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Learning from history, tradition and industry

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posted on 09.03.2020 by Christie Alexander

As an educator and design practitioner within Knitted Textiles and Knitwear Design, the cycle of learning and teaching is continual. I am eager to discover new methods and materials for both teaching and designing as these inform and inspire my work as educator and design practitioner. Within textile design education it is believed that in order to educate one needs a solid understanding of the historical and contemporary context of their specialism. This is realised by not only examining and innovating from tradition, but by researching and understanding technological advances. As production and expertise moves increasingly towards digital manufacturing, the characteristics and qualities found in traditional fabrics are still widely replicated in industry.

This paper (and accompanying exhibits) presents a series of small-scale practice-based research projects, undertaken with industry partners. Each project will be used as a case study to evidence how learning from history, tradition and industry can inform contemporary knit design and education. In particular, undertaking these research projects has enabled me to engage with industry partners and learn from their expertise.

Reflecting upon these projects highlights how integrating traditional knit stitches and heritage yarns into newly created textiles allows an exploration and experience akin to that of a student. In turn these experiences influences and inform the delivery and content of the courses that I teach on. Through describing this series of practice-based projects I intend to illustrate how I have learned from history, tradition and industry and articulate why and how I incorporate this into my teaching practice.


Futurescan 4: Valuing Practice

University of Bolton

23-24 January 2019


Photographs by Tony Radcliffe and Di Downs.


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