Dr Helena Britt - PGCert Supervision, PhD, MA, BA (Hons)

Job Title:

Lecturer: Undergraduate Coordinator, Subject Leader Printed Textiles


School of Design



Interwoven Connections
An exhibition and research project curated by Helena Britt

Interwoven Connections


Dr Helena Britt

Dr Helena Britt can act as a Primary or Co-Supervisor.

Research Keywords: Textile Design, Creative and Making Processes, Archives & Collections, Printed Textiles, Digital Printing, Design Education

Dr Helena Britt is a lecturer in the Department of Fashion and Textiles (F&T) responsible for teaching, research and coordination. Current and past projects use archive and practice-based methods, oral testimony and exhibition curation to investigate themes that intersect creative processes, designing, making and art school pedagogy. Ongoing research examines the ways in which designers and design groups act as curators, collectors and archivists, appropriating and reinterpreting historical design practice, motifs and procedures to generate new work. Research interests for supervisory responsibilities encompass aspects of historical and contemporary textile design, use of archives and collections, creative arts education, research-teaching linkages and practice-focused methodologies.

Funded by The Leverhulme Trust, an in-progress research fellowship explores creative processes, collaboration and interdisciplinarity surrounding the work and practices of The Cloth. This pioneering collective was formed in 1983 by Brian Bolger, David Band, Helen Manning and Fraser Taylor, for their Royal College of Art (RCA) graduate show. Prior to the RCA, Band and Taylor studied at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA). Central to the enquiry is Taylor’s archive donated to GSA’s Archives & Collections (A&C). Part of the fellowship examines the influence of GSA’s Printed Textile Department and Glasgow’s wider creative scene on Taylor’s creative development during the 1970s-80s. Funding from The Textile Society enabled the initial cataloguing and digitisation of Taylor’s archive, further supported by GSA. The fellowship project links to previous work on the history of textile education at GSA and specifically investigation into the School’s Fashion Show. Doctoral research also discussed the development of textile design higher education in the UK to define and articulate the evolving role of the designer educator in this context.

As Principal investigator, working with Duncan Chappell (GSA Library), ‘Interwoven Connections: The Stoddard Templeton Design Studio and Design Library, 1843-2005’ was funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Design History Society and GSA. Findings from historical investigation and oral histories increased understanding of carpet design in Scotland, by examining the workings of the Stoddard Templeton design studio and in particular use of the design library, today a special collection of the GSA Library. This project included an exhibition and accompanying publication, outreach activities, conference contributions and articles.

Other projects have involved collaboration with Alan Shaw (GSA’s Centre for Advanced Textiles - CAT) and Susannah Waters (GSA A&C), to uncover the work of post-World War II female pattern designers represented in GSA’s archives, resulting in a collection of digitally printed textiles and an exhibition. Led by Jimmy Stephen-Cran, (GSA Head of Department F&T) ‘Awaken’, examined the interpretation of archive material for contemporary design and explicated creative process examples. In collaboration with Elaine Bremner (GSA Lecturer), digitally printed textile lengths inspired by GSA’s Gillespie Kidd & Coia archive were presented in the group exhibition. Interests in digital printing evolved while studying printed textiles and practising as a designer leading to doctoral research, funded by CAT. The thesis argued that, for textile designer educators, working in an increasingly digital age, undertaking creative practice is of critical importance, due to the significant benefits of engagement in this activity, with findings and proposed strategies transferable across disciplines.

Networks, Editorial Boards and Reviewing:
• Co-editor, Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice.
• Association of Fashion & Textile Courses (FTC) Steering Group Member (Chair, 2014-2020).
• Conference Co-Chair: Futurescan 5: Conscious Communities.
• Conference Chair, Futurescan 4: Valuing Practice, Futurescan 3: Intersecting Identities.
• Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College member.
• Reviewer, Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, Textile: Cloth and Culture, Island Studies Journal.

Supervision and Examining:
• PhD Co-supervisor: Mhari McMullan, ‘Patterning Paisley: Museum Retail and Strategies for Commercialising a Historical Textile Collection through Contemporary Textile Practice’.
• MRes Co-supervisor: Megan Allan, ‘Textile Design Thinking: Building a Responsible Practice’.
• External examiner – PhD, MRes/MDes and BA/BA(Hons).

PGCert Supervision in Creative Practices, The Glasgow School of Art (2013)
PhD, The Glasgow School of Art (2008)
MA Printed Textiles, Royal College of Art (2001)
BA (Hons) Printed Textiles, Liverpool John Moores University (1999)

Follow Helena on Twitter @Brittish_Design
On Instagram: @helena__britt