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Transition: Re-thinking Textiles and Surfaces

November 26th and 27th 2014

The fragility of our future is in our hands: our human engagement with textiles and materials since the beginning of mankind has naturally evolved and influenced our wearable and built environments

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Transition: Re-thinking Textiles and Surfaces


Textiles and Surfaces have surrounded us in different forms for millennia. From the use of fibres and materials sourced and made from bark, wood, sand, glass, bone and skin to multi-structural and unconventional materials for interior, architectural and wearable functional design, textiles and surfaces have inspired and evolved our relationships with materials, space and form. This conference proposes to explore the future of textiles and surfaces within different industries and contexts. The conference aims to examine current and future developments in the field asking: how might we re-think textiles and surfaces in a climate of transition?

Material Transitions Exhibition

Material transitions is an exhibition which promotes the research interests of staff, technicians and students in textiles, craft and surface thinking at the University of Huddersfield.

Exploring and mapping new territories, this work has been created in response to the question of how we might adapt and integrate craft, art, design and technology with new methodologies, in order to awaken our senses and challenge our preconceptions of the subject of textiles and Surfaces.

Crossing the boundaries, with the freedom to move between contexts; art, design, craft and the virtual environment are no longer segregated.  This exhibition considers the work of the designer as a craftsperson, the craftsperson as an artist and the maker as the inventor of new materials and processes.  Extraordinary surfaces, developed to question established practice, also establish new relationships with industry and push the entrepreneurial envelope.

The value of a handcrafted approach is applied to the understanding of the design process, embracing themes of both chance and spontaneity in realising the potential of research with outcomes sited in contexts from art to digital design.  Provocateurs, willing to challenge ideals and stimulate debate, the work presented in this exhibition not only responds to the making process, but questions material characteristics and the translation of image in structured and non-structured environments.

Futurologists, seeking new tools and methodologies, making use of tacit skills of the learner around the use of real spaces, and virtual environments, we value the need for tangible, responsive materials, with the potential to adapt, integrate and stimulate the senses.  

Keynote speakers: 

Philip Fimmano

Lifestyle specialist working in industries as varied as fashion, interiors, architecture, food, beauty, finance and retail and curator of international design exhibitions.

David Shah

Publisher at Metropolitan Publishing BV (Textile View, View 2, Viewpoint, Pantone View Colour Planner, Textile View, VFF China) and Assistant Professor at Renmin University, Beijing.

Dr Jane Harris

Associate Dean of Research & Professor of Digital Design and Innovation, London College of Fashion. Advisor to the EU Commission, ICT/ H2020 and Co-Author, 'Digital Visions for Fashion+Textiles: Made In Code’.

Dr Subramanian Senthilkannan Muthu

Dr Subramanian Senthilkannan is currently working for SGS as a global sustainability consultant, based at Hong Kong. He gained his doctorate degree from The Institute of Textiles and Clothing of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has conducted many LCA and carbon footprint projects for various products in many countries across the globe. He has more than 75 academic publications in various textiles and environmental journals to his credit. He has filed 2 patents and has 2 books of chapter along with numerous conference publications.  He has 15 books to his credit, published by Springer, Woodhead and CRC Press. He is acting as an editor, editorial board member and reviewer for many international peer-reviewed journals of textiles and environmental science disciplines.  He is the Editor-in-Chief of Textiles and Clothing Sustainability journal, an open access journal of Springer. He is also the series editor of two books series of Springer namely Textile Science and Clothing Technology and Environmental Footprints and Eco-design.

Professor Rebecca Earley

Professor of Sustainable Textile and Fashion Design, Director of Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC), Principal Investigator, MISTRA Future Fashion AHRC Co-investigator, FIRE Up Project.


 Wednesday 26th November

9.00 - 9.45am





Morning session Diamond Jubilee Theatre Business School

9.45 - 10.05am


Conference Organisers and Professor Peter Slee

10.05 – 11.15am

MAIN Keynote speaker

Philip Fimmano  Studio Edelkoort Paris


Within a short period of time, the house will dress up in all different expressions of textile: knitted, crocheted, printed, embroidered, as jacquards or as colour wovens. The consumer will use a bit of fabric here and there; a knitted pouf, a felt plaid, a tactile carpet or traditional table linen. In a second step, the consumer will think about a bigger surface and will reinvent the curtain, consider wall-to-wall fabrics and upholster furniture with tweeds and patterns instead of leather.

