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DRS Announces New Interdisciplinary Textiles SIG

DRS Announces New Interdisciplinary Textiles SIG

The DRS is pleased to announce the launch of the Interdisciplinary Textiles Research Special Interest Group, convened by Tincuta Heinzel, Loughborough University, and co-convened by Delia Dumitrescu (Boras School of Textiles, Sweden); Sara Robertson (Royal College of Art, London, UK); Oscar Tomico (Eindhoven University of Technology, NL); Afroditi Psarra (University of Washington in Seattle, USA); Irene Posch (University of Arts, Linz, Austria); Anne Louise Bang (Via University College, Denmark). Aurélie Mossé (École des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France); Pirjo Kääriäinen (Aalto University, Finland); Faith Kane (Massey University, New Zealand); Julia Cassim (Visiting Professor, UAL, Kyushu University, Akita University of the Arts); and Elaine Igoe (University of the Arts, London / University of Portsmouth, UK). Read more about the new SIG below!

What is your SIG about? 

One of the oldest of technologies, textiles are positioned now at the leading edge of interdisciplinary work in design, arts, engineering, and theoretical research. Integral to our daily life (through fashion, interiors, technical uses ranging from space industry to medicine, building, agriculture or even soft robotic systems), textiles are the most common example of complexity in terms of materials research, design and fabrication processes, applications and uses, and for  speculative, metaphorical and semiotic inquiry. At the same time, textiles can be used as lenses to better understand and exemplify design interrogations and philosophies of making. The SIG encourages a systemic perspective that enables it to reflect on textiles objects, environments and contexts, to investigate textiles design processes and practices and the dynamics between them. 

The communities involved in textiles research and production are extensive and diverse in terms of the cultures and skill sets involved. The aim of the SIG is precisely to fill this gap and facilitate international exchanges related to textile design research, to ensure that processes-oriented approaches are addressed  alongside their relevance to existing and hoped-for social and economic futures, where analysis and speculation can come together.

What are your aims and goals?

The aim of this SIG is to promote collaborative and interdisciplinary textiles design research -  to become a platform where art, design, and engineering-driven approaches to textiles are welcomed alongside the associated theoretical aspects related to them and the textile industry itself. The new SIG enables a platform from which to raise awareness of the potential roles and value of textile practice within interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary design research. By creating this space of discourse, connection and collaboration, our goal is to build capacity and extend the textile practice research. 

Our areas of interest are related to the conception, fabrication and the use of textiles, their contexts and conditions of manufacturing and consumption, where both STEM and humanities approaches are encouraged. Collaborative, interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary perspectives will aim to address the breadth of textiles: from materials and techniques to processes, from applications to social and industrial configurations, from historical to contemporary aspects related to textiles, from crafts to industrial textile design, as well as sustainable, aesthetic, and emotional aspects of textile design. The perspective we are adopting is that of textiles and textiles design, but also of their systems and ecosystems.

The main aims of the SIG are:

  • To encourage an interdisciplinary approach to textiles design research;
  • To create a high-quality research environment for textiles design to support PhD students and early career researchers;
  • To facilitate the networking between the members of the SIG and to develop common research projects;
  • To offer a voice in the context of DRS to the researchers working in the field of textile design;
  • To offer visibility to the published research in the field of textiles design;
  • To internationalize the field of textiles design research.



Who are the SIG's convenors? 

This SIG is supported by the community involved in the organization of the Textile Intersections conference ( and members of Arcintex Network ( The SIG convenors are researchers in the field of design and textiles with experience in both academia and industry and a long track record of textiles- related research projects. Their expertise covers different areas of textiles design research and they are internationally active. 

The SIG welcomes researchers and practitioners interested in the areas advanced by the SIG and get involved in the activities of the SIG and to support its development.



Do you have any upcoming programs, newsletters, or events you'd like to share with our members? Or any ideas for the SIG you would like to pursue? 

The first meeting of the SIG will take place during the Textile Intersections conference ( to be organized in London between 20th -23rd of September 2023 at Loughborough University - London campus. 

Apart from the Textile Intersections conference, SIG members will also have the opportunity to meet and get involved in the activities of the upcoming Arcintex meetings ( 

In October 2023, it will take place Textiles and Place conference at the Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University ( 

The SIG aims specifically to support young researchers and to offer visibility to their research in the field of textiles design research through annual doctoral consortiums, research seminars, workshops, exhibitions, and collaborative outputs. At the same time, Textile Intersections conference, which will be organized biannually, will offer a platform to present interdisciplinary research related to textiles design research. 

Overall, one of the main aims of the SIG is to mediatise the relevant events related to textiles and textiles design research through newsletters.


How will being based with the Design Research Society benefit your SIG's work and research?

Being a part of the DRS community will enable the work and academic networks and connections that the SIG holds to expand. Based on their expertise, SIG members are encouraged to propose themes for new activities, lead discussions or facilitate SIG events, to co-author and review SIG publications. We are also planning to be proactive in the events organized by the DRS. Periodic communications with the other SIGs of the DRS and the DRS board will support the collaborations with those SIGs and the development of common events.

The SIG also aims to establish a special repository in the frame of the DRS Digital Library, where the reviewed outputs of their activities will be published. Proceedings of the Textile Intersections conference, catalogues of the associated exhibitions, and special issues in partnerships with journals focusing on textiles design research (such as Journal of Textiles Design Research and Practice ( are just some examples of publications to be included in the DRS Digital Repository. We aim to create in this sense a specialized library dedicated to interdisciplinary textiles research.

  • Britta Boyer I would be interested to be involved in this - thanks, Britta -
    11 months ago