Dr Karen Dennis

Profile

I am a lecturer, designer and maker who has been actively involved in sustainable design, social enterprise and academia for the past 25 years. I worked as a designer/pattern cutter in the fashion industry for 5 years after which I held lecturing positions at Leeds University (Programme Manager BA Hons Fashion Design Management), Leeds College of Art and Design (Critical Studies) and Huddersfield University (Programme Manager MA International Fashion Design Management). In these roles I contributed to cross disciplinary teaching and learning, developed and delivered resources pertaining to fashion, design and contextual studies and pursued interests in practice-based research. In 2004 I established a social enterprise (Ketchup Clothes) to provide a context for the design, manufacture and consumption of clothes made from found and recycled materials. Through this I continue to develop prototypes for manufacture, provide training and workshops and explore mechanisms for upscaling models of circular production.

My interest in recycling and of using textile waste as a viable resource in clothes manufacture began when I established the NoLoGo, OXFAM initiative whilst I was undertaking my degree in Textile Design at Leeds University (1995). This explored utilising donated items, converting them into new clothing and selling via one of the charities shops. I worked with volunteers to establish a workroom from which production took place and helped set up retail mechanisms and systems.  I took the context of product development within a charity retail setting further within my PhD study (Leeds University, 1999) which was concerned with the impact of development initiatives on producers and the types of inventions that have the most impact in terms of employment generation, poverty alleviation and technology transfer. I undertook data collection in India, Nepal and Zambia and worked alongside development agencies such as Oxfam, the British Council and the Intermediate Technology Group. In 2019 I took a sabbatical to expand my research in the charity retail sector and spent a year working as a designer and pop up retail manager for the charity, Martin’s House Children’s Hospice.

Responsibilities

  • Module Manager MA Global Fashion Retail Management
  • Module Manager (Acting) Design Management and Trends

Research interests

Research projects

Problem Solving through Game Based Learning: The Fashion Virus

 

Publications

Five selected publications:

Dennis, K. (2018) Martin House Makers: Exploring Modes of Thrift, Upcycling and Make within the Charity Retail Sector in Fashion: Engaging with Fashion: Perspectives on Communication, Education and Business, Bloom Publications, Oxford, UK pp.  ISBN: 978-90-04-38242-8

Dennis (Shah),K., C. Evans, C. Kahabi & A. Lugallo (2017) A Space of Waste in Conference Proceedings for Circular Transitions, 23rd - 24th November 2016, Tate Modern, London, UK published online at http://circulartransitions.org/

Dennis (Shah), K (2016) ‘Practice what we preach’. In: Futurescan 3: Intersecting Identities. Loughborough: Loughborough University. pp. 168-176. ISBN 9781911217084

Dennis (Shah), K (2015) ‘Dilemmas of Development and The Reconstruction of Fashion’. In: Environmental Implications of Recycling and Recycled Products. London, UK: Springer. pp. 101-134. ISBN 978-981-287-642-3

Dennis, K (2003) ‘The Role of the Designer in Sustainable Development’. In: Design and Manufacture for Sustainable Development. Cambridge, UK: Professional Engineering Publishing. . ISBN 1-86058-427-6

 

Chapters

Dennis, K. (2018) Martin House Makers: Exploring Modes of Thrift, Upcycling and Make within the Charity Retail Sector in Fashion: Engaging with Fashion: Perspectives on Communication, Education and Business, Bloom Publications, Oxford, UK pp.  ISBN: 978-90-04-38242-8

Dennis (Shah), K (2015) ‘Dilemmas of Development and The Reconstruction of Fashion’. In: Environmental Implications of Recycling and Recycled Products. London, UK: Springer. pp. 101-134. ISBN 978-981-287-642-3

Dennis, K (2010) ‘Sustainable futures’ Radar , 1 (1), pp. 14-15. ISSN 2049-4327

Dennis, K (2008) ‘Sustainable Design and Development: A Personal Journey’. In: Design, Pedagogy, Research. Huddersfield, UK: Jeremy Mills. pp. 85-98. ISBN 978-1-906600-35-8

Dennis, K (2003) ‘The Role of the Designer in Sustainable Development’. In: Design and Manufacture for Sustainable Development. Cambridge, UK: Professional Engineering Publishing. . ISBN 1-86058-427-6

 

Journals

PENDING

do Paço, Arminda Maria; Leal , Walter; Veiga Ávila, Lucas; Dennis, Karen, (2020) Fostering Consumer Sustainable Behaviour Regarding Clothing: Buying, Recycling and Disposal, Textile Research Journal

 

