Statement of responsibility: Helena Britt
This research investigates the role of the designer educator in the development of digitally created and digitally printed textiles. The term designer educator has been created and defined for this research to describe individuals who engage in their own creative design practice and work in design education. Creative practice is defined as a designing or making based activity. This thesis argues that, for textile designer educators, working in an increasingly digital age, undertaking creative practice is of critical importance, due to the significant benefits that engagement in this activity provides for the individual, students and education institution. The rationale for undertaking this research arose from personal observations and experiences, supported by situations existent in contemporary textile design higher education (HE) in the United Kingdom (UK). This thesis responds to pressures placed upon educators by the contemporary education system which can be counterproductive to undertaking own creative practice. As equipment and processes are continually evolving, this situation is considered particularly problematic for individuals involved with teaching digital technologies. Designer educators’ creative practice is seen as a means to update skill and understanding, which can be used to enhance teaching and curriculum content. A self case study, quantitative survey and case studies with other designer educators, primarily consisting of qualitative interviews are used to investigate the role of the designer educator and in particular those working with digital technologies. The project centres on textile design HE in the UK, although it is anticipated that findings and conclusions will be transferable to other art and design disciplines. This thesis increases understanding surrounding the nature of the contemporary textile designer educator role operating in UK HE; in doing so the multifarious nature of the term is exposed. The importance of designer educators’ creative practice has been identified in view of the benefits that participation in this activity brings to the individual, students and educational institution. In particular, engagement in creative practice has been found to be critically important for those involved with teaching digital design and printing technologies, due to the need to keep pace with technological developments. Although forms of support exist for designer educator creative practice, issues and difficulties are encountered. This thesis proposes a series of strategies directed towards individuals, educational institutions and organisations to enhance support for the maintenance and development of designer educators’ creative practice.
PhD (Practice-Based) Glasgow School of Art 2008
Practicing to teach