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Global Cultures of Textiles and Dress

Unit(s) of assessment: Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory

Research theme: Global Heritage

School: School of Art & Design


The Global Cultures of Textiles and Dress (GCTD) Group aims to promote research in textiles and dress that addresses a wide range of critical and practice-based themes. Textiles and dress are part of daily human experience and yet their familiarity belies complex social, cultural and historical circumstances. Bearing this in mind, a major focus of the GCTD Group’s work is to explore the significance and meaning of textiles and dress across cultures and time, and to contextualise them as potent aspects of material and visual culture.

Research underway covers a range of social and cultural contexts, historical periods and technologies, covering handmade production – craft – as well as industrial manufacture. Working with academic partners and others from industry, cultural institutions, designers, craftspeople and entrepreneurs, the GCTD Group has established research collaborations at local, national and international level, producing innovative research of lasting significance that is socially meaningful.

Collaborators include Nottingham Castle Museum, Modern Interiors Research Centre @ Kingston University, V&A, British Council, Craft Revival Trust (NGO, India), fashion designer Aneeth Arora at Péro (India), Garden Silk Mills (India), Ajrakhpur Hasta Kala Vikas Mandal (India), and Maiwa Hand Prints (Canada). The Group draws on a depth of expertise across the field of textiles, dress and craft production, in addition to which it offers a particular focus on Asia, with India especially well represented in its research. Members of the Group have already attracted income from major funding organisations, including the AHRC, Pasold Research Fund and the Leverhulme Trust.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, 83% of our research in Art and Design was assessed to be world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of research impact.


  • Craft Revival Trust, India
  • British Council
  • Abdulrazzak, Ismail and Abduljabbar Mohammad Khatri (block printers and entrepreneurs)
  • Ajrakhpur Hasta Kala Vikas Sangathan, Gujarat, India
  • Aneeth Arora (fashion designer) @ Pero, New Delhi.

Working With Us

The GCTD Group offers a range of expertise across global cultures of textiles, dress and craft, with a particular strength in research in South Asia and India, also the British domestic interior. An extensive network of research collaborators has been developed in South Asia, notably India, that embraces practitioners, cultural organisations, educational institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and industry. Another strength of the Group is curation. GTCD members have long-established working relations with museums and galleries in the UK and abroad and their research has been disseminated through exhibitions at local, national and international level.

Related staff

Dr Eiluned Edwards has been researching global cultures of textiles, dress and crafts since the mid-1980s. She has been working in South Asia, primarily India, since 1991 and has longstanding working relationships with craftspeople, entrepreneurs and merchants, museums and NGOs throughout the subcontinent. Her PhD (University of Manchester, 2000) analysed the impact of social change in India since 1947 reflected in the textiles and dress of Rabari nomads in Kachchh district, Gujarat. Her current research focuses on the craft of block printing in India and explores how cultural heritage has been managed in tandem with economic development. Her currently working on a project about block printed textiles in India, collaborating with block-printers, national/state-level agencies, NGOs, museums in the subcontinent and entrepreneurs in India and overseas.

Dr Emma Ferry has conducted extensive research on the 19th century domestic interior in Britain, exploring the role of women in interior design of the late Victorian period. Her PhD (Kingston University, 2004) examined the production, publication and historiography of the ‘Art at Home Series’; a collection of twelve illustrated advice manuals published in Britain by Macmillan & Co., 1876-83. Her research also illuminates craft production during the period of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain, covering the work of William Morris and his associates. She is an Associate Researcher at the Modern Interiors Research Centre (MIRC) at Kingston University.

Non-NTU staff involved in GCTD Group research

Brothers Dr Ismail Mohammad Khatri, Abduljabbar Mohammad Khatri and Abdulrazzak Khatri are hereditary craftsmen – block printers of international repute. They specialise in the use of natural dyes and are collaborating with Dr Eiluned Edwards and colleagues at NTU on publications, workshops and an exhibition.

Ritu Sethi – Founder and Chairperson of the Craft Revival Trust, India. CRT is an NGO based in New Delhi which has developed an online directory of South Asian crafts and craftspeople, and has also established INCH, the Intangible Cultural Heritage, an online encyclopedia. Ritu has been collaborating with NTU on the ‘Imprints of Culture’ project led by Dr Eiluned Edwards.


Dr Eiluned Edwards


  • The Textiles and Dress of Gujarat (2011), London and Ahmedabad: V&A Publishing with Mapin Publishing.

