Textile Design: Embroidery with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

  • UCAS Code: 1029
  • Level: Foundation
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time (4 years)
  • Location: City Centre

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

About foundation courses

This four year programme has been specifically designed to allow students who do not initially meet the entry requirements for a three year degree, to undertake additional level 3 study designed to ensure they are successful on their chosen degree programme.

After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree programmes within the School of Fashion and Textiles.

What's covered in the 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?

  • 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.

Textile Design overview image

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Sunday 24 November 2019. Book your place to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.

Book your place

This course is open to International students

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Discover the School of Fashion and Textiles

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Textile design career paths

Textile Design Career Paths

Graduate Sophie Hawkesford offers an insight into the wide range of career paths that are accessible with a textile design degree.

Read more 

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Alexander McQueen
  • Liberty
  • Paperchase

And in jobs such as:

  • Clothing designers
  • Textile designers
  • Graphic artists
  • Print designers
  • Trend assistants
  • Illustrators
  • Buyers and procurement officers

Entry Requirements

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

UK students
Essential

80 UCAS tariff points.

At the point of entry, students will need Maths and English Language GCSEs grade 4 (C) or above.

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements
A level  CDD. Minimum of 2 A Levels required although Other 6-unit qualifications can be considered in lieu of one A-level subjects. Applicants with 2 A Level qualifications or equivalent can combine with AS levels to achieve required points.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

MMP. Subjects exclude - early years.
Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall. Minimum of 45 credits at level 3. In a relevant pathway.

Scottish Advanced

DDD

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Obtain a total of 10 points or above from three higher level subjects. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificate. Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level) and English Group A – Grade 4 or above or English Group B and Ab initio – grade 5. A combination of GCSEs, A-levels and IB certificates will be considered on a case by case basis

OCR Cambridge Technical Certificate

Must be offered along with either A-levels,AS-levels or BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/BTEC 90 credit diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification/Foundation Diploma in Art and Design/ UAL extended diploma to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

DM. Will be considered in combination with either A-level, AS-levels or BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/BTEC 90 credit diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification/Foundation Diploma in Art and Design/ UAL extended diploma to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.

Scottish Advanced Higher

80 points, minimum DDD from 3 advanced higher level passes.
Must include English Language at Standard Grade
Maximum of three Advanced Highers can be considered together.
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
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS Minimum overall score of 6.0 with no sub-test below 6.5.

Mature Applicants

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

Additional Information

You will be able to access printing and materials at subsidised costs and may need to purchase your own small tools. There are additional costs for national and international field trips, if you participate in these.

  • UK/EU students
  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • £12,800 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. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

UK and EU 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

Portfolio Guidance

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

View additional costs for this course

What's included in your course fees?

To support your design studies you will have access to our fabulous textile workshops, kitted out with both traditional and digital, industry standard industry-standard equipment, including jacquard looms, computerised sewing machines, silkscreen and digital printer facilities, and dye labs.

There are further workshops onsite at Parkside Building, that incorporate that our students regularly use including photographic studios, 3D workshops, a printmaking workshop and CAD suites, all helping to shape your individual style and working methods.

Foundation year

During your foundation year you will be taught in small classes where active participation is part of the teaching methodology.

Your study will involve reading and analysis, discussion and debate, and practical activities which allow you to test and implement your skills and knowledge. In addition to attending classes you will be required to complete preparation and follow-up tasks and activities to support your learning.

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

Fashion and Textile Skills and Processes
40 credits

Fashion and Textiles are two very large and interrelated global industries, they encompass many different job roles. The two disciplines also support a variety of related approaches and activities ranging from business to art practices.

This module will provide an overview of processes and skills that are essential to fashion and textiles and also give you the opportunity to develop the skillset and knowledge that interests you. You will be allowed to develop personal approaches that can incorporate one or a mixture of making, business analysis or communications.

Download the full module specification

Trends Research
20 credits

This module will focus on techniques and strategies for identifying and researching trends, documenting them and how trend analysis can be used in professional practice. In response to seminar discussions and workshops you will experiment with layout and physical compositions to produce a visual interpretation of your findings. You will analyse past, present and future trends using a variety of primary and secondary sources. You will evidence ongoing reflective practice which includes written and visual analysis.

Download the full module specification

Lifestyle
20 credits

This module will allow you to develop an understanding of how the world and lifestyles are changing and how fashion and textiles respond to these changes. Through lectures and workshops, you will be introduced to a range of themes, discussion topics and techniques for future gazing and predicting social and industrial changes, and the development of subcultures and innovations as a result of this and the impact back on to society.

Download the full module specification

Signature Project
40 credits

This module you will allow you to plan, develop and deliver a project that draws on your own, personal creative strategies to facilitate the realisation of ideas appropriate for progression on your BA course.

Download the full module specification

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):

Visual Ideas For Design
20 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

Textile Processes
40 credits

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 context.

Download the full module specification

Client and Colour
40 credits

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

Textiles In Historical Context
20 credits

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):

Textiles In Contemporary Practice
20 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

Professional Pathways
40 credits

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

Entrepreneurship and Design
40 credits

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:

Work Placement
20 credits

The purpose of this 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 ADM Careers+.

Download the full module specification

Collaborative Practice
20 credits

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):

Major Project
40 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

Research For Professional Project
20 credits

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

Professional Project
40 credits

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

Next Step
20 credits

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.


Student Work

Jess Boynton, BA (Hons) Textile Design

Jessica Boynton textile work

Jess’s work shows her interest and commitment to drawing and pattern making, using both traditional and digital skills. She has developed a great commercial design sense, working on live trend briefs throughout the course, and even selling one of her final designs to Osborne & Little.


Laura Marriott, BA (Hons) Textile Design

Laura Marriott student work

Laura learned her digital embroidery skills in her second year and has practised ever since! Her final project demonstrates her fabulous colour sense and personal style. Commitment to design development and technical know-how she is setting up her own studio to keep on stitching.  


Amber Littleford, BA (Hons) Textile Design

Amber Little textile work

A study which aims to be an exemplar for the future of our planet and how humans might develop urban environment that is less destructive and more embracing of systems of plants and animals. A design project by example, designing a bespoke urban green network that is responsive to diverse urban design requirements of Reading city centre.

View more examples of student work...

Further Studies

We have a great record of students progressing to postgraduate study, with two alumni graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2016. Others study Master’s courses in Fashion and Textiles at Birmingham City University, as well as teacher training (PGCE).

Trips and visits

Our course is perfectly placed to get out and about across the country. You’ll visit local venues such as Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and the Botanical Gardens, as well as the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester and Uppingham Yarns.

International travel includes a visit to Paris, taking in the trade show Premiere Vision, retail and cultural venues. We currently participate in the Erasmus scheme welcoming overseas students.

Student stories Jas Gilhooly

Entrepreneur Jas graduated from Birmingham City University in 2012 with a First Class BA (Hons) in Textile Design. She is currently making handmade bags for her own brand J D’Cruz handmade leather handbags.

After graduating, I got to exhibit at New Designers which was an invaluable experience where I gained extensive industry knowledge and contacts.

Textiles BCU Instagram

Follow us on Instagram @TextilesBCU

There’s no better way to see what our students are creating. Instagram was made for beautiful images, so take a look at ours.

Follow us

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

Emma J Shipley, graduated in 2008
Award-winning Luxury Textile Designer and Graphic Artist

Emma J Shipley is an exceptionally talented and creative textile designer and graphic artist specialising in fine drawing, luxury scarves and cushions. Emma’s eponymous label launched at London Fashion Week in 2012 and Emma has gone on to win the Emerging Brand prize at the WGSN Global Fashion Awards and the Newcomer Award at the UK Fashion & Textile Awards.

Emma J Shipley products are stocked in some of the most prestigious department stores and boutiques around the world, including Liberty and Fortnum & Mason in London. Emma has also collaborated with brands including Disney - on a Star Wars and Beauty and the Beast collection - as well as Aspinal of London on a collection of printed leather bags. Emma gave an inspirational talk to our current students - find out more on our school blog.


Hannah Malein, graduated in 2009
Colour Trend Consultant Manager at Colour Hive

Hannah secured a placement with trend company Global Color (now the Colour Hive) in her second year and following her degree show was offered a job as a junior trend assistant. She is now a Colour & Trend Consultant Manager at Colour Hive where she presents the latest trends at trade shows across the world, as well as working with leading companies to develop their brand in relation to trend information. Hannah still works closely with the University, leading collaborative trend projects for our third year students.


Adriana Gentile, graduated in 2013
Co-founder and Woven Textile Designer at Adriana Homewares

Adriana graduated in Constructed Textiles in 2013. Shortly after, Adriana joined The Prince’s Trust Enterprise scheme. Receiving financial and mentoring help, she set up her studio and bought her first loom. In 2016, inspired by her passion for colourful interiors and homewares, Adriana set up Adriana Homewares. Adriana Homewares design and make luxurious fabrics using 100% British Wool from Bluefaced Leicester sheep.

Adriana's ideas and experimentation start out as hand woven pieces on her traditional loom in their Leeds studio. Once satisfied with the results the specifications are sent off to mills to be created and then each piece is hand finished before being sold. To read more about Adriana's story and business head to our blog.


Bronagh Teague, graduated in 2014
Home Furnishings Textile Designer / Developer for Jim Thompson

Since graduating in 2014, Bronagh has gone from strength to strength establishing an exciting international career in the silk weaving industry. Following her degree Bronagh moved to Laos, to work as a Textile Designer and Business Development Consultant at Soie De Lune, a silk hand-weaving business that provides luxurious textiles to interior designers. Bronagh now works in Bangkok, Thailand, as a Home Furnishings Textile Designer / Developer for Jim Thompson – the largest hand-weaving company in the world. Bronagh’s role involves managing the textile collections, developing fabric designs, proposing design and colour concepts as well as material sourcing. To find out more about Bronagh’s work you can read our blog.


Kate Hollowood, graduated in 2014
Company Director and Designer Maker at Kate Hollowood Designs

Kate Hollowood is an award-winning designer who developed her composite material ‘Matrix’ during her final year of studies. Kate was commissioned to create a statement lampshade for the collaborative Global Color Research (now the Colour Hive) stand at the Interiors Show NEC, Birmingham. Since graduating Kate has successfully set up her business Kate Hollowood Design, as company director and designer maker. She has exhibited and attended multiple trade shows and recently won Gold at the Driven x Design, London Design Awards. To view more of Kate's work check out our blog.

Placements

You will have the opportunity to carry out a placement in industry lasting a few weeks as part of the second year experience. We have a great track record and invaluable networks to support students.

Students have previously gained work experience with Selfridges, Liberty, Alexander McQueen, Brintons, Monsoon, Dash and Miller, Burberry, Ted Baker and many more.

Our students’ design work has been sold in NEW York and Paris, while graduates still get in touch to offer valuable opportunities to current students.


Links to industry

We really value our close relationship with industry and invite guest speakers recently including Tracy Kendall, Michael Angove and Mockbee & Co. Being based in the Midlands enables us to work with regional key players such as Brintons, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Selfridges and the RBSA gallery as well as London-based companies such as Colorhive and Tektura Wallcoverings. For the last 10 years we have exhibited in leading trade shows either in London or Birmingham’s NEC, showcasing our students’ work in collaboration with British manufacturers. We run live projects and engage with design competitions to provide students with different design experiences.

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.

Textile design career paths

Textile Design Career Paths

Graduate Sophie Hawkesford offers an insight into the wide range of career paths that are accessible with a textile design degree.

Read more 

Emma Shipley panel image

Graduate Emma J Shipley has collaborated with global brands including Disney, Camira Fabrics and Swarovski

Read more 

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.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our textile design course is most popular with international students from:  

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

Kate Farley, our Programme Leader maintains an active design practice creating print designs for key brands including Barbican Centre and David Mellor Design, as well as working in collaboration with manufacturers including Formica.

Senior Lecturer Zoe Hillyard has developed award winning ‘Ceramic Patchwork’, combining ceramics with textile mending to create highly collectible pieces. With previous international craft development experience and commercial studio practice she works across the years and manages our presence at New Designers, London. 

See a full list of our staff

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Zoë Hillyard

Senior Lecturer

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.  

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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. 

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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.

Dr Dilusha Rajapakse- Textile design-2018

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.