NTUs Katherine Townsend works on important fashion projects

NTU's Katherine Townsend works on important fashion projects

 October 26, 2023

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Did you know that reusable PPE gowns can still only be washed 75 times before going to landfill?

As such, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) Nottingham School of Art & Design challenged staff, students, and industry to reuse the material otherwise going to waste.

Professor Katherine Townsend discussed recent work and some of the worthwhile projects related to reusable PPE material, with creations being shown in NTU's PPE Refashioned exhibition at its Bonington Atrium.

Katherine explained that: "The first aim was to create reusable gowns, which we did with industry to replace single-use PPE products, but then that creates another waste stream because gowns can only be worn 75 times in the UK. After that they are sent offshore or to landfill. So the challenge to students and staff initially through workshops was to see how could we use this material that was going to be disposed of. So what you can see here are interpretations from printing to embroidery, even shredding and knitting the fabric, as well as street wear, occasion wear and conceptual pieces."

Impressive female academic 

Professor Katherine Townsend is a researcher, educator, practitioner and Professor in Fashion and Textile Practice in the Fashion, Textiles and Knitwear department in the School of Art and Design. She is a PhD supervisor who contributes to postgraduate and undergraduate teaching and is a research mentor to other academics. She leads the School of Art and Design Research Lecture programme and is a member of the School Research Committee and REF Advisory Group.

She leads the Digital Craft and Embodied Knowledge research group whose focus is on the development of craft based methodological frameworks for investigating and extending the scope and language of designing and making. She is a member of the Clothing Sustainability and Advanced Textiles groups, and has contributed to funding proposals, projects and reports. She has devised and supervised numerous PhD studentships aligned to the aims of all three groups.

Her role also includes leading and participating in collaborative research projects. Increasingly these are focused on enhancing the well-being of individuals in overlooked demographics, requiring holistic approaches to making/ technology, as explored in the co-edited anthology, Crafting Anatomies; Archives, Dialogues, Fabrications (2020).

Published researcher 

In 2009, Professor Katherine Townsend co-founded the journal of Craft Research (Intellect UK), which she continues to edit across two issues per year, featuring makers from 25 countries across all continents. She has led various School-funded textile research enquires and curated exhibitions, notably Metallic Sound (2010) which featured the innovative textiles of Kinor Jiang and master weaver and Nuno co-founder, Junichi Arai; Closely Held Secrets (2010) which interrogated the hidden, skilled exchange between technical experts and artists including artist Grayson Perry, and Crafting Anatomies (2015) which brought together the work of over 40 international practitioners working across art, design and bio/science.

Her work has been published in Crafting Textiles in the Digital Age (2016); Metric Pattern Cutting for Womenswear (2015 [2008]); Lace, Here Now (2013), Digital Visions in Fashion and Textiles: Made in Code (2012), Textile Design Research and Practice (2014 & 2018), The Design Journal (2004 & 2014); Textile: the journal of cloth and culture (2011 & 2019) and Russian Fashion Theory (2014) and Textile Design: Principles, advances and applications (2011), which she co-edited.

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