In the meantime the house seems to go on a sabbatical! The inspiration sources for major trends are amazing places in which to live and hide; the dream of a hut in the middle of a field of heather, a caravan with which to get lost forever, a chalet for a walk in thick crunching snow or a folly to give shape to man’s wildest dreams and aspirations. From a tent to live outdoors to a men’s club in the middle of London… In reaction to our virtual existence, we will need more real emotions and unknown surprising scenarios: tactility and dimension to compensate the flat screens in our lives, to give pleasure to our fingers. This seems why many designers have recently started to reinvent textiles with often handmade and traditional techniques but also high-tech processes. This focus for designers and other creatives will hopefully arrive just in time to prevent the demise of the textile industries. We have only a few years left to save these endangered species. Let’s talk about textiles for the years to come…

Talking Textiles is an initiative by Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano to support textile creativity, education and awareness. Follow the project at

11.15 – 11.35am

Break: tea/coffee


11.35am - 12.20pm

Keynote speaker

Professor Rebecca Earley

The “I” in the Textile Team

In an era of increasingly limited resources we need designers who create by understanding sustainability, users and how to 'borrow' materials from a finite pool. As textile designers embrace service design, we need to teach openness, awareness, empathy, and consideration. For us at TED, the last few years have been a period of thinking about tools and getting properly equipped for this brave new design world. The Textile Toolbox work exemplifies this. These textiles are based on TED’s The TEN strategies and the new provotypes (prototypes that provoke debate) all consider textile design within the broader, more holistic vision of the future of the industry. How do we move towards this new educational remit? How do we get our progressive ideas used in industry – to have impact? When all around us are burning out in this under-resourced and over-subscribed HE system we need to reinvent ourselves. This keynote will look at the work the TED team have been doing in industry in the last three years, and in parallel the work we have been doing on ourselves. Covering formal training programmes and mentoring - as well as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, sleep and nutrition - we consider how reinventing staff development programmes for textile educators could contribute to the mindset shift that we all need to embrace for a more sustainable future

12.20 – 12.55pm

Keynote speaker

Dr Subramanian Senthilkannan Muthu

Life Cycle Assessment and Product Carbon Footprint- Implications on Textiles and Clothing Sector

Assessment of environmental impacts of clothing products is no longer an option, rather than necessity. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is one of the widely used tools to assess the environmental impacts of any product, including textile and clothing products. Recently, Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) is gaining huge importance and it’s well known in each industrial sector and carbon labeling of products is gearing up and it’s shifting from voluntary basis to mandatory basis. Assessment of product carbon footprint needs to be done via LCA approach and it’s one of the mostly used and widely known indicators of LCA amongst a long list of indicators assessed by LCA. LCA and PCF are being practiced in many sectors including textiles and clothing sector. in this talk, Dr Muthu will focus on the concepts of Eco-design , LCA and PCF and the standards used for assessment along with describing the implications of these assessment techniques on Textiles and Clothing sector. Dr Muthu will also discuss about some of the interesting case studies on LCA and PCF in his talk.

12.55 – 13.00pm

Chairs closing remarks

Professor John Miles

1.00 – 1.45pm



2.00 - 5.00pm


Track paper presentations: see individual track for schedule

A Science and Technology – Room BSG/23

B Sustainable Futures – Room BSG/21

C Craft And The Handmade – Room BSG/20

D Enterprise/Industry/Business – Room BSG /19


5.00 - 7.00pm   Heritage Quay: Archive Centre (optional tour)

Material Transitions Exhibition

Technology Building T2/05

Drinks Reception and Exhibition plus tour of textile area

Textile Thinking Research Group Presents: Material Transtions

An Exhibition of staff and student research. Material Transitions Exhibition presents an enquiry into the potential of digital and traditional printed surfaces, 3D virtual spaces, woven plastics, material alchemy and experimental surfaces.

7.00 – 9.00pm


Evening Meal in Quayside


Thursday 27 November

9.00 – 9.30am





Morning session Diamond Jubilee Theatre Business School

9.35 – 11.05am

MAIN Keynote speaker

David Shah


The coming together of things that should not come together…The meeting of things that should never meet...Happenings that were never meant to happen…The coming of a new sexuality where men reallylook and behave like women and women really look and think like men. This is not androgyny but a new type of behavior calling for a new approach to design and marketing strategy.

Forget women! It’s men that really matter now in fashion retailing and designing. Henri’s and Yummies and the reasons why you need to increase your menswear retail space.

