Textile Design - BA (Hons) Degree

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UCAS code: W231 Course Type: Degree and university-level Campus: West Durrington Campus Start Date: September 2021 Duration: 3 Years

Why this course?

BA Textile Design course intro image

This is a creative and broad-based textile and surface design degree that aims to nurture the creative, innovative and autonomous designers of the future and equip them with the skills required for employment, freelance work in the industry, or further study at postgraduate level.

Key features

  • Personal and artistic development
  • Traditional and digital print facilities and sewing workshop
  • Open access to campus-wide facilities including laser cutter, 3D craft workshop, pattern cutting tables and photo studios
  • Technical support and regular tutorials

Examples of student work can be found on our Instagram and online portfolio

Validated by University of the Arts London (UAL)

This programme is validated by University of the Arts London (UAL). UAL is a leading education provider in the creative arts, ranked second in the world for art and design (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020). They oversee the standards and quality of our curriculum, which enriches your overall learning experience.

See the full list of our creative arts degrees

  • alumni Views Catherine Coombs Textile Design alumna who went on to be accepted for postgraduate study at the prestigious Royal College of Art
    I was attracted by the amazing facilities and the passion of the tutors and technicians for textiles, techniques and experimentation.
  • student Views Daisy Seymour Brady BA Textile Design
    The course has allowed me to grow as a designer and to find my own path for the future. The technicians are SO helpful and are always there if your ever in need of help or advice.
  • student Views Amy McDonogh BA Textile Design
    I could not recommend this university centre more. Only a few people are accepted onto the course and we get focused coaching. Individuality is encouraged and the tutors show interest in who you are. There is such a wide range of facilities and the technicians will do anything to help you.
  • alumni Views Lottie Millbank BA Textile Design
    I was lucky enough to be entered into the Bradford Textile Society awards and won second prize.
  • student Views Rebecca Fullerton McIntyre BA Textile Design
    The course has given me the confidence and technical skills I need through having constant guidance and support alongside a broad variety of in-depth industry information to help me prepare to enter Into the world of textile design.

Course requirements

Each application will be assessed individually, including a review of your grades, interview, portfolio/audition and any experience.

Typical entry requirements are below but offers may vary:

  • a relevant A-Level or Level 3 Extended Diploma

In exceptional circumstances, if you do not meet our entry requirements, your application may still be considered if you demonstrate additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • related academic or work experience
  • the quality of the personal statement
Portfolio and interview

You will also be required to provide a portfolio and interview for this course.

Entry guide

Entry guide for more information about the range of qualifications we accept (including English language requirements for international students).

Portfolio advice

  • Aim to bring up to 20 sheets of work (a sheet may have more than one piece of work mounted on it) and one or two sketchbooks
  • There is no need to window mount or spend money on expensive board - flat-mounted on a good quality cartridge paper is fine
  • In textiles we like to feel and touch and to see the true colour and quality of your work - it is easier to do this if you don't use plastic sleeves. If your portfolio does have plastic sleeves we may ask you to take pieces out for easier viewing
  • Include a variety of work that shows the full range of your skills and use of media eg research artwork (drawings, paintings, collages, multimedia artwork), developmental ideas, sketchbooks and finished project outcomes
  • We like to see evidence of the whole creative process from research and initial artwork through the whole development of ideas - to help us see this ensure that at least one of your sketchbooks relates to finished work in the portfolio
  • Any large scale or 3D work should be photographed for inclusion in the portfolio



What we are looking for:

  • We are more interested in your creative potential rather than assessing what your current course has allowed you to achieve
  • Creative artwork and ideas are more important than finished textile pieces
  • Good observational drawing skills - by this we mean use of any media and in any style - showing your own personal style
  • A feel for colour, form, pattern, texture
  • An interest in your chosen area (have you been to any recent shows, events or exhibitions, whose work do you love, what do you find visually exciting - what are you passionate about?)

The first year of study introduces students to core skills and techniques through a series of creative workshops. These typically include: design development, printed textiles, knitted textiles, stitch, fabric manipulation, pattern cutting, garment construction, drawing, traditional and digital printmaking and creative IT.

