Fashion and Textiles

Dr. Emma Shercliff

Senior Lecturer – Textiles

PhD (Textiles - Royal College of Art); BA (Hons) Textiles and Fashion Design; FHEA; SEDA Supervising Postgraduate Research

Biography

After graduating I worked in Paris as a freelance textile designer and maker before returning to the UK to pursue an academic career. I have worked on design briefs for embroidery, print and knitwear (Caulliez, Harris Wilson); textile and fashion forecasting (Première Vision, Peclers, Promostyl, La Samaritaine); as artist’s assistant and studio manager collaborating in the production of installation works (Studio Orta); and as a self-employed seamstress producing prototypes (Studio Orta, Atelier Scarabee). My passion for teaching grew from running creative workshops with colleagues and participatory community arts projects. Having held visiting tutor positions on under- and post-graduate courses at various institutions in Paris, The Netherlands and the UK (ESMOD, ENSAD, Design Academy Eindhoven, Kingston University, Kent Institute of Art & Design, Falmouth University, Royal College of Art) I now hold a permanent position at the Arts University Bournemouth on the BA (Hons) Textiles course. Hands-on making has always been at the heart of my work and I continue to make large-scale textile pieces, video, drawings and writings, influenced by combining the traditions of embroidery and plain sewing with the challenging particularity of collective projects. This led to a PhD study exploring the making of stitched textiles in social contexts completed at the Royal College of Art in 2014. I have published and exhibited work in France and the UK, but also have works in homes, community centres and other people’s memories.

Professional practice

My specialist knowledge and experience lies within stitched textiles stretching from bespoke tailoring through the hand crafts of embroidery, plain sewing, braiding, patchwork and quilting, to CAD embroidery applications, manipulated textile surfaces and constructions, and the production of unique prototypes for contemporary art installations. I currently teach undergraduates across all three years, with responsibility for curriculum development at level 4 and student dissertations at level 6. Through my professional practice and research, I have experience in leading workshops with a wide variety of participants: at a grass roots level encouraging inter-generational communication and exchange through local community initiatives; specialist creative workshops with colleagues and students; and experimental or exploratory creative workshops used as research methods. Having completed a practice-led PhD, I am keen to embed an understanding of theories of design and making within studio practice, and develop research informed teaching practices.

Professional memberships

  • The Textile Society
  • Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy

Awards

  • AUB Research Fellowship (2014–2015)

Research Specialism

As an educator and practitioner-researcher I am interested in the contemporary values of hand skills. My research considers differences between implicit and explicit forms of knowledge and the meanings of hand-making within post-industrial digital cultures. For me, drawing and hand-stitching are contemplative acts, but also form the basis of my involvement in collective projects as shared social exchange. The particularities of these making processes inspire my interest in metaphor within creative textile practices, in expressions of identity and place, in the acquisition and transmission of embodied knowledge, and in experimental creative workshops as research methods. Following the completion of my PhD in 2014, I was awarded a Research Fellowship at the Arts University Bournemouth to explore the use and development of textile making workshops as creative research methods with the aim of developing a platform for critical dialogue amongst practitioner-researchers using these approaches in research contexts. Other research activities include: participation in the Association of Fashion and Textile Courses research events supporting networking amongst research students; contribution to departmental research methods seminars; peer review for JAR (Journal of Artistic Research).

Research Supervision

I currently co-supervise one PhD student, and am interested in research supervision of projects in these areas:

  • implicit and explicit forms of knowledge and the meanings of hand-making within post-industrial digital cultures
  • collective and social making practices
  • metaphor and creative textile practices
  • the acquisition and transmission of skills and embodied knowledge
  • experimental creative workshops as research methods
Back to results

Research output