Course Details

A degree programme at the cutting edge of textile design, the BA Textile Design is rooted in WSA’s longstanding tradition of excellence in textiles. We teach the latest digital techniques as well as traditional manual processes, encouraging you to explore ways to use old and new methods in innovative ways.

The relatively small intake on the course means we can offer a high level of support, helping you to become an accomplished designer and researcher with high-level practical skills.

Course structure and content

This is a three-year, full-time degree course, with two semesters per year. You’ll have the freedom to experiment with different media in year one before choosing a print, knit or weave pathway.

Year one

During year one you’ll develop the practical and intellectual skills that will underpin your future studies. We will introduce you to the fundamentals of textile design through practical workshops and hands-on assignments. You’ll be able to try out knit, print and weave processes so that you can choose the right pathway for you.

In semester two the emphasis is on materials; you’ll be encouraged to explore and experiment with combinations of fibres, yarns and fabrics. You’ll also take the distinctive Textile Contexts module, which examines the latest issues facing industry, such as sustainability and ethical practice, giving you a more informed view of real-world challenges in the textiles field.

Year two

In year two you’ll develop your skills further, exploring and experimenting with ideas with the aim of developing your own informed, independent practice. In addition, you’ll learn more about cutting-edge technologies such as CAD (computer-aided design), digital and sublimation printing and laser cutting, and how to use them in combination with traditional techniques.

Gain industry experience or study abroad

Semester 2   your second year also includes the exciting opportunity to study overseas or to work on competitions or live industry projects, in the Professional Practice in Textile Design module, which involves developing work for company briefs and provides valuable experience for your CV. For example, you might design fabrics for a particular product range or sector. You’ll learn from visiting textile designers and receive professional feedback on your work.

Alternatively, you may spend a semester studying abroad at a partner university. A fantastic opportunity for academic, creative and personal development, studying abroad will enable you to gain a different perspective on textile design. You’ll make new friends and contacts while immersing yourself in another culture. We have partners in a number of countries including Japan, Sweden, Germany, France, Canada, Denmark, and Spain (teaching is in English).

Optional modules

You can personalise your course further in year two through your choice of optional module. You can select from a range of modules on different aspects of creative and professional practice, to suit your interests and career goals. Topics include problem solving, visual culture, digital culture, entrepreneurship, sustainability and marketing.

Year three

In year three you’ll have the freedom to choose your own brief and put your learning into practice in the Professional Textile Practice module. You’ll work towards creating professional-standard pieces and a portfolio for your final major project, informed by in-depth research. You’ll reflect on your practice through written assignments as the year progresses.

The year culminates in an in-house showcase of students’ final project work in Winchester. In addition, our most talented students have the opportunity to show their work in London – in previous years at New Designers in London.

First-class facilities 

Each pathway is richly resourced with generous studio time and access to an unrivalled range of facilities and equipment, including a desk for every student. You’ll be able to learn a range of hand and computerised techniques to realise your creative ambitions. Facilities include:

A Mimaki digital printer, heat-transfer printing and large hand screen-printing tables with adjoining screen exposing rooms and dye labs computerised Shima Seiki knitting machines across three gauges, a variety of single and doublebed Dubied knitting machines, linkers and manual knitting machines an industry-standard jacquard loom, a variety of computerised AVL dobby looms, arm looms, dobby looms, and small hand sample looms the WSA library, which houses comprehensive collections of textiles books, journals and magazines as well as a wide range of other arts-related materials

Dedicated librarians and technical staff will help you get the most out of these resources.

Research-led practice

We recognise that research is the cornerstone of good design, teaching you the creative research skills that are crucial on the course and in the workplace.

In addition, you can benefit from being part of a research-intensive Russell Group university by participating in interdisciplinary projects that bring together ground-breaking scientific research and textile design. For example, a current project is looking at smart textiles, working with experts from computer science, neuroscience and medicine to explore the idea of textiles to aid healing and recovery.

Industry links

We have extensive connections across the spectrum of textiles organisations, including major designers and suppliers. For example, we have links with Alexander McQueen, Colefax and Fowler, Cath Kidston, John Lewis, Liberty, Monsoon and Osborne and Little, ASOS and Tommy Hilfiger.

Our industry contacts ensure the course is up to date with the latest sector developments and helps you to develop your industry knowledge in preparation for your career. You’ll be exposed to industry throughout the course through:

  • industry guest speakers
  • live projects
  • competitions – for example, the Worshipful Company of Knitters awards an annual monetary prize towards a student’s final collection, and our students are regularly selected for the prestigious Texprint competition
  • study visits in the UK and overseas to design studios, mills and manufacturers

Outstanding academics

All our staff have extensive textile industry experience and are practising professionals as well as expert educators.

Ms Rose Murray-Langdon Programme Leader. A self confessed textile geek, I appreciate the range and scope of textile design and innovation. I was fortunate to study at the RCA and went on to have a successful career as a knitwear designer working for an internationally renowned swatch studio, followed by working for suppliers and Great Plains. I worked as a freelance knit designer for Italian factories and worked in print design. I returned to education to understand better the issues and possible solutions to the environmental challenges in the textile industry, gaining an MSC from the university of Leeds. I have taken my enthusiasm and knowledge to education teaching at FE and HE level. I am researching the association between education and sustainability.

Ms Deirdre Campion has industry and commercial expertise within fabric printing, wallpaper design, design for embroidery and decorative pattern for jacquard weaving. She has worked with high-end furnishing brands as a designer and design director. Initially trained in Ireland, followed by a design history masters from the Royal College of Art and Victoria and Albert Museum, she combines modern textile techniques and innovation with archival research for interior use. Her teaching is underpinned by her interest in drawing as fundamental to design in both modern digital textile design and the traditional methods of hand produced screen-printed design.

Ms Lisa Burn-Hunter is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Knitwear for Fashion within Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton. Lisa graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1995 in Fashion Design. She worked in Paris for knitwear fashion designer Irena Gregori, for Loewe in Madrid, and then in London for Marks and Spencer, Saltwater, Karen Millen and John Lewis.

Ms Odina Keim is a Teaching Fellow in Knitwear for Fashion within Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton. Odina graduated from Winchester School of Art in 2001 in knitwear, specialising in fine gauge, intricate CAD fabrics used for lingerie. Since then she has worked for Knitwear swatching companies and international Yarn trend forecast trade shows whilst maintaining a loyal connection with Winchester School of Art. She is a trained CAD knit and Shima Seiki programming specialist and is experienced in fabric construction and pattern development. She also manages the 3 industrial Shima Seiki machines in the knitwear area.

View the programme specification for this course for next years entrants

Key Facts

  • Develop high-level skills in knit, print or weave and pursue your own creative textile design projects.
  • Learn the latest digital techniques alongside traditional manual methods.
  • Generous studio access and an unrivalled range of equipment including Shima Seiki and Dubied knitting machines, a Mimaki printer and a jacquard loom, as well as manual facilities.
  • Choose to spend a semester working on industry projects, doing a work placement or studying abroad.
  • Taught by academics with extensive professional textile design experience.
  • Exposure to industry throughout the course, through guest lectures, study visits and competition opportunities.
  • Study in an inspiring art school community within a Russell Group university, with easy access to London.
  • Our graduates’ career destinations include Alexander McQueen, Cath Kidston, Colefax and Fowler, John Lewis, Osborne and Little, Monsoon and Liberty.
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