Students will be encouraged to develop an exploratory and experimental approach to design underpinned by an understanding of contemporary issues such as sustainability, fabric knowledge, industry trends and extensive creative research.

Throughout the course students will produce design solutions for a range of markets including: fashion textiles, interior fabrics and surfaces, stationery, gift, craft/art applications etc before choosing their own specialist pathway, culminating in their final major project.

Students take part in Industry projects such as the Bradford Textile Society competition and complete suitable work placements during the second year. 

Students can expect to have open access to facilities following induction, resulting in a flexible working environment that supports their creative studio practice. Our bright and airy design studio is open plan and all students have their own personal desk space. 

Year one

  • Research and Design Processes for Textiles (20 credits)

    The aim of this unit is to introduce you to the research and design methods that underpin all the textile design discipline The research process is the basis for conceptual and creative development of ideas and you will be encouraged to investigate and select from a range of historical, theoretical and contextual sources to inform and generate your own ideas.

  • Methods and Materials (20 credits)

    The aim of this unit is to introduce you to the specialist processes used to produce textile outcomes. You will be inducted into specialist workshops and will be introduced to a range of technical processes to support your discipline.

    You will develop experimental and exploratory approaches to the production of textile outcomes underpinned by sound use of technical processes that will be recorded with technical notes. This record of technical development will become a future log for your own reference and updating this throughout the course will support your own development and reflect good practice.

  • Cultural and Contextual Studies (20 credits)

    This unit aims to encourage and develop your awareness of the historical, social and cultural context that underpins the contemporary practice of creatives in a professional and academic context.

    You will be encouraged to develop critical and analytical approaches through the introduction of research skills, critical examination and investigation and how to connect this to your own practice.

  • 2D and 3D Textiles (20 credits)

    You will foster innovation and experimentation using 2D and 3D textile techniques, including the use of digital technologies. 

    You will be encouraged to explore and combine techniques using a mixed media approach to produce textile outcomes that consist of increasingly complex combinations of fabric and technique. Curiosity and experimentation are actively encouraged and you will be encouraged to explore a wide range of materials and techniques.

  • Ethical Values in Design (20 credits)

    This unit builds on the previous course content with a specific focus on issues of design ethics, such as environmental impact of the fashion/textile industry, sustainability, waste, closed loop systems, slow textiles etc.

    Research, design development and technical skills are further explored to enable you to produce considered design solutions that demonstrate awareness of ethical issues.

  • Industry Design Practice (20 credits)

    This unit will introduce you to a simulated industry brief. Group seminars and discussion will inform your understanding of market levels, customer profile, the marketing mix and brand identity, culminating in you designing a collection for a specific market sector.

Year two

  • Industry/Competition Linked Project (20 credits)

    This unit builds on skills and knowledge developed at Level 4. You will develop specialist skills within an industry facing context (briefs set by industry or national/international competitions).

    Imaginative visual research continues to form the basis of project work, which will be developed through to design outcomes linked to either fashion or interiors. You will explore and develop your use of new media applications, build digital skills in the production of textiles outcomes and presentation materials.

  • Advanced Cultural and Contextual Studies (20 credits)

    This unit aims to continue to develop your understanding of the historical, social and cultural environment in relation to your practice. You will continue to develop your critical and research skills through your examination of a topic, and develop your communication style in the presentation of the results of this investigation in an academic format.

  • Preparation for Work Placement (20 credits)

    This unit will focus on supporting you to research and apply for a work placement. This will enhance your professional, interpersonal and organisational skills and allow you to make appropriate industrial contacts. 

    You will be encouraged to generate and develop promotional materials including a CV, covering letter and online portfolio. This body of work will showcase your skills, experience and creative potential.

  • Work Placement (20 credits) - optional

    This unit will enable you to demonstrate competencies in work experience or industry linked activity, self-assessment and evaluation of work placement. You will need to show competencies in decision making, goal setting, presenting oneself effectively in the transition to work, self-employment, further study and work experience.

    This is an optional unit. You can choose this unit or the Industry research and report.

  • Industry research and report (20 credits) - optional

    This unit will enable you to demonstrate competencies in industry linked activity, self-assessment and evaluation of your experience. You will need to show competencies in decision making, goal setting, presenting oneself effectively in the transition to work, self-employment, further study and work experience.

    This is an optional unit. You will either choose this unit or the Work Placement.

  • Concept Development (40 credits)

    Concept development is central to this unit. Exploring conceptual and contextual influences you will identify, develop and explore a self initiated project.

    Your research skills will be extended through wider reading, study visits and primary research to produce a body of visual research to inform design development for a market or context of your choice. 

Year three

  • Final Major Project: Design concepts and synthesis (40 credits)

    You will inform and develop design concepts for the final major project (FMP). 

    You will be expected to develop a statement of intent that demonstrates your purpose, allowing for a full investigation into exploratory research and concept development. This will also identify proposed market level, customer and end use as well as identifying the core ethics and values that inform your design practice.

  • Creative and Critical Research Project (20 credits)

    This unit aims to consolidate your ability to develop a research informed examination of a topic through self-directed research and a detailed critical investigation.

  • Exit Portfolio (20 credits)

    In preparation for graduation and your move into the professional world, this unit will support you to produce the written, visual and personal presentation skills to prepare you to take and create opportunities within your creative field.

    You will research and investigate progression opportunities (employment, self-employment, further study or training) within your industry and prepare for your next steps. 

    You will prepare for interview by producing an exit portfolio and CV as well as personal promotional material.

  • Final Major Project: Realisation (40 credits)

    This project will allow you to realise and produce a collection of work that demonstrates your conceptual, technical and creative analysis. Work will be developed from the Design Concept and Synthesis unit completed in semester one.

    You will be refining and developing ideas to produce an extensive collection of textile work.

Contact time and study hours

A full-time student can expect to have around 2 days of timetabled teaching contact per week. You will have approximately 40 hours of timetabled teaching contact for each 20 credit module. This is supported by independent self-guided study.

Teaching and assessment methods

We use a variety of teaching methods, including:

  • practical and creative studio-based workshops
  • discussions
  • peer reviews and project crits
  • lectures/seminars
  • tutorials
  • small group study
  • self-directed study
  • studio tutorials
  • reflective writing exercises

Assessment methods vary between units but could include:

  • presentations
  • portfolios
  • project work
  • research proposal
  • reflective journal
  • written assignments

Video tour of our campus

See students from different courses using the facilities at our creative arts specialist campus

(5-minute video)

Potential careers

  • Freelance or studio designer (fashion/interiors/accessories)
  • Independent designer/maker 
  • Illustrator
  • Trend forecaster
  • Buying & merchandising
  • Stylist
  • Teacher training
  • Postgraduate study

In keeping with the evolving nature of the creative industries, many have flexible creative careers being involved in styling, art work, design commissions, exhibitions, illustration, buying, trend forecasting etc. Past students have gone on to MA study, eg at the Royal College of Art and at the University of Brighton. Some have set up their own businesses, some work as freelance designers for couture and high street brands, some work for furnishing textile companies and others work in education.

Potential careers

Tuition fees, student loans and bursaries

Additional course costs

The course provides materials and equipment for induction and tutor-led workshops. Personal project development will require students to provide their own art materials, sketchbooks and to source and purchase fabrics/materials. 

Virtual open events

Find out about our next virtual open event.

If you missed our degree level virtual event in November 2020, you can catch-up with recordings of our course talks.

Find out more

Fees and financial support

There are different options to cover the cost of your course, including government loans and bursaries (eligibility criteria applies).

See more details

How is this course delivered?

We have made some changes to the way our courses are taught to keep everyone safe. We will ensure that our students remain connected and involved with their course and college life.

During this academic year, students have a blend of college-based and digitally-enabled remote learning that provides lots of opportunities to interact and engage with lecturers, support teams and other students.

We will continue to respond to Government advice as we plan our curriculum delivery and will regularly update our current students and applicants in respect of course changes and opportunities.

FAQs and useful resources
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