Programme Leader – BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design and
Academic Group Co-ordinator - Student Recruitment and Retention


Donna is Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design teaching printed textile design for commercial and craft based practices. She has extensive experience of making, selling and exhibiting textile designs, and her professional experience supports curriculum development in this area. She also shares her extensive practical working knowledge of traditional print design, manufacturing processes and design techniques.

Before embarking on teaching full time, Donna worked from a studio at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre where she was also Director.  She is a member the Association of Degree Courses in Fashion and Textiles, and also the North West Craft Network, regularly contributing to discussions surrounding the development of craft within the region. This year Donna acted as a panel member to select exhibitors for the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. 

Research Interests

Donna is currently engaged in a PhD by Practice (prospective) entitled ‘Interpreting the Archives, The Joseph Johnson Collection 1944 – 1970’. She is examining the pattern book and design collection through application of the theories of material culture, including the visual anthropological and historical study of artefacts and designs held in the Bolton Museum Industrial Collection archives.

Donna is providing a creative and critical response to the specific collection held in Bolton Museum in order to gain an understanding of the design, historical and cultural significance of this pattern based collection both nationally and internationally. By practically examining the aesthetic qualities evident in the original designs and interpreting these through the use of emerging technologies and new manufacturing processes, she hopes to evidence the significant achievements of the designers.

This practice will be supported by simultaneously examining the historical and social dimensions in order to explore the knowledge of historical social contexts, and the relationship with global trade and industry. Core research questions examine ‘what can we learn about methods of production and the cultural, social and historical references found through critical analysis and creative interpretation of archival material through the application of the theories of embedded and embodied knowledge?’.

The study of craft and design processes is an inherent part of her teaching practice, and as such Donna has developed an undergraduate project, to run concurrently, to support student research practices relating to the wider history of textiles in Bolton and the relationship with the Bolton Mechanics Institute of 1824. The resulting work will result in student-led research papers, artefacts and a major exhibition of work due Summer 2017.

Research informed teaching activities

As part of the Teaching Intensive Research Informed (TIRI) Conference 2015, a paper entitled ‘Internationalisation of the Textiles and Surface Design Programme’ enabled students to gain relevant insight into production and subsequent exhibition of design outputs for Premiere Vision Paris 2015.  Donna has also organised student-centred exhibitions in the UK and overseas – these regular trade show visits enable current research and thinking to feed into the teaching of individual modules, and the facilities within the department.

Publications and Research Outputs

Research and Innovation Conference 2014 Paper Presentation ‘Artist Interventions with the Archives’ examining artist-led practices across the UK.

An abstract entitled ‘Origins – Creative Interpretation of the history of textiles in Bolton, UK, through material based enquiry’ has been submitted to International Material and Cloth Culture Conferences. This outlines not only PhD practice-led outcomes but also the student-centred project responding to the wider collections at the Bolton Museum due to take place January to May 2017, culminating in a staff and student exhibition in Summer 2017.