Surface Pattern and Textiles Students have Inspirational Glimpse at their Design Futures!


To kickstart the final term of this academic year, UWTSD’s Surface Pattern and Textiles programme has been celebrating the incredible employment and entrepreneurial opportunities that lie ahead for their students. 


Harriet Popham, Charlotte Field and Grace Exley

A series of events involving a plethora of talks, workshops, and tutorials with returning alumnae and design practitioners has been the catalyst for an optimistic buzz in the department.  Students are now more ready than ever to take on the design world!

Programme Manager Georgia McKie said:  “It’s always with such pride that we welcome back alumnae.  During these events we heard from graduates who completed only 2 years ago and are thriving in a variety of creative employment fields, and we heard from those who graduated 9 and 10 years ago, now in senior employment and well-established self-employed roles.

“It was touching that all of the graduates still cherish the memories of their time with us and draw on the skills that they left with in their creative practice daily.  We are grateful that they want to give back in this way.” 

“The events of the past fortnight are perfectly placed to boost our students who are poised to graduate this summer.  Nothing substitutes hearing from those who have been in your shoes before, who are now living proof that these are great shoes to fill!” 

The events of ‘Surface Pattern and Textiles Futures Week’ welcomed back Rosie Jiggins - MA Textiles Alumna turned Creative Director of RMJ Studio and Swatch Editor, Harriet Popham - BA Surface Pattern and Textiles Alumna, now Print Maker and Multidisciplinary Designer, and welcomed for the first time acclaimed Printed Textile Designer Jess Priest.  Students took part in a variety of workshops, hearing from each practitioner how they use these processes in their day-to-day roles.

Surface Pattern Lecturer Claire Savage said: “Appreciating the value of what is taught on the programme is really brought home to our students through enhancement activities such as this.  The skills explored in the sessions are testament to the multidisciplinary ethos of the programme - from floral painting and drawing in the design studio, to lino printing and pattern making in the Print Making department, to visualising fashion prints through augmented reality in the Mac Suite.  We are skills rich.  This makes for confident, employable graduates.”

The events have also included two Graduate Symposia, welcoming back graduates to present and share their journeys from graduation to where they are now, with the ups and downs of how they got there.  

Harriet Popham - BA Surface Pattern and Textiles Alumna, now Print Maker and Multidisciplinary Designer.

The first Symposium welcomed back BA Alumna Charlotte Field Senior Designer and Head of Print for a London based brand group, with Nobody's Child being the name that caught most people’s attention in the room.  Charlotte generously shared her 10 years’ worth of your experience in the printed textiles for fashion retail industry, with staff and students hanging on every word!  New Designers Wilko Prize winner and MDes graduate of 2020 Grace Exley brought her role at Design Group UK to life with her stories of the Royal Christmas crackers that she helps to design, and the success of her first commercial collections of gift wrap and gifting in Sainsburys stores.  BA Alumna Harriet Popham visited again with the captivating enthusiasm that she always brings, sharing her insights of life as a freelance designer, workshop tutor and advocate for the powers of creativity.  Highpoints such as her commissioned print edition for The V&A really is a career goal ticked off.

The second Symposium welcomed former classmates MDes Alumnae 2021 Rebecca Davies, Bespoke Designer at Rolls Royce, and entrepreneur and freelancer Naomi Seaward of Naomi Elizabeth Design.  Both graduates amazed their audience with what they have managed to pack in, in the space of less than two years.  Although their roles and journeys have been quite different the themes of capitalising on opportunities, facing their fears and ploughing through the imposter syndrome, creating networks, learning from each and every encounter, and the sheer joy of creativity in whatever form it is encountered were captivating.

Surface Pattern and Textiles Lecturer Kate Coode said: “The generosity of the graduates is so touching – hearing them share their experience warmly and encourage the current students towards their next steps is so rewarding for us all.  This gives the Class of 2023 and our continuing students such a boost in confidence.”

Acclaimed Printed Textile Designer Jess Priest

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau a’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau / Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus / Corporate Communications and PR

Swyddfa’r Is-Ganghellor | Vice-Chancellor’s Office

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