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Textile Design: Embroidery - BA (Hons)

Our BA (Hons) Textile Design degree courses nurture fresh thinking and industry-ready creatives through a dynamic and carefully structured three year programme. Our Embroidery option appeals to students who love to build onto and into surfaces, and enjoy working with diverse materials and threads....

Studying with us in 2021/22

It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • Level Undergraduate
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Fashion and Textiles
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Course overview

Our BA (Hons) Textile Design degree courses nurture fresh thinking and industry-ready creatives through a dynamic and carefully structured three year programme.

Our Embroidery option appeals to students who love to build onto and into surfaces, and enjoy working with diverse materials and threads. Drawing on the rich heritage of the subject, the focus during the course is on exploring the new possibilities with the materials and technologies that exist today. Alongside hand skills, including tambour beading and gold work, you become confident with using specialist digital embroidery software and equipment. Students often work onto surfaces they have printed, creating designs with rich surface qualities and dramatic compositions. Ideally suited to working within the luxury end of the market, there are a wide range of applications for embroidery including performance, illustration and visual merchandising.

Studying with us will provide you with the skills, insights and experiences required to succeed in a broad scope of professional textile related roles. Embroidery students secure placements with fashion and interior companies, design studios, designer makers, arts organisations, costume departments, stylists and trend agencies.

By the end of your degree you will have a clear vision of where you fit in the industry and a tailored professional portfolio to take with you. Our BA (Hons) Textile Design: Embroidery graduates are employed as Couture Embroidery Designers, Studio Designers, Designer Makers, Artists and Facilitators and Trend Forecasters. They also take up other roles where their material sensitivity, creativity and problem-solving is valued.

Our brand new hub for the arts in the thriving Eastside of the city has been purpose-built to stimulate creative minds within an open-access, contemporary studio environment. You will become a part of our lively and close-knit student community and be guided by an experienced and passionate team of staff who value the importance of getting to know you as an individual.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

The programme reflects the diversity of contemporary textile practice. We pride ourselves not only on the quality of our graduates, but also the diversity of their work. We want you to be you!

Find your direction

With creativity at the heart of learning, you will develop core design and technical skills while gaining vital professional and industry awareness. The course is brimming with choice points to help you focus your experience as you clarify your personal interests.

You will be introduced to wide-ranging textile processes within the core technical areas of print, weave, knit and embroidery and embrace both digital technologies and traditional craft skills. The exciting potential of cross-disciplinary practice is supported and encouraged, giving you the option to either specialise or combine disciplines to take forward as your means of expression.

Career-focused teaching is designed to support you in identifying professional aspirations from the breadth of opportunity within textile design, and help you to further tailor your learning and portfolio towards them.

Having developed a distinctive and career-focused portfolio through the course, our unique Next Step module at the end of the final year bridges the gap between study and industry, allowing you time to put relevant strategies in place to help you achieve your ambitions with the support of the university network. 

Rosie Gee

Why Choose Us?

  • Students are satisfied with this course! We scored 90 per cent for overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2019.
  • 96% of our students were employed or in further study (DLHE 2017).
  • Our experienced and award-winning lecturers have extensive and broad insights to share with you, gained from key roles in industry or their experience working as practitioners.
  • Live briefs expose you to leaders in the design field and help you develop important collaborative skills.
  • Module timescales are aligned with industry pace, to ensure our students are fully prepared to step into the world of work.
  • We support you in entering key national competitions such as Texselect, the Bradford Textile Competition, Hand and Lock and iDott to get your CV looking sharp from the get-go.
  • We invite esteemed and influential guest speakers to come along and inspire you, from broad areas of the industry from Couture Embroidery Design to Trend Forecasting!
  • Our cutting-edge facilities comprise of industry-standard technology and equipment to ensure you are developing professionally relevant skills and awareness.
  • We know the importance of peer relationships and design fun, collaborative group learning opportunities to help you learn with and from each other.
  • It’s easy to feel at home within our lively creative community. Joining clubs and societies and getting involved with other rewarding volunteer, mentoring and leadership roles will give you a taste of true university living, and you’ll make ‘friends for life’ along the way!
  • Interested in travel? We run study trips that you can get involved with, and offer overseas university exchange opportunities through the Erasmus programme which could see you completing some of your degree overseas in places like Barcelona or Milan.
  • Exhibit your work in your final year at our degree show, the ‘Inspired Festival’, with the opportunity to also be selected for New Designers, London.

