21st Century Tapestry: an investigation of smart materials, technology interplay and heritage craftsmanship
Supported by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH), this studentship offers a unique opportunity to contribute new knowledge and insight within traditional tapestry practice as a structure for smart and e-textile development in partnership with Dovecot Studios and researchers from Edinburgh Napier University (ENU) and the University of Edinburgh (UoE).
This project connects Scotland’s world-renowned tapestry studio with pioneering smart textile design researchers from the School of Arts & Creative Industries (ENU), and Edinburgh College of Art (UoE), and draws on established research within the field of craft practice, smart textile design and technology integration with fine art tapestry weaving. As one of only five tapestry studios in the world, with a legacy of collaboration with world-class artists and architects spanning over a hundred years, the unique knowledge-base, skillset and working environment, and opportunities for public engagement, provide a unique research framework for the studentship.
The PhD project will explore and question how tapestry practice can embrace innovation in smart materials and create a new marketplace and audience for the medium. Specifically, the research will ask, what does a 21st century smart tapestry look like? How can the integration of technologies be embedded within traditional heritage tapestry practice and exploit new aesthetics? The project will involve practice-based research methodology and experimental prototyping, providing an experimental counterpoint to literature review work. It will also involve working on looms, using electronic components, conductive and state change materials, reflexive analysis of structural and material tapestry components. Included in the studentship is an 18-month placement at Dovecot, which will allow studio practice and knowledge exchange, workshops and involvement in wider research networks.