The Creative and Educational Value of Developing Textile Craft Skills between UK and India

Julie King

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In November 2017 second and final year students from The University of Northampton were funded to attend a week long textile crafts programme at Amity University, Greater Noida in India. The students worked alongside Indian counterparts to learn more about traditional textile dyeing and decorative techniques. This paper examines the value of the experience and the subsequent impact such a learning and cultural programme had on the student group both for the graduating final year students and the continuing second years students.

The study tour arose as a result of observations that many current textiles students at the University of Northampton are utilising more digital technologies to produce their textile designs, and the art of hand printing and dyeing skills along with craft techniques has been reducing in recent years. The Design Council highlighted a skills gap specifically in the craft and clothing sectors in their 2017 report, Designing the Future Economy:

A lack of skill, experience or qualifications in the applicant base – particularly in the craft, clothing and product/industrial design sectors. (Design Council, 2017:7)

The study trip encouraged students to explore textile craft techniques and hand dyeing, working with staff and students from Amity. It was also supplemented with visits to factories to understand how such techniques can be applied mass production. The paper explores the benefits of such exchanges, using models such as Boyer’s 1990 proposal of four principles of learning, or four overlapping forms of scholarship of Discovery, Application, Integration, Teaching.

It subsequently maps the progress of the Northampton students in applying their new found skills upon their return to study and into the final year of study to assess the impact of the study programme.

References Accessed 4.1.2018
Boyer, E. (1990) Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate, San Francisco, CA. Jossy-Bass.

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