New textiles tutor: Introducing Katie Taylor - The Open College of the Arts
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New textiles tutor: Introducing Katie Taylor

As a new textiles tutor at OCA I have been invited to introduce myself on the #weareoca blog. I am a sculptural installation artist based in Oxford and my work is heavily research based. My research explores the fabric and clothing found in mass graves and its ability to help forensic investigations after atrocity. Memory, individuality and identity are indelibly left behind within materials and belongings including our bones, and the ability to read this information has fascinated me for years.
I work in a variety of media to explore the interface between materiality and memory, questioning how we are remembered beyond death by means of our bones and our possessions. The conceptual and emotional content of objects is particularly interesting to me as a way to reference identity and these objects are often imbued with a sense of the person to whom they belonged.

Sausage casings and bone ash lace impression (left)
Sausage casing and horse hair stitches on cotton sheet (right)

Materials are really important within my work. Everything has the potential to be used including sausage casings, lead, coffee and concrete amongst other things. What is really important to me is the meaning of the material within the context of the work. I have had opportunities to exhibit my work within the UK and Europe as well as opportunities to speak about my research at several conferences.

I came to further education later in life having completed an art foundation straight from school. I gained a first class textiles degree here at OCA and I am incredibly proud of this achievement. I studied over 6 years, whilst bringing up two young children whilst also working. As a new tutor I come to OCA with direct experience of the huge benefits of distance learning as well as realistic knowledge of the difficulties of it too. I am enormously excited to be supporting students on their journey with OCA.
‘Heartland’ – Casts taken from the internal space of the heart.

OCA has changed massively since I started. There was no textile degree pathway initially, so I enrolled on a Creative arts pathway. I took the only two level one textile modules and around the time I completed these I was able to move over to a new textiles degree pathway but still needed to complete a different level one course. The new modules and courses all look so exciting.
Since finishing my degree here, I have been studying an MFA in Fine Art at Oxford Brookes University and I plan to start a PhD in January 2020 to continue my practice-based arts research.

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