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Textile Design: Knit and Weave with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

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Our BA (Hons) Textile Design degree courses nurture fresh thinking and industry-ready creatives through a dynamic and carefully structured four year programme. About foundation courses The foundation course is an exciting step towards your chosen degree. It provides an opportunity to develop skills to equip you on your professional journey into the creative industries....

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

Overview

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

About foundation courses

The foundation course is an exciting step towards your chosen degree. It provides an opportunity to develop skills to equip you on your professional journey into the creative industries.

The programme encompasses elements of fashion design, fashion business and textile design degree routes. It provides a platform for you to share with and learn from others, while developing visual communication skills and processes. It will help you in building confidence and independence ready for the next stage of your degree.

We aim to excite, engage and challenge you, pushing you to develop into a capable student with a great fashion and textiles aesthetic as well as an enthusiasm to learn.

This four-year programme has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake additional level three study, to ensure you are successful on your 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.

Knit and Weave

Many students enjoy the challenge of creating fabrics from scratch. Our Knit and Weave option lends itself to methodical thinkers who have a good understanding of materials and enjoy their transformation. The focus is on construction – in all its forms – knitting, knotting, linking, crossing, weaving and tufting. Whilst drawing is still key, students learn to use it creatively to plan and problems-solve, to support ideas that often develop directly through sampling.

From hand-construction approaches to using industry-standard digital weave equipment and three-dimensional printing, there is the scope to experiment and innovate.

Studying with us will provide you with the skills, insights and experiences required to succeed in a broad scope of professional textile related roles. Knit and Weave students secure placements with design studios, mills, manufacturers and retailers – companies who need expertise in knowing about the properties of materials, how they function and react.

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: Knit and Weave graduates are employed in both technical and creative roles; as Knitwear Designers, Weave Designers, Designer Makers, Studio Designers 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. 

Isobel Smith

Throughout my three years on the BCU textile design course I have really learnt and expanded my design skills, including learning how to knit on Dubied and Domestic knitting machines. The course has really opened my eyes to the textile design industry and the interchangeable skills that can be transferred to a number of different sectors. I have learnt to adapt and try new things, which can be challenging but has also made me more prepared for the fast paced industry.

Isobel Smith

Why Choose Us?

  • 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

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area in our course talks.

Next Open Day: Saturday 25 June

Book now

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.

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

6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CDD / 80 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 80 pts

Access to HE Diploma

  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • Arts, Media and Publishing 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)
MMP

Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)

  • Pass
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 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 11 points or above from two Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 80 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 24 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 80 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

MMP

Scottish Advanced Higher

  • Achieve a minimum of 80 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 DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).

T-Levels

Pass overall (C or above on the core)

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
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS

6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

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

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • £13,500 in 2022/23

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.

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.

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 particiapte 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 budet 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

UCAS

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

Portfolio Guidance

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

Course in Depth

Foundation year

In your Foundation Year, you will gain a grounding in a variety of skills from each of our degree pathways, including blog writing, textile techniques, branding, creating garments and more. You will be able to explore the Fashion and Textiles workshops and CAD suites to pursue your individual interests.

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

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):

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):

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

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):

Download course specification

Download now

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.


Foundation student project

thesignatureproject-600x242

Students on the Fashion and Textiles Foundation took part in The Signature Project where they used personal creative strategies to show off a range of skills and showcase their personal design style in preparation for the next step of their chosen degree.

Read more

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

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 & 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

Louise Martin

Foundation Year Course Director

Louise’s Masters in textile design established the foundation for her design journey. From this platform, Louise started to build a career as an interior designer, regional design manager, stylist, and as a lecturer in fashion and textiles. Louise now has over 10 years' teaching experience as a lecturer. As a designer maker, Louise...

More about Louise

Natalie Martin

Lecturer in Foundation Fashion and Textiles

After graduating with BA (Hons) Fashion Design from BCU Natalie has worked with brands such as Joseph Turvey and Hades Knitwear as a freelance designer, production assistant and illustrator as well as working on show production for presentations at London Fashion Week Mens. Working hands-on with small, luxury brands has enabled her to gain a...

More about Natalie