E-tailers who want to have a bricks and mortar presence and physical retailers who are turning their shop floors into digital playgrounds. What’s really the future for retail?

And how real is real with the growing presence of holographic design, avatars and, of course, robots!

Plus lots more from ‘hipster culture’ to Gen Y frustrations

11.05 – 11.25am

Break: Tea/coffee


11.25am – 12.10pm

Keynote speaker

Professor Jane Harris

Crafting Future Material Codes:

This keynote presentation scopes how textile making and material processes broadly intersect wider digital sectors, and how more recently skin has evolved as a material catalyst in determining conceptual textile interfaces which are informing emerging commercial practices.  A case is made for the imperative value of the practice and terminology associated with ‘craft’ in new technology contexts.

12.10 – 12.40pm

Keynote speaker

Rhian Soloman


The body as a ‘meeting place’ between design and medical disciplines: towards new interdisciplinary models for collaboration. 


This presentation explores the role of the human body and its skin in promoting ‘making led’ collaborations between pattern cutters, textiles artists, reconstructive plastic surgeons and breast reconstruction patients to inform clinical and design practices.

It will emphasize the creative, material and technical intersections and analogies between these groups and will highlight the languages of craft as a common domain. The writer will introduce interactions that she is currently designing and facilitating as part of her residency based within a breast reconstruction clinic at Morriston Hospital. The paper will also reflect on the role of a creative practitioner and producer in facilitating and managing interdisciplinary projects. The long-term aim of this project being to enhance patient-centred approaches to improve clinical practice, health and wellbeing.


Rhian Solomon is an artist, researcher and producer whose practice is concerned with drawing parallels between skin and cloth, the body and dress. She is the Director of the sKINship research program that promotes collaborations between reconstructive plastic surgeons and pattern cutters for fashion. And is undertaking a PhD at London College of Fashion to explore models of collaboration across medical and design related disciplines.  Currently Rhian is based in the complex breast reconstruction clinic of Morriston Hospital, Swansea, where she is working alongside patients, clinical anthropologists and medics to explore the body as a site for collaboration.  She is also co-curator for the Crafting Anatomies exhibition and research project at Nottingham Trent University. Rhian has worked as a consultant, commissioned artist and educator internationally for organizations including Nike, The Wellcome Trust, Gerrit Reitveld Academie, Design Museum London and HEAD Geneva.                                            

12.40 – 1.00pm

5 minute speakers

Miriam Ribul, Emmeline Child, Anne Marr


Miriam Ribul,

TED/TFRC Researcher, CCW


I propose to present the process and outcomes of the COST-funded science-design collaboration between UAL, Chalmers University of Technology (Gothenburg) and SP Technical Institute in Sweden from January to February 2014 that lead to the DeNAture design prototype for the Textile Toolbox online exhibition. The process involved my design residency in a technical laboratory and a design proposal for chemical recycling systems with a faster and more accurate identification of invisible material information. The outcomes demonstrate how design thinking can be applied in different contexts to aid systems for cyclability: a garment and a film prototype the new system.


Emmeline Child,

TED/TFRC PhD Researcher, CCW

Designing for the circular economy means taking a proactive approach to understanding and implementing re-use at the end of life; or producing a lifecycle that mimics nature in the circular fashion system. The current linear model where clothes are manufactured and then disposed of ‘many in the first six months of life’ is unsustainable (RSA’s The Great Recovery report, 2013). Using tacit knowledge built up from running up-cycled fashion label Emmeline 4 Re the following auto ethnographic case study will outline some of the key design decisions and observations made throughout the period (2004-2009) and make recommendations for future fashion design within the circular economy.


Anne Marr,

BA Textile Design Course Leader / Acting Deputy Director TFRC / Central Saint Martins

Participatory Textile Design – Getting Everybody More Involved

Keywords: participatory, health and well-being, community engagement, socio responsive, communal crafting, intergenerational

The presentation will portray case studies of participatory research methods, which invite community engagement in order to enhance textile design practice. Participatory design has been successfully used as a design method in urban and product design. Textile designers can adapt and expand these methods for their own practice in order to create more empathetic design solutions.

Threads and Yarns, an intergenerational textile project exploring personal accounts of health and well-being was set up as part of the Welcome Trust’s 75th anniversary program. Local senior residents engaged in creative making workshops and talked about their biomedical histories. The project demonstrated how communal crafting can be used as a cross-disciplinary

1.00 – 1.45pm

Break : Lunch


1.45 - 5.30pm


See track schedules for paper presentation details.

