Students collaborate to bring The Canterbury Tales to life

Interior Design Workshop

Fashion and Textiles courses

Birmingham City University

Interior Architecture and design courses

Birmingham City University

Students from BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design have collaborated in a two-week project with students from the School of Fashion. The brief was to create an interior space for the Birmingham Cathedral, wrapped around the concept of an expanded costume for one of the characters of Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’. Within multidisciplinary groups, students chose one of the stories as the basis for their characterisation.

As part of the project the students attended a total of six workshops. These allowed for students to explore costume design and structure, pattern making, drawing, installation and exhibition design.

Interior Architecture and Design students worked together with fashion students to develop alternative design methodologies within the context of the wider visual arts and within a site-specific space. The design highlighted an experimentation of materials and lighting, incorporating fashion pattern cutting and sculpting to fit human form.

The fashion students helped materialise expanded costumes - which were large enough for someone to walk into - utilising their pattern-making knowledge. The aim was for the project to explore the extension of the human form with performance costume. The ‘costumes’ explored the personality, issues and/or background of a specific character or group. They were presented in a way that was designed to be immediately understood by the observer when walking into the costume.

The collaboration enabled students from both schools to explore their individual skills and knowledge in order to create the installation. It gave a chance for both schools to teach new skills to one another and to also explore the experience of collaborating with a different industry.

As a group the students were required to present the final outcome of their workshops by producing the physical ‘costume’ in scale 1:4, these were then presented at the Shell mid-December and was open to the public.

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