BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design

This multi-disciplinary degree explores surface design and textiles for fashion, interiors, contemporary craft and design-led products. Our students have an impressive history of success in national and international competitions. Our industry-experienced, dedicated team will nurture your skills in traditional practices and innovative digital processes, ready for a career in professional design.

Key information

Award:

BA (Hons)

Mode of Study:

Part-time

Duration:

4.5 years

Location:

The University of Bolton

UCAS points:

96

UCAS code:

W231

Start date:

20/09/2021

Course Details

Textiles and surface design is a fast-moving global industry encompassing a wide range of commercial contexts – from fashion fabrics and accessories, through stationery products and packaging, to interior fabrics and wall coverings, as well as contemporary gallery/design-led pieces. The creative and challenging BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design degree at the University of Bolton is taught by a dedicated and passionate team with extensive professional experience in researching, designing, creating, selling and exhibiting textile/surface design work. We understand the skills and knowledge you’ll need to succeed as a professional designer and impress potential employers and clients in the wider textile and surface design arena.

Our intensely practical approach aims to help you gain a broad portfolio of traditional and digital design skills. You’ll have space to experiment with different approaches, materials and techniques, and we’ll support and encourage you to cross the boundaries of textile disciplines and develop your own innovative approaches to designing and making. Historical and contextual studies help to underpin your practical knowledge and provide sources of inspiration.

Our professional design studios are equipped with workspaces and high-specification facilities for printed and dyed textiles, digital fabric, wallpaper and ceramic printing, laser cutting and etching, embroidery, fabric manipulation, non-woven textiles, and computer-aided design are available.

We’ll also support you to develop commercial awareness and entrepreneurial skills, including how to market, exhibit, work with design studios and set up in business, ready for success within the industry, contemporary gallery/craft environments. This degree will also enable you to look at alternative career choices within arts education or the wider creative industries.

Highlights
  • Our Art and Design courses are placed fourth in the UK and top in the North West of England for teaching quality by the Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021.
  • Our Art courses have also been placed in the top ten in the UK for student-to-staff ratio for the third year running by the Guardian University Guide 2021, so you'll have access to individual tutor support and small group teaching.
  • We’ll encourage you to enter national and international competitions. We are proud that many of our students have gained prestigious awards through the Bradford Textile Society, Première Vision Paris, New Designers Awards, Embroiderers Guild and the Society of Dyers and Colourists.
  • In 2019, graduate Jenny McCarthy won the New Designers Prestigious Textiles Associate Prize with her designs forming part of their 2020 collection.
  • Our alumni work in design studios with companies such as Graham and Brown Wallcoverings, Clarke and Clarke, Surface Print Ltd., SketchTwenty3 Wallcoverings, Standfast and Barracks, Stead McAlpin, Hallmark Cards, and UK Greetings (correct as of July 2021). Our graduates also work as designers exhibiting and selling work through gallery venues, including Manchester Craft and Design Centre and the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair.
  • 2018 Graduate Leanne Bellis gained a placement at Liz Casella New York and now works as a designer for companies including Macy’s New York and Wallmart USA. Also, in 2016, second-year student Kera Allen won the top award at the highly esteemed Surtex Designext Awards in New York.
  • We offer numerous opportunities to visit national and international trade fairs. In recent years, we’ve organised study trips to Surtex New York, Indigo Paris, The British Craft Trade Fair, Decorex and New Designers in London.
  • Our dedicated and specialist tutors have industry connections and extensive experience in researching, making, exhibiting and selling textiles, surface and design work, and are engaged in PhD research that feeds into the programme's content.
  • You’ll be introduced to the varied working practices of studio designers in the industry, contemporary textile artists and designer-makers and explore the range of materials and products textile and surface designers use and create – everything from fashion and interior fabrics, through wallcoverings, gift wrap, stationery, and cards, to ceramic tableware.
  • You’ll benefit from the opportunity to work on a major personal project and present it to the public as part of the Bolton School of the Arts final-year Creative Show.
  • Materials for workshop demonstrations are provided throughout the programme.
Key Features
  • Bolton has an impressive history of textile manufacturing and engineering spanning over 650 years, so you’ll be studying at a historic home of textile innovation in the UK. The University of Bolton maintains this tradition and is a leading centre of textile and materials research of global importance.
  • Facilities on campus include design studios, computer suites, a printed textile workshop, digital textile printing, embroidery and textile workshops, and paper print facilities. We offer industry-standard software and access to the latest global trend prediction sites. You’ll also have access to our wider arts and design facilities, including photographic studios, fine print and ceramic workshops.
  • Our long-standing reputation in the teaching and development of textile subjects means we can attract outstanding visiting speakers from across the commercial design and craft-led sectors. Recent speakers include Lauren Wan Designer New York, Liss Cooke Embroidery Designer Hand and Lock Competition (formerly Mary Katranzou), Martine Speight for Shaws Contract Carpets, Angela Mann Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair and Simeon Turnbull for Rosebank Fabrics.
  • Our proximity to Manchester, and links with the North West Craft Network and major galleries, workshops and associations in the region, mean you’ll be well-placed to take advantage of work placement opportunities.
  • We regularly set up industry-relevant live projects with external organisations and companies in our practical modules. These are designed to give you experience working to industry standards, help you learn the realities of working to design briefs and offer insights into current design practice.
  • We pride ourselves on the small group learning and one-to-one support we offer. You can expect to receive individual attention and guidance from our expert tutors, as well as online support through the University’s eLearning system Moodle.
Professional recognition


  • 96 UCAS points. Please see our guide to the UCAS Tariff for examples of how to achieve these points.
  • Your Level 3 subjects must include textiles or a related subject; for instance, A-level Textiles or BTEC Extended Diploma in Fashion and Textiles.
  • You should also have five GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent), including English.
  • We welcome your application if you have alternative qualifications or experience and a strong portfolio of relevant work.
  • You'll be required to attend for interview and to provide a portfolio of appropriate work.
  • If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details.

Want some reassurance or advice? Speak to one of our advisors. Email us at admissions@bolton.ac.uk or call us on +44 (0)1204 903 394.

Where changes are made to material information contained in this course description or a decision is taken to suspend a course between the offer of admissions and enrolment, we will inform applicants at the earliest possible opportunity and will outline the various options available to the applicant.


Our BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design degree is designed to develop your practical skills and equip you to be a successful designer. As a graduate of this programme, some of the key skills you will possess include your creative ability, project management skills, IT and technical skills, ability to work independently, interpretation of materials, and commercial awareness. You’ll also be able to critically evaluate and interpret materials, research designs, predict trends and communicate with clients, manufacturing staff, buyers and retailers.

The opportunity to visit galleries and museums, design studios and manufacturers, as well as fashion and textile trade fairs in the UK, Europe and USA, will broaden your understanding of commercial practice. Links with industry, including enterprise activities, professional exhibitions, live projects, national design competitions, and optional work placements, will enhance your learning experience.

What can I do with this qualification?

You can work in the textiles industry or use your creative flair and ability to generate ideas and concepts to match a brief in many other sectors. Graduates are currently using their experience to pursue careers as studio designers, in fashion retail roles, interior design, illustration, as self-employed designer-makers and entrepreneurs, and as teachers in educational establishments or art gallery environments. Others progress to self-employment, often designing and producing work for exhibitions, direct sale, or through retail craft outlets.

Postgraduate study provides the opportunity to develop and experiment with ideas and techniques and extend personal expertise into related areas. The job market is competitive, so you may find that taking a master’s degree or professional short course that enables you to develop your portfolio further, for example, our MA (Specialist Title) via Creative Practice, helps give you the edge, particularly when combined with relevant work experience.

Alternative career options

Graduates can use the qualification as a stepping-stone into a range of other careers. For some of these roles, relevant experience and/or postgraduate study may be required. They include:

  • Training and education
  • Arts marketing and events
  • Retail buying
  • Visual merchandising
  • Museum/gallery conservation and education
  • Journalism
  • Theatre set/costume production
  • Fabric technology
  • Research assistant

Course fees

Home students starting this course in the first year will be required to pay a Home fee of £6,000 for the academic year 2021/22.

