As the Head of the School of Design it is my pleasure to welcome you to our School.
The School is relatively new, evolving in 2000 out of the former School of Textile Industries, one of the original departments when the University was founded in 1904. This evolution was a recognition of the potential for combining design and technology and creating a dynamic interface between the two powerful creative industries. Indeed, the sculpture by the famous American sculptor, Mitzi Cunliffe, on top of our Clothworkers’ South Building eloquently reflects the importance of this integration of creative design into the emerging manmade fibres industry of the 1960s.
The School has grown and developed over its first 20 years and established a global reputation for excellence in design and textile technology. Its success is built not only on the commitment, professionalism and quality of the academic and support staff but also on the innovation in our research and the embedding of research-led teaching into our degree programmes. That close association between research and teaching provides the foundation of our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and prepares our graduates to get jobs that lead to successful careers.
A common view is that the world has got “smaller”. Clearly this is not true but rather a reflection of better transportation, better communication and greater awareness. In being part of this global community, the School has invested in new facilities to enhance our teaching and research so that we are relevant not just in the UK but also worldwide. Our previous refurbishments and upgrades have focused on strengthening the interface between the creative disciplines and building an environment where students thrive. That has involved new buildings, new equipment and greater educational and research opportunities. We are currently completing a new nonwovens facility (~£3M) that will both reinforce the School’s position at the forefront of fibre research but also further catalyse conversations and collaboration between designers and technologists.
Currently it is an exciting time at the School as we look forward and prepare for the changing world. Our challenge is to embrace that change and lead that creative process. So further developments in progress in the School will focus on emerging areas and lead to establishing a design-led immersive technologies centre and exploiting the potential for AI/Big Data in the creative industries. Linking these initiatives to our existing core research themes in Colour, Sustainability and Healthcare will certainly provide a challenge in the next few years and is one we look forward to.
My invitation to you is to visit us, become part of that conversation and see how we can design a new and better world! All the best.
Head of School of Design