Work by Textile Design student Loren Evans

Image credit: Loren Evans

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Essential Requirements

112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels.

Applications taken to the next stage must attend a 'portfolio review' in person in order to receive offer.

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above
  • GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish National 5
  • English Language at grade C or above
  • Maths at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
IELTS Minimum overall score of 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in each band.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • BBC / 112 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.
AS and AS VCE Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • BA (Hons) Textile Design, BA (Hons) Fashion Design, BA (Hons) Garment Technology, BA (Hons) Costume Design and Practice - Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered
  • BA (Hons) Fashion Branding and Communication & BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion - Arts, Media, Publishing, Retail, Commercial Enterprise & Business subjects subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies - Arts, Media and Science subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
DMM
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)
  • Distinction
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 112 pts
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 112 UCAS Tariff Points
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level Maths, grade 5 or above from the IB Diploma will be accepted
International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level Maths, grade 5 or above from the IB Diploma will be accepted
Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers) Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language and Maths taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016.
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma DMM
Scottish Advanced Higher
  • Achieve a minimum of 112 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades CCD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of CD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of CC in two Highers).
T-Levels Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts Merit overall
Other qualifications

If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.

Extra information for EU/International students
Essential

In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good digital portfolio.

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS Minimum overall score of 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in each band.
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).

In addition to the above, applicants will also need:

English Group A - Grade 4 or above
OR
English Group B and Ab Initio - Grade 5

Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

International Students

Entry requirements here

 

International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • £13,200 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

£150 free credit (home/EU students only)

For 2021 entry, all new home/EU undergraduate students will receive £150 worth of free credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

LinkedIn Learning

Free access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 5,000 in-depth and bite-sized courses.

Free Adobe Creative Cloud licence

Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.

Basic materials for testing

We will provide some basic threads/yarns/printing materials for initial testing and experimentation.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected, but is likely to be around £15 per module.

Media consumable items (mandatory)

This course requires the use of consumables, including a sketchbook for practical modules. You will also need to continue to add to your resource of art equipment when necessary.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including basic sewing equipment, scissors and drawing media (wet and dry).

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Competition fees (optional)

If you choose to participate in some external design competitions you may need to cover submission fees.

External event expenses (optional)

If you choose to exhibit or participate in an external event, you may need to budget for exhibition, accommodation and travel costs.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Guidance for UK students

UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS

 Register with UCAS

 Login to UCAS

 Complete your details

 Select your course

 Write a personal statement

 Get a reference

 Pay your application fee

 Send UCAS your application

International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Portfolio Guidance

If your application is progressed, you will be asked to submit a digital portfolio of your creative work. Your portfolio is your opportunity to show us examples of your work and creative interests to support your application. Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips and advice on putting your portfolio together.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Course in Depth

Year one

Guided and encouraged by an experienced teaching team, engaged in current research or practice, and through workshop experiences supported by e-learning, you investigate key areas of constructed textiles, embroidery, printed textiles and surface design before following your own specialist route in the first year of the course.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

This introduces students to the initial stages of the design process, focusing on the importance of original image generation, drawing and self-expression. Students will explore diverse approaches to generating visual information and apply this to begin to build design compositions.

Download the full module specification

This module introduces students to four core design processes: print, weave, knit and embroidery, through extended workshop technical delivery and personal creative expression through making. There will be a strong focus on materiality and fabric properties, which will be related and applied to a specific design context.  

In this module, you will experience a client focused design journey, building experience of working with colour and extending your technical knowledge. Colour will be explored through research, drawing, material investigation and technical development. There will be an emphasis on CAD and digital technologies in the development of a targeted, co-ordinated collection and visualisation of ideas in relation to a specified context, simulating a commercial design project.

Download the full module specification

This module provides an introduction to historical and cultural contexts with international influences for students undertaking level 4 of the BA (Hons) Textile Design degree in order to provide a foundation of design knowledge and understanding, to support studio practice.

Download the full module specification

Year two

In your second year, you explore trends and predictions in fashion and interior design, see the realities of the working world through a live project and a professional experience module, engage with business principles and have the option of an international study visit.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):

This module provides a professional and cultural context for students undertaking level 5 of the BA (Hons.) Textile Design course. The lecture programme and participatory workshops / seminars encourage you to think broadly and critically about contemporary social and professional issues in relation to the place of textiles within international society, preparing you to consider key agendas in relation to your own career path interests.