Book chapters:

  • ‘Blueprint for sustainability: the evolution of traditional Indian textiles from local consumption to the global market’, in: Black, S. (ed)(2012), The Sustainable Fashion Handbook, London: Thames and Hudson.
  • ‘Textiles and Dress among the Rabari of Kutch’ in Kapadia, A. and E. Simpson (2010) (eds), The Idea of Gujarat, New Delhi: Orient Blackswan Private Limited, pp 184-206.
  • ‘Hair, devotion and trade in India’, in Cheang, S. and Geraldine Biddell-Perry (eds)(2008), Hair: Styling, Culture and Fashion, Oxford and New York: Berg, pp 149-166.
  • ‘Contemporary production and transmission of resist-dyed and block-printed textiles in Kachchh district, Gujarat’. Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, vol. 3, issue 2 (2005), pp 166-189.
  • ‘Marriage and dowry customs of the Rabari of Kachchh’, in: Foster, H.B. and Donald C. Johnson (eds) (2003), Wedding Dress Across Cultures, Oxford and New York: Berg, pp 67-84.
  • ‘Textiles and dress of the Rabari of Kachchh’, Ars Textrina, 33 (2001), pp 59-74.
  • ‘A Disappearing Craft: Ply-split Braiding of the Rabari of Kachchh’, in: Parry, J., Ralph Norman and
  • Ann Norman (eds) (2001), Expanding the Girths, Oxford: Sagaman.

Journal articles:

  • ‘The role of veilcloths among the Rabaris of Kutch, Gujarat, western India’, Costume, 43 (2009), pp.19-37.
  • ‘Cloth and community: the local trade in resist-dyed and block-printed textiles in Kachchh district, Gujarat’, in Textile History, 38, 2 (2007), pp 179-197.
  • ‘Patterns of Adapation Among Pastoral Nomads in Gujarat’. South Asian Studies, vol. 21 (2005), pp 53-68.

In press and forthcoming:
Book chapters:

  • ‘Pattern, people and place: printed and dyed textiles of Kachchh, Gujarat’, in Branfoot, C. (ed)(2014), Traditional Arts of South Asia: Past Practice, Living Traditions. London: Saffron Press.
  • Co-authored with Ismail Mohammad Khatri:
    ‘The work of the Khatris of Kachchh: ajrakh and block-printed textiles’, in Branfoot, C. (ed)(2014), Traditional Arts of South Asia: Past Practice, Living Traditions. London: Saffron Press.

Under development

  • Block Printed Textiles of India to be published by Niyogi Press, New Delhi (2015)

Dr Emma Ferry

Book Chapters:

  • ‘Strawberry Thief’ in G. Lees-Maffei(ed.)Iconic Designs: 50 stories about 50 things, Berg, 2014, (in press)
  • ‘Writing Home: The Colonial Memories of Lady Barker, 1870-1904’ in P. Sparke and A. Massey (eds.), Biography, Identity and the Modern Interior, Ashgate2013, (in press)
  • ‘Introduction’ to Part One: The Late-Nineteenth Century Interior in P. Sparke, A. Massey, T. Keeble and B. Martin (eds.), Designing the Modern Interior, Berg, 2009, pp. 13-29
  • ‘‘A Novelty among Exhibitions’: The Loan Exhibition of Women’s Industries, Bristol 1885’ in E. Darling and L. Whitworth (eds.), Women and the Making of Built Space in England, 1870-1950, Ashgate, 2007, pp. 51-66
  • ‘‘… information for the ignorant and aid for the advancing …’ Macmillan’s ‘Art at Home Series’, 1876-1883’ in J. Aynsley and K. Forde, Design and the Modern Magazine, Manchester University Press, 2007, pp. 134-155
  • ‘‘A Depraved Taste and a Vicious Style’: Victorian PapierMâché’ in One Off, V&A/RCA, 1997, pp. 64-82

Journal Articles:

  • ‘The other Miss Faulkner’: Mrs Orrinsmith and the ‘Art at Home Series’ , in The Journal of William Morris Studies, Vol. XXIII, No.3 summer 2011, pp. 47-64
  • ‘Lucy Faulkner and the ‘ghastly grin’: Re-working the title page illustration to Goblin Market’, in The Journal of William Morris Studies, Vol. XVIII, No. I, winter 2008, pp. 65-84
  • ‘Home and Away: Domesticity and Empire in the work of Lady Barker’, Women’s History Magazine, Autumn 2006, pp. 4-12
  • ‘‘Decorators may be compared to doctors’: An Analysis of Rhoda and Agnes Garrett’s Suggestions for House Decoration (1876)’, Journal of Design History, Vol. 16, No. 1, spring 2003, pp.15-33.doi:10.1093/jdh/16.1.15

Related Projects

Leverhulme Research Fellowship 2012-14 (RF-2012-326): Imprints of Culture: Block Printed Textiles of India


The GCTD Group has access to the full range of facilities available at NTU, including a well-resourced library, extensive workshop space for those interested in practice-based research, and at the city site, Bonington Gallery. It has a good working relationship with regional museums and galleries, also national institutions, including the V&A and the Horniman Museum in London, and the Modern Interior Research Centre at Kingston University.

Its international links include the Textile Research Centre at Leiden in The Netherlands, Galerie Handwerk in Munich and the TAