Tia Parmar: My First Year in Industry

Tia graduated with a BA (Hons) Textile Design degree from BCU and currently works at the University as a Graduate Technician and Studio Assistant, whilst also working within the textiles industry in and around Birmingham. We caught up with Tia to learn more about the projects she's been working on since finishing her studies.

It's now coming up to a whole year since I graduated with a BA (Hons) in Textile Design. I completed my degree showcasing my final major project collection, emphasising the relationship between textiles and the natural world - something I continue to explore through my work even now. I exhibited at Inspired Festival and New Designers, with my love for textiles continuing to grow each day as I navigate the creative industry.

After graduating, I took some time off to travel and continued at my part-time job over the summer. Come September, I landed a variety of different roles within the industry which extended across the year, with the first being at 'IN: SITE Festival'. The festival is a chance for graduates, designers, and crafters to be set up with the provisions needed to aid their creative career.

This involved a mentorship scheme which was attended by a variety of other recent graduates from across the country. As the year has gone on, I’ve developed my practise as an artist and now work on a variety of different projects which focus on a combination of teaching art, craft, and textiles through community-based exhibitions and textile workshops across Birmingham.

My IN: SITE Festival project combined natural imagery and communal hand-embroidery. The interactive workshop allowed members of the public to embroider onto a large hand printed fabric depicting 'Joy’s Wood'. The piece celebrates the communal efforts of Joy Fifer and the people of Birmingham forty years ago in the conservation campaign which resulted in Moseley Bog being saved and enjoyed to this day – including by me!

I’ve also been working on creative arts and crafts workshops with young children and teenagers through nurseries and various creative venues, as well as exhibiting my work at MAC Birmingham.

Amongst all of this I also landed a role at BCU as a Graduate Technician and Studio Assistant in November 2021.

Each opportunity, working environment and experience has provided me with a wealth of knowledge necessary to continue developing my practise as an artist in addition to teaching.

My key passion has always been to explore and amplify the arts industry within Birmingham. Together with teaching and reaching out to people about the importance of textiles, the key driver to my work explores stories relating to the natural world and the direct correlation this has on communities and the wellbeing of others.

Through combining the two, I believe in the upkeep and teaching of textiles practises through communal arts and craft. Being one of the most diverse cities in the country, Birmingham’s residents all have enthralling stories to tell and proficient crafting skills to communicate across to us, which makes the job even more wonderful.

I have met and connected with members of the creative arts industry across Birmingham, which is something that I have always had a passion for! There is plenty on offer here within the city's creative scene. My advice would be to start volunteering at creative spaces, connecting with people on social media, reading blogs and contacting companies to see what’s on offer - especially if community led practise is something you are interested in.

This has been my experience so far and I hope to continue doing what I love. If you are starting university soon, are already studying or just interested in the musings of a graduate then know there is no road map, no right or wrong way to do things. Continue through the course with curiosity, always say yes to any opportunity, competition, project, or scheme that you can get involved in. Use social media to your advantage and enjoy the experience of learning your passion!

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