Close, thank you and goodbyes



Track A: Science and Technology

Track Chairs: Dr Jess Power and Andrew Taylor

From the mechanical origins of textile design and production; the Surface Materials sector is now one of the fastest-developing and innovative areas in the manufacturing sector. Architects, automotive, engineers, medical & product designers are immersed in sourcing and fabricating innovative new surfaces and intelligent textiles within their interdisciplinary practices. This track invites designers, scientists, manufacturers, educators, experimentalists and researchers to present the latest ideas, practices and innovations through applied use of technologies.

Track schedule

The schedule for Track A: Science and Technology is now available, which includes full list of paper presentations. To view the schedule please click here to download, Track A: Science and Technology. The full schedule will also be availble upon registration.

We invite science and technology papers which focus on (but are not limited to) research areas such as:

Ø Textile Ø Biomimetic
Ø Surface Ø Micro-technology
Ø Fashion Ø 2D 3D 4D printing
Ø Architecture Ø Bio-couture
Ø Interiors Ø Microencapsulation
Ø Product Ø Acoustic
Ø Industrial Ø Smart Materials
Ø Automotive Ø Prosthetics
Ø Aerospace Ø Biomedical Science
Ø Built Environment Ø Robotic Weaving
Ø Engineering Ø Hacking Materials
Ø Medical Ø Sensory Reactive
Ø Health and Well being Ø Composite surfaces
Track B: Sustainable Futures

Track Chairs: Dr Pammi Sinha and Dr Katie Beverley

For several years we have been warned about the impending resources scarcity such as water, land fuel and the recent report from the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2014) has outlined their estimations for the implications on life’s essentials such as food, cotton, sanitation, security, etc. The textiles industry has been identified as an industry with an immense footprint in terms of environmental and social impact. How can we as designers, artists, technologists, educators and businesses address these concerns? The Sustainable Futures track is concerned with the debates raised through any study of the environment, business and how we, as a human race, work with one another.

Track schedule:

The schedule for Track B: Sustainable Futures is now available, which includes full list of paper presentations. To view the schedule please click here to download, Track B: Sustainable Futures. The full schedule will also be availble upon registration.

We invite submissions to this track that address (but are not limited to) the following areas:

Ø Sustainable design Ø Communication
Ø Supply chain Ø Finance
Ø The role of business in development Ø Health and wellbeing
Ø Resource efficiency Ø Values-led business
Ø Social impact Ø Water
Ø Circular economy  
Track C: Craftsmanship and the Handmade

Track Chair: Dr Rowan Bailey and Claire Barber

In recent years, the revival of the ‘hand-made’ has gained currency within the cultural and creative industries. From traditional economies of ‘doing-by-hand’ to new technologically-informed modes of making, ‘craft’ is exercising its diverse skills and practices on a global and local scale, for different causes, initiatives and audiences. As part of an expanding landscape of both commercial and public sector platforms, contemporary applications of the hand-made can serve as experimental modes of thinking and making that are challenging our preconceptions of what craft was, is and can be in the future.

Track schedule

The schedule for Track C: Craftsmanship and the Handmade is now available, which includes full list of paper presentations. To view the schedule please click here to download, Track C: Craftsmanship and the Handmade. The full schedule will also be availble upon registration.

We welcome abstracts for papers that address any aspect of craft and the hand-made in relation to one or more of the following sub-themes:

Thinking with and through material
Crafting contexts
Ø Technical and material conventions Ø Histories and legacies of hand-making
Ø Technologies of the hand-made Ø Feminist legacies of the hand-made
Ø Modes of making in contemporary craft practice Ø Places and spaces
Ø Identity formations of craft in art and/or design Ø Modes of public engagement
Ø Old and new materialities Ø The social and political dimensions of craft/craftivism/craftivist practices
Ø Languages of the hand-made Ø Engaging with craft archives and collections
Ø Receptions of the hand-made in art and design Ø Craftpersonship in popular culture
Ø Curating craft Ø Cross-cultural exchanges of the hand-made
Ø Craft in material culture  
Ø Circular economy  
Networks of production
Ø Local and global production and consumption of craft Ø Histories and pedagogies of the hand-made
Ø Craft and social enterprise Ø Cross-/inter-/trans-disciplinary registers in craft education
Ø Craft and wicked problems Ø Experimental methodologies in craft education
Ø Hand-made labour in the cultural and creative industries Ø Craft as research tool/application in different disciplinary fields
Ø The politics and ethics of hand-made production in a global market Ø Teaching the hand-made in twenty-first century
Ø Work and labour practices Ø Craft as collaboration and co-creation
Ø Relations between maker and consumer  
Ø Platforms of craft/hand-made production in a digital age  
Track D: Enterprise/Industry/Business 

