Textiles 2: Contemporary Practice

Course Level: 2 (HE5) | HE Credits: 60 | Approx. Duration: 15 months at 10hrs/week


This unit enables you to focus on your individual approach to design using textile techniques as a medium to incorporate innovative tactile and visual ideas. It provides the opportunity for in-depth visual research alongside the development of an awareness of environmental issues, new materials and processes and potential markets. You are free to create design-based or conceptual art pieces. The unit is project based and contextual studies, history and cultural understanding are embedded into the projects. There are no instructions for specific textile techniques but references to technical information are provided where necessary. At this stage it is expected that you will wish to continue to develop your own choice of skills and projects are designed to allow for that development to take place.

Finished work in the form of project pieces is given greater emphasis. Students are guided through the process of developing a finished piece, through research, drawing and sampling, making prototypes and applying finishing processes where appropriate. At each stage students are required to evaluate their work The unit will include the research and investigations necessary to identify specific markets, colour forecasts or the appropriateness of exhibition space and location for one or more of the project pieces.

Students do regular learning log work on historical and contemporary textiles and this includes investigations into new materials and processes.

Students are introduced to digital technology at a basic level and encouraged to explore this as a potential tool and as a further means to developing creative ideas.  Students are not required to purchase additional specialist software but explore the potential of manipulating imagery using scanning techniques and Photoshop.  It is appreciated that not all students will wish to develop these skills beyond this and a further unit dealing specifically with digital applications in textiles is being considered for future development for those students that show aptitude and interest.


The course aims to:

  • A1 extend work done in Textiles 1 by introducing new and innovative techniques and further developing activities of particular interest in greater breadth and depth, both visually and technically.
  • A2 develop your awareness of environmental issues, sustainability and market forces in relationship to textiles
  • A3 develop your ability to work autonomously and design your own project work.
  • A4 improve your ability to critically review and analyse contemporary artists and art movements


On successful completion of the course you will:

  • LO1 Select and evaluate a range of textile media and techniques to develop innovative solutions to set projects and self-generated projects. (A1)
  • LO2 Demonstrate a critical awareness of contemporary and emerging textile practitioners, understanding the diversity of textiles both in historical and cultural contexts.  (A2)
  • LO3 Demonstrate increasing independence in the execution of your work and greater responsibility for widening knowledge.  (A3)
  • LO4 Construct a written argument that is informed by investigative research.  (A4)

Course content

  • Ecological issues and sustainability in textiles, including a practical project using recycled materials to create a design-based product or a conceptual art piece.
  • The use and properties of new materials.
  • Using basic digital technology as a creative tool: manipulating imagery using scanning techniques and photoshop.
  • Museum study as a historical, contextual and visual resource for textile design.
  • Identifying potential markets and display locations for textile work.