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Rebecca Fairley - The Open College of the Arts

To find out more details about the transfer to The Open University see A New Chapter for OCA.

Rebecca Fairley

My design work currently lies in creating visual concrete by exploiting its form finding behaviour. I have recently completed a Masters by Research degree; Investigating the Surface Qualities of Concrete Through Creative Practice at The University of Huddersfield. The research explored new ways of using concrete as a decorative material through the investigation of trapping materials within and shaping the concrete’s surface with a variety of materials, including textiles and plastics, resulting in fresh design ideas. I am interested in what I as a person bring to the material and the techniques. As a 40 something woman with children and a previous career in nursing I bring a wealth of experiences and understandings which are woven consciously and subconsciously into my work. The juxtaposition of myself and the concrete (a masculine, urban, grey material) has created something exciting and exceptional.

I gained a first degree in Surface Design in Fashion and Interiors in 2011 at the University of Huddersfield. The course covered working with a whole variety of materials including, textiles, wood, glass, plastics, resins and paper. Learning a wide range of techniques; machine and hand embroidery, screen printing, mono printing, etching, paper manipulation, 3d forms and computer aided design. The ethos of the degree was to encourage research into materials, explore ways of mixing materials and techniques to find new design methods.

During my postgraduate studies I had the opportunity to teach and support undergraduate students through tutorials. This included teaching on the Smart Surface Creations module for second year Surface Design where I encouraged the advancement of research techniques,innovation and actualizing ideas through inventive presentation, demos, student led sample making and power point presentation. I also led consultation tutorials for the BA Surface Design, final year students. Offering guidance, support and feedback throughout their final degree show project.

As a tutor I believe in developing and sharing interests and ideas through safe and open dialogue. To stimulate, support and enable students at every level, assisting them to attain their full potential.


  • The Flooring Show, Harrogate. Harrogate International Centre, September 2013. Display of current concrete surfaces in The Trend Hub with Scarlet Opus the trend forecasting company.
  • International Conference for Flexible Formwork. University of Bath, June 2012. Display of BA and current research throughout the 3 day event, along side international researchers at the cutting edge of fabric formwork for concrete.
  • The Allure of Concrete. Sunbury Embroidery Gallery throughout May 2012. A month long solo exhibition of concrete pieces displayed and accepted as fine art.
  • EcoBuild 2012. World’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment, held at Excel London. Current MA work and BA work displayed along side other students on the University of Huddersfield stand.
  • Surface Design Show 2012. The home of innovative surfaces for architects and interior designers. Current MA work and BA work displayed along side other students from the University of Huddersfield.
  • Researchers Night 2011. Living in a Material World. A University of Huddersfield showcase event celebrating materials research taking place at the university.
  • New Designers 2011. The UK’s most important graduate exhibition, applauding innovation and fresh thinking.
rebecca fairley