Download the full module specification

This module has been designed to test and explore potential career pathways within the textile industry. It builds on the theoretical understanding gained in the Textiles in Contemporary Context module, through a practical design experience.

Download the full module specification

This module provides the opportunity to develop important interpersonal skills alongside career pathway knowledge and understanding. The module will include working collaboratively and independently on writing and practically undertaking design briefs that relates to one of the career focused teaching pathways. You will apply knowledge gained about the chosen sector such as product / client / routes to market / costings / marketing & promotion, in developing and communicating a viable industry facing project.

Download the full module specification

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:

The purpose of the work placement module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and BCU Careers.

The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. For example, with the approval of your supervisor, you can determine a project based on your own interests; your supervisor may set you a predetermined project to enable you to work with other students in a way that is appropriate to your subject area; or there may be opportunities for you to collaborate with staff on research projects. In all cases, you must apply your subject skills to an interdisciplinary project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.

Download the full module specification

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year three

Your final year gives you the opportunity to hone your portfolio and experience to suit your career ambitions through focused projects.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.

Download the full module specification

This module enables you to reflect and synthesise previous projects in order to establish a creative direction and career-focused concept / brief to drive personal research and development of the Professional Project. As a creative practitioner, it is an important skill to be able to evaluate successes and evolve ideas from one project to another.

Download the full module specification

The module builds and demonstrates a personal focus of study as a culmination of the knowledge, understanding and career aspirations of the individual in relation to textile design contexts. Practical and theoretical study combine to explore design concepts answering a personal brief with a professional focus. The direction the project takes will be in relation to your experiences of career-focused teaching and immediate professional plans on graduation.

Download the full module specification

This module supports the process of exhibiting / promoting the final project, with a reflective and evaluative emphasis aiming to initiate a viable and continued creative journey. It has been designed to help bridge the gap from academia into industry, and offers support with developing personal promotion, branding and marketing material and building a digital presence. This is also an opportunity to engage in supporting theoretical research to confirm the viability of a proposal/direction, and confirm future goals and career aspirations.

Download the full module specification

Course structure

Year 1

The first year is all about experimentation! You will engage with different approaches to drawing and idea generation, learn in depth about colour, composition and materials in relation to textile design, and be challenged with working to your first client brief. You will be introduced to our workshops to learn and sample in the areas of woven, knitted, embroidered and printed textiles, identifying the technical language (or languages) that best suit your skills and interests.

A contextual lecture/ seminar programme builds knowledge of historical textiles which provides the vital reference points needed within contemporary design as well as critical thinking skills.

Year 2

In your second year, you will extend your technical skills while beginning to understand the scope of career opportunities open to you. You will start the year by learning about key industry sectors and developing a personal CV and creative promotional material to help you establish your areas of interest. 

You will then be introduced to and choose practical design challenges from across five key employment sectors which have been designed to help you consider your place within the industry: 

  • Bespoke Fashion Textiles
  • Contemporary Culture and Craft
  • Retail and Promotion
  • Styling and Trend Forecasting
  • Surface Pattern and Technologies

You will study market and client awareness, trends in both fashion and interior design sectors, commercial considerations with industry-facing projects as well as business principles, ethics and sustainability issues.

You can then choose to end the year by undertaking a professional Work Placement or Collaborative Practice experience, building your knowledge in the workplace or working alongside other creative students from across the Faculty.

Year 3

In Year 3 you will continue your design journey in relation to your chosen career pathway and through your choice of textile language, but with a much more independent and self-directed focus.

You will begin by writing your dissertation around a subject of interest. This will often kickstart themes and concepts that can form the basis of practical work to follow. 

The final project is split into two modules, to help structure the experience. You will firstly engage in broad and personal contextual research to inform and inspire you in creating a professional portfolio of extended design work and resolve a creative brief that is aligned with your creative ambitions.

Our unique Next Step module then equips you with all you need to make the leap into employment, which could be anything from putting together job applications, to writing a business plan or applying for an exhibition…

Find your direction. Learn a range of textile skills, including print, then specialise in your second year.

The learning environment

Our teaching encompasses a wide range of learning and teaching methods, and immersive, interactive studio/workshop experiences are supported by e-learning to provide a holistic experience. Equipment includes a suite of digital printers, jacquard looms, computerised AVL studio looms, digital embroidery machines, V-bed Dubied knitting machines and laser cutting equipment, in addition to traditional facilities which comprise of a dye lab, screen-printing tables, transfer presses, flocking facilities, knitting machines, looms and rug tufting guns.

Studios, workshops, computer suites and library facilities operate late night access to suit night owls as well as early birds!  We have professional support teams on hand to help you every step of the way – organising Disability Support, wellbeing, housing or careers.

Supportive tuition in both one-to-one and combined groups scenarios throughout the course fosters the interchange of ideas and promotes critical thinking. The diverse experience of the academic staff reflects the course ethos – all are practising designers/visual artists and many have worked internationally.

The course actively fosters links with organisations and industry, providing a continuously updated contemporary educational experience.


Studio activities

Practical drawing sessions help to get design projects underway in a friendly and supportive environment, building your skills and confidence by sharing and learning as part of a peer group.

We design stimulating workshops and activities to help to develop problem-solving abilities and interpersonal skills as well as subject specific knowledge and help to prepare you for the real world by setting industry-facing briefs and running design projects as if in a commercial studio. With role-play sessions, reviews and critiques, you have opportunities to test your professional networking skills, ready to take to your perfect job.

Working alongside friends to learn and understand the subject of textiles in relation to the wider industry, you will participate in seminars to discuss contemporary design issues, such as ethical fashion, global trends and international manufacturing, while working out what makes you tick.

Employability

Enhancing your employability

Our BA (Hons) Textile Design degree is designed to ensure you have the skills, vision and creativity to appeal to a range of employers.

With strong understanding and skills in traditional and digital design, you will become adept at a number of textile processes, including print, embroidery, weave and knit. You’ll also gain a clear vision of where you fit in the industry in order to build a strong personal and professional portfolio, using promotional and marketing skills you’ll be prepared to take to future job roles.


Our Graduates

Rebecca-Lewis-Textiles

Rebecca Lewis

Since graduating I have interned with Next menswear in the Print and Graphics Department. My internship with them came after my work was recognised at the 2018 New Designers exhibition, a hub for textile graduates to exhibit their work and make valuable contacts within the industry. The design department at Next contacted me directly after the exhibition and offered me the place.

Read more


Kate Hollowood

My current role is designer maker and company director of my company, Kate Hollowood Design. I work for myself and am currently the only employee, meaning I am responsible for everything involved in running a creative business; from making accounts to following up leads and attending trade shows as well as admin, pricing, quotes, diary bookings, product development and marketing…. the list goes on!

Read more


Gabbie-Armstrong-Textiles

Gabbie Armstrong

I was lucky to have a part time job in the fashion industry during my final year at university. It wasn’t easy to juggle work and study commitments at the same time but I was dedicated to building my career as soon as I could.

The trainee position at Outfit Fashion helped me to understand the company’s structure and the different roles I could have in the industry, but most importantly I learnt about applying the principles of buying/merchandising and design that I had been learning throughout the course. Once I graduated the position became a full time role and I was able to develop my skills within this field even further.

Read more


Chloe Frost

Assistant Editor - Stylus

Watch the video below to find out how Chloe's time on our BA (Hons) Textile Design course helped her discover her dream career.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Our international students

Our course is perfectly suited to students from around the world as we approach textiles from an international viewpoint. Students share experiences and learn from each other, and the teaching focuses, where possible, on the international design industry, from trends to manufacturing contexts, preparing graduates for jobs in the global market. Graduates from the course have worked overseas including USA, Saudi Arabia, France, Laos, Sweden and Finland.

Facilities and Staff

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

You’ll be based in our School of Fashion and Textiles, within The Parkside Building. The Parkside Building is part of our new multi-million pound City Centre Campus development in the heart of Birmingham's Eastside development.

Our staff

Zoë Hillyard

Senior Lecturer & Acting Course Director

Graduating in Embroidery, Zoë Hillyard’s career has combined part-time lecturing with a range of other roles; initially producing embellished knitwear for the fashion industry and later designing tailored knitwear collections for Marion Foale.

An interest in the role of craft production as a livelihood strategy saw Zoë undertake an MSc, developing research interests in the use of design as a strategy within International Development. This led her to spending a sabbatical year developing design education provision at the Textile Institute in Mongolia with the charity VSO.

This experience laid the foundations of her current craft-based practice called ceramic patchwork.  Zoë has developed a new application for the tradition of hand-stitched patchwork, using it as a mending process to revive broken ceramics.  Her work explores concepts of fragility, imperfection, impermanence and resilience.