Track Chairs: Joanne Harris and Jo Conlon

This track invites diverse topics and insights that take the enterprising future of the industry or the businesses of the textile and surface sector as their focus. This track aspires to create a bridge between higher education and the creative industries, focusing on practices, projects, methods, case studies and enterprising ventures that envisage a positive creative environment where businesses, individuals and the environment can flourish.

Track schedule:

The schedule for Track D: Enterprise is now available, which includes full list of paper presentations. To view the schedule please click here to download, Track D: Enterprise. The full schedule will also be availble upon registration.

We invite local and global contributions that signal opportunities for future collaborations between higher education and the creative industries.

Ø What is innovation? Ø Opportunities
Ø Creative industries Ø Challenges
Ø Collaboration Ø Making it real
Ø Localisation and globalisation Ø New enterprise
Ø Funding for creative enterprise Ø Local economy
Ø Developing relationships in the creative industries Ø Made in the UK
Ø The enterprising student experience Ø The enterprising researcher
Ø Ideas Ø Cultural enterprise
Ø Volunteering Ø Promoting entrepreneurship in art and design education
14th July Final abstract deadline
28th July Review feedback for abstract
8th September Full paper
6th October Reviewers feedback
3rd November Final paper with Powerpoint/presentation


Conference proceedings and publication opportunities:

Papers will be included in published conference proceedings, with ISBN number, DVD and published report, as part of the University of Huddersfield’s accessible e-prints repository.

Special guest-edited issues will feature as part of the conference. Papers will be selected as part of a peer-review process following the conference event.

The journals supporting this event are:

Ø Viewpoint (David Shah)
Ø Journal of Textile Design and Research Practice (Bloomsbury)
Ø Craft Research (Intellect Ltd.)
Ø Textiles and Clothing Sustainability (An open access, Springer Journal)
Conference registration:

Ø Early bird (SOLD OUT)

Ø Full rates £420 (including evening meal)

Ø Full Conference only rate £400 (not including evening meal)

Ø Student rates £275 (only 5 tickets left)

Ø Day rate £250 (not including Wednesday evening meal)

Book Now

For further enquiries, please contact:

Conference Organisers:  Professor John Miles, Joanne Harris, Dr Pammi Sinha.

Conference address: The University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK, HD1 3DH.

General enquiries: E. T. +44(0)1484 471072


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Keynote speakers

Philip Fimmano

Philip Fimmano Philip Fimmano is a contemporary lifestyle specialist, contributing to Trend Union's books, magazines and strategic studies for various international brands. Philip travels alongside his business partner and company founder Li Edelkoort, working in industries as varied as fashion, interiors, architecture, food, beauty, finance and retail. Decrypting socio-economic and cultural evolution in terms of future consumer aspirations, he advises on the directions for collections, marketing campaigns and visual identity. Philip has worked with Alcro paints, Rubelli textiles, Pepsi Foods, Procter & Gamble body care, Mohair South Africa and UN Studio architects, among many others.

Philip has also curated international design exhibitions for museums and cultural institutions. In 2013 he co-curated Fetishism in Fashion, Arnhem's fifth fashion biennale and edited a successful publication by the same name. He recently prepared GATHERING, a new exhibition of contemporary objects that has been taking place this summer at Design Museum Holon, Tel Aviv.

David Shah

Keynote speaker at the Textiles Transition conference 2014 David Shah is a publisher at Metropolitan Publishing BV (Textile View, View2, Viewpoint, PantoneView Colour Planner, Textile View VIFF China). In the past, he was Co-Publisher at United Publishers S.A. Paris (View on Colour). David is also a Design and Marketing Consultant for leading companies in Europe, ranging from fashion to automotive, pharmaceuticals and white goods. He is a regular speaker on social and design trends at events worldwide.

David has been a Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Arts and has taught textiles, fashion and marketing in London. He is currently Associate Professor at ARTez, Arnhem, The Netherlands, responsible for the course on branding and marketing, and is Associate Professor at Renmin University, Beijing. He is also a peer member for the CBI Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Netherlands.



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