Creative Arts

Staff research

Textile Design Research Group

The Textile Design Research Group is committed to understanding and progressing textile sustainable design research and practice through both traditional and practice-led approaches, particularly within collaborative and interdisciplinary working contexts.

Our expertise covers a diverse range of interests including traditional textile and craft practices; design process research; digital design, process development and production; smart textiles; sustainability and ethical practices; textiles and wellbeing; and drawing for textile design.

Our common focus develops from a fundamental understanding and core knowledge of design approaches, materials and specialist processes. Our work informs and impacts on many textile related fields in areas such as: sustainable design strategy, innovative production processes, issues relating to well-being and design pedagogy.

The group meets regularly to provide a cross-disciplinary forum from which to develop collaborative research projects and to support the development of individual research agenda. 

The Textile Design Research Group welcomes new collaborations with industry and academia. To contact us, email

Technology and Craft

The Creative Arts houses a range of contemporary textile technologies. This, alongside cross-disciplinary collaboration with scientific expertise within other Loughborough University departments, enables innovative research, which embraces digital technology and traditional hand skills alongside design excellence. We currently have a strong focus on digital techniques including laser processing. Research areas include novel construction methods, three-dimensional textiles and electronic and reactive textiles. Outcomes include new materials and processes, design collections and artefacts, which address sustainability and ethical practices.

Collaboration with Industry

We have a history in and are committed to working with industry both nationally and internationally. Members of the group exhibit regularly at international trade fairs providing innovative design solutions and high-level design consultancy for fashion and interiors. We undertake bespoke research projects for industry through investigating new technologies and materials, informed by the use of traditional hand skills. We are interested in pursuing this area further through funded Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and Collaborative Doctoral Awards and Partnerships.

Textiles for Wellbeing

The group is committed to practice-based research that explores and encourages utilising textile craft processes to improve wellbeing. Current projects explore the therapeutic process brought about by the repetitive nature of engaging in textile crafting as a hobby by men. Research in this area also employs the use of textile crafts in community-based projects to encourage the self-management of long-term and enduring mental health conditions. We are interested in continuing to contribute to research that investigates textile processes as alternative, non-pharmaceutical treatments of mental health illness.


The group is dedicated to research-led teaching and pedagogic development within textiles. Current projects relate to the role of drawing within textile design education and practice, the value of traditional and new technologies in textile education and the links between mathematics and art. Other research in this area embraces the construction of experiential knowledge through immersive practice and the integration of craft making in academic research, the result of which is aimed at teaching development.

Textiles and Architecture

There has always been a strong relationship between textiles and architecture. The latest developments in materials sciences and the possibilities offered by physical computing are creating the premises for new approaches to interior design and architecture. Members of the group are working closely with architects in the development of textiles based built environments and the critical inquiry of the Internet of Things. 

Members: Kerri Akiwowo, Paula Gamble-Schwarz, Rachael Grew, Terence Kavanagh, Ken Ri Kim, Bryony KingFrancesco Mazzarella,Jenny Pinski, Kerry Walton, Sally Yates

Associate members: Yemi Awosile, Faith Kane, Laura Morgan        

Postgraduate members: Sarah Green, Zoe John, Emma Osborne 

Kerri Akiwowo | email Kerri 

Kerri’s interests focus on new processes and materials, existing and emerging digital technologies, smart fabrics, performance sportswear and technical textiles, experimental approaches in printed textiles, patterning and surface design. Current areas of investigation include: digital laser-dye coloration and patterning approaches for textiles and garments; hybrid garment identities explored through novel fibres and textile design interpretations; and thermo-chromic and liquid crystal temperature sensitive screen-printing technologies for textiles, wearable displays and sports apparel.


Tincuta Heinzel / email Tincuta

Tincuta’s practice and research evolved around electronic and reactive textiles, technical textiles innovation processes, including nano-textiles, as well as social, economic and cultural aspects of textiles industry. With backgrounds in textiles arts and design practices, as well as in design theory and philosophy, she conducted research on the new aesthetic aspects of textiles (textiles and sound, textiles and interaction, etc.) and she took part in a series of projects related to the development of interactive textiles for smart homes and environments. For now, under what she labels as “aesthetics of imperceptibility” she is investigating the aesthetic issues of nano-materiality and electro-magnetism in textiles. She is also interested in the economic models accompanying the digitalization of the industry and the social implications they are entailing.


Ken Ri Kim / email Ken Ri


Ken Ri’s research focuses on digital Jacquard textiles in relation with design innovation, production efficiency and wearable technology. She has been developing novel weaving methods that resolve the current limitations of multiple weave colour reproduction, surface texture creation and multi-layered textile formation. Based on the existing and emerging digital technologies, she investigates weave structures, digital images/patterns and materials to explore the great potentials in digital weaving.


Jenny Pinski email Jenny

Jenny’s research interests revolve around hands-on/craft-based approaches to design and the application of textile approaches in other disciplines. Her expertise in footwear and woven textiles inform her current research which investigates the application of hands-on woven textile approaches to commercial sandal design. She uses her experience as a practitioner to engage in practice-based research and she is interested in the role of design practice in academic research.


Kerry Walton email Kerry

Trained as a weaver, Kerry is principally interested in textile design, construction and associated processes. Her current research is based around exploration of the relationships between drawing and textiles, both within her own practice and also concerning the relevance of these issues to a contemporary textiles education.