Zoë exhibits widely and has undertaken private and public commissions, including bespoke ranges for the British Museum and site-specific work for the National Trust.  She exhibited in COLLECT17 at Saatchi Gallery this year and to coincide with her solo show 'Balancing Tensions' at The Anthropologie Gallery in September, held a public stitch event as part of London Design Festival.  Zoë is a member of Contemporary Applied Arts and the Society of Designer Craftsmen.  

More about Zoë

Sarah Burton

Lecturer in Textile Design

Sarah graduated in 2009 with a first class honours degree in Textile Design. Her knitwear collection attracted attention at Graduate Fashion Week winning the Pringle of Scotland Visionary Knitwear Award and making the shortlist for the River Island Gold Award. She went on to study an MA in Fashion Knitwear Design where she was awarded funding through the Paul Smith Scholarship to spend two months in Tokyo, Japan. She was selected as one of 25 graduate designers for Texprint 2012, exhibiting her MA knitwear collection in London, Paris and Hong Kong.

Her personal work is technically driven and has been shaped by an appreciation of knit as a versatile design language. A love of Japanese design has also influenced her simple and functional, yet intricate aesthetic.

Sarah also has a fashion knitwear background in industry, and has worked as a Knitwear Designer with high end Italian label Alberta Ferretti, followed by a more commercial role within a fast-paced swatch design studio. 

More about Sarah

Sharon Bell

Lecturer in Textile Design

Sharon currently teaches on the L6 Textile Retail Management Pathway and with Constructed Textiles students on L5.  

Sharon graduated specialising in knitwear and achieved a first class honours degree in Textile design. She was a winner of the RSA student awards winning the Worshipful Company of Weavers Award. Her collections of scarves were developed into commercially viable products and sold into Liberty of London. Sharon then pursued an MA in Fashion and Textiles, research focused on knitting technology and she won a Bursary from the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters for her research study proposal.

Sharon has over 15 years experience in the fashion and textile industry and a thorough understanding of clothing product development and retail. She has gained an in-depth knowledge of working with multiple retailers including M&S, Monsoon, Next, Jaeger, East, Boden and Hackett. Her career as a designer has progressed to design executive for a large global apparel business whose head office was based in Hong Kong. She managed a team of designers with overall responsibility for design and development in the UK for knitwear.

Sharon has current experience of the complex global fashion business and an understanding of the pressures of fashion and textile students to gain relevant work experience, insights and contacts within the industry to strengthen employability.

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Clare Langford

Lecturer in Textile Design

Clare Langford is currently third year coordinator of the Textile Design Programme and teaches Constructed Textiles on L5 (second year) and L6 (third year).

Having graduated with a first class honours in Constructed Textiles (specialising in weave) Clare went on to win a number of awards including an RSA Design Award which took her to the Kawashima Textile School in Japan. She went on to develop a career as a designer maker, exhibiting work at a number of nationally recognised galleries and craft fairs and being shortlisted for the Crafts Council British Crafts in Japan Award, before starting her career as a lecturer. She has dedicated the last 18 years to teaching in Higher Education and brings her passion for weave, material development and fun learning approaches to her teaching position.

Clare has played a leading role in developing student employability through the organisation of student work placements and the development of industry links and live project collaborations. Her lecturing experience spans across all three levels and disciplines of the textile design programme.

Within her own practice and research interests she maintains a strong focus on material exploration, transformation and the making process. Her approach often involves working with heat responsive materials in the creation of new surfaces.

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Dr. Dilusha Rajapakse

Lecturer in Textile Design

Dilusha is a Lecturer in Textile Design, and an active researcher in the areas of smart materials and dynamic textile design. Dilusha’s multidisciplinary practice-based research examine the fusion of smart materials and textile printing methods in order to integrate animated colour and pattern changing aesthetics onto fabrics without compromising the core textile characteristics.

Dilusha completed his PhD in 2017 and his research was fully funded by the Nottingham Trent University Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship. His doctoral research questioned the unexploited design potential of photochromism and contributed by articulating an approach that can be applied to design a new level of multicolour and pattern changing effects on textile surfaces. He was also a recipient of the Harold Tillman Scholarship Award and completed his MA in Digital Fashion at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. He also holds a BA (Hons) in Fashion Design and Product Development obtained from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. 

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