Important note regarding tuition fees for the 2021-2022 academic year: EU nationals who meet residency requirements (have settled or pre-settled status) may be eligible for ‘Home’ fee status. If you do not meet these residency requirements, overseas fees will apply. Irish citizens living in the UK or Ireland will be eligible for ‘Home’ fee status under the Common Travel Area arrangement. Please read the student finance eligibility 2021-2022 policy on www.gov.uk for information.

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

For 2021-2022 entry, the maximum government approved undergraduate tuition fee for UK students is £9,250 per year. The University is able to charge this fee subject to an approved Access and Participation Plan for 2021-2022 and its current rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework.

Bursaries

Click here for more information about the scholarships and bursaries available to University of Bolton undergraduate students.


For details of how to apply for this course, please choose your status from the options below:

You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or admissions@bolton.ac.uk

International applications are not possible for this course

As an international student you are not allowed to study this course because of the restrictions on your visa.

We offer a wide range of full-time courses in lots of different subjects, many of our courses start in September and January. If you would like to see what courses are available please visit our Course Search.

University of Bolton Group Partners

Bolton College
University Technical College
University of Bolton

The University welcomes applications from our group partners and progressing students so we try to make our application process as simple and as fast as possible. By selecting the link for your chosen course from the list shown below you will be taken directly to our online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this and ensure you upload all supporting documents such as certificates and your personal statement when you apply.

Please ensure when you are asked to add a contact email address you add your college/university email account address as well as your personal address. If you do not add your college address as your contact address we will be unable to identify you as a partner and you will be referred to apply via UCAS, which incurs a cost.

We look forward to receiving your application and you continuing your academic journey with us!


We use a blended approach to teaching and learning – you’ll have face-to-face sessions and participate in online learning. Studio and computer suite-based activities are important features of the programme, alongside lectures, seminars and practical-based workshops in printed, embroidered and embellished textiles. We encourage you to participate in visits to galleries and museums, attend presentations by our visiting speakers, and go on location for drawing and visual research. You’ll also engage in self-directed study, with support from a range of staff, including technicians and library/learning resources staff.

Module briefs include a wide range of activities such as commercially-based design projects, live briefs, competitions and commissions, and self-initiated projects. In addition, there are opportunities for collaborative design briefs that involve working with students from other areas of art and design. The sharing of ideas and practices across disciplines helps you gain a broader understanding of textiles and surface design in the wider creative and global art and design-based industries.

In terms of assessment, you’ll have formative assessment to help you learn and develop your knowledge and skills, and summative assessment on which you are graded. You’ll receive individual help and advice on your personal work in one-to-one tutorials. Peer reviews, where you present your work to a small group of your fellow students for their comment, also provide useful feedback.

Formal assessment is by coursework. This may involve you presenting your portfolio of drawings/design work, textile samples or practical outcomes, along with a supporting sketchbook of developmental ideas, technical note files, and a written research journal. It can also take the form of essays, reports, verbal presentations, assignments, projects and other written work.

Modules

The modules listed below may be a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules shown as part of the course.

  • Material Practices 1
  • Material Practices 2
  • Surface Pattern: Principles and Processes
  • Design Studies 1: Critical Theory into Practice
  • Material Innovation: Concept, Practice and Process
  • Studio Practice: Concept, Design and Realisation
  • Professional Studio Practices
  • Design Studies 2: Critical Theory
  • Advanced Textiles and Surface Design Practice
  • Design Studies 3: Research in Context
  • Professional Practice and Self Promotion for Textiles and Surface Design
  • Major Project
Assessment methods
LevelAssesment method
Level oneCoursework 100%
Level twoCoursework 100%
Level threeCoursework 100%
Learning activities
LevelLearning activity
Level oneGuided independent study 53%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 47%
Level twoGuided independent study 68%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 32%
Level threeGuided independent study 68%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 32%

Disclaimer

The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. The university considers changes to courses very carefully and the university will minimise any changes. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis and changes may be necessary due to legitimate staffing, financial, regulatory and academic reasons. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up-to-date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason, we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

The academic staff detailed above teach across a range of courses in this subject area and may not teach on this course specifically.

Programme Contacts

Donna Claypool
Programme Leader

D.Claypool@bolton.ac.uk

+44 (0)1204 903370

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton

enquiries@bolton.ac.uk

+44 (0)1204 903903

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