Conference Proceedings

Dennis. K & C. Evans, 2019 , Virtual Platforms and Material Manifestations : Extending Textile Waste Reclamation Possibilities for Micro Fashion Enterprises. Making Futures: People, Place, Meaning : Crafting Social Worlds and Social Meaning, 19-20 September, Plymouth College of Art, UK

Dennis, K., C. Evans, C. Kahabi & A. Lugallo (2017) A Space of Waste in Conference Proceedings for Circular Transitions, 23rd - 24th November 2016, Tate Modern, London, UK published online at http://circulartransitions.org/

Dennis (Shah), K (2016) ‘Practice what we preach’. In: Futurescan 3: Intersecting Identities. Loughborugh: Loughborugh University. pp. 168-176. ISBN 9781911217084

 

Conference Presentations

Dennis (Shah), K (2016) ‘Explorations in Time and Space: Re-thinking Global Recycling Practices’. In: Costume and Fashion in Context and Practice symposium, 5-6th December 2016, Heritage Quay, University of Huddersfield

Dennis (Shah), K. and Kahabi, C. (2016) ‘Development of A Tanzanian National Dress: Explorations in Co-design , Recycling and Identity’. In: Non Western Fashion Conference, 24th - 25th November 2016, Antwerp

Dennis (Shah), K.  (2016) ‘Revolutions Come in Cycles: Mapping New Paradigms in Fashion Research and Practice To Social Change’. In: Fashion: Exploring Critical Issues, 8th Global Meeting, 5 - 7th September 2016, Mansfield College, Oxford

Dennis, K (2015) ‘Want Some Sauce On That ? Recycling Clothes the Ketchup Way’. In: 21st Century Thrift: An Intellectual Archeology. Revolutionary Radicalism or Social Conservatism?, 8 May, 2015, Royal Holloway University, London

Dennis (Shah), K (2015) ‘From Skip to Catwalk: An Investigation into Viable Pattern Cutting Techniques for Recycled Clothing.’. In: The Second International Conference for Creative Pattern Cutting, 24th - 25th February 2016, University of Huddersfield

Dennis (Shah), K (2014) ‘To Re:Make, To Re:Do, To Re:Think - Localised Production in a Globalised World’. In: Transitions: Rethinking Textiles and Surface, 26th - 27th November 2014, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, United Kingdom

Dennis (Shah), K (2014) ‘Beyond Hegemonic Dress: Reclaiming Localised Fashion Design Practices’. In: 3rd International (Non)Western Fashion Conference The Global Politics of Fashion, 22-23 November 2014, Hong Kong University, Hong Kong

Dennis (Shah), K., 2014, Postgraduate Education Case Study – Cross Disciplinary Approaches to Live Briefs, paper presented at Interdisciplinary Imaginations – Using Creative Methodologies to Solve Wicked Problems, HEA workshop, School of Art, Design and Architecture, 14th January

Dennis (Shah), K (2013) ‘Ya Mtu Hupangwa Na Mungu - Conversations in Cloth’. In: Yinka Shonibare; Material Positions, 27 June 2013, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK

Dennis, K (2012) ‘Managing the Masses: The Highs and Lows of Large and Multi Cohort Lecturing’. In: How learning happens: Teaching and Learning Conference, 14th September 2012, Business School, University of Huddersfield

Dennis, K (2011) ‘Waste Not: Want Not: Clothes Recycling and Academic Research’. In: We live In Material World: Researcher Night, 23rd September, 2011, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK

Dennis, K (2011) ‘Fashioning Cloth: Shaping Lives,’. In: Outside: Activating Cloth to Enhance the Way We Live Conference,, 23rd January 2012, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK

Dennis, K (2009) ‘Its Christmas in Hyde Park: Design Activism and Design Management’. In: Leeds Festival of Design Activism, 2nd-4th July 2009, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK

 

Practice-based outputs

Dennis, K (2016) Ketchup Clothes: Explorations in Recycling . Catalogue of Practice-based outputs, Huddersfield, UK

Dennis, K (2011) ‘Passion for Fashion : Recycling Clothes for Financial Inclusion’. In: Passion for Fashion, 2011 - 2013, Leeds and Huddersfield

Dennis, K (2011) Global Denim Project [Artefact]

Dennis, K (2010) Pandemonium Theatre Collective [Performance] In: Walk about theatre, Various UK and international festivals, Glastonbury, Beatherder, Solfest, Limetree, Big Chill (Submitted)

Alternative Fashion Awarded runner up in the emerging designers award 2008  (8.32 mins in)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgd2ARQY4nM&t=304s

 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Qualifications

  • PhD / Design / University of Leeds
  • MSc / Multi-Media and E:Learning / Huddersfield University
  • BA (Hons) / Textile Design / University of Leeds

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy