this best approached? * Why might these skills be relevant to contemporary/cutting edge design? * There is an apparently growing demand for hand-made textile products, including bespoke, one-off and ‘high  end’ items, what is the current status of the hand-made? * What is the current demand, and how might we define the market for specialist techniques? * What might be the role of hand skills in education? * Are these traditional skills being passed on to younger generations, and how are they being developed and interpreted? * What are the routes to the passing on of this knowledge, either through formal education or via home, family, and community? * What is the interface with sustainability and ethical issues? * Where do traditional processes and hand methods in specific disciplines (e.g. print, knit, weave and embroidery) contribute to contemporary textile design practice?

Submissions which do not address at least one of the symposium questions will not be considered.


Contributions to the symposium may be made in the form of academic papers and/or illustrated presentations. There is also the opportunity for the submission of 3 minute rolling PowerPoint presentations. Abstracts of 250-400 words (excluding references) and up to three images may be submitted. Submissions should be sent via email to

Submissions are due by April 30, 2011.

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