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Course Leader Q&A

We are looking for students who are enthusiatic and are interested in what is happening in the wider world of textiles and design.

Nick Rodgers
Course Leader
Read Nick Rodgers’s staff profile.

What’s special about the course?

Students don’t have to specialise in one particular textiles discipline – we encourage them to explore the idea of textiles through a contextual approach but they can decide to focus on print, weave knit, mixed media and explore the range of processes open to them, that helps them to be interesting designers, not only textile designers.

What role does industry play in the course?

We have an industry liaison group which gives us input into the curriculum in terms of reminding us of the skills required in textile design. But we also run a number of projects with external companies. For instance we’ve just completed a project with Startrite and one with Bridgewater ceramics. In year two all students undertake a work placement within the textiles design industry or other creative industries.External examiners tell us that this is an invaluable feature of the course.

We encourage students to undertake national competitions which are sponsored by industry such as the Bradford Textiles competition, which NUA has always done well in. This year we are going to exhibit student work at the international trade fair Premier Vision in Paris. This allows us to present work to international textile design studios, material companies and fashion companies and it gives students the opportunity to present work at a very professional level which helps them achieve work placements and professional sales. Links with industry are strong in terms of preparing students for any role within the design industry but also for self-employment.

How is the course taught?

We take an incremental approach from years one to three. We talk to first years about the skills required, we talk about visual research and we have inductions to technical workshops such as print, weave, knit, stitch. There’s a series of lectures and seminars. In the first year we encourage an individual approach but we also do group projects, it is very much about exploring facilities, a range of techniques and being very experimental.

Year two includes slightly more emphasis towards external facing aspects of the work so we encourage students to enter national competitions and work with industry more. Year two students participate in work placements – with tutor support to find a relevant placement. Year three becomes slightly more independent, but still involves seminars, workshops, lectures. There is much more emphasis of the students pushing the boundaries and challenging themselves.

What do you look for in an applicant to the course?

We want to see an interest in design and visual research. In terms of design we want to see real evidence of design, drawing, sketchbooks, photography, research into contemporary design, an interest is what is happening in magazines – what’s happening in the world. We are looking for people to join the course who are enthusiastic about the idea of learning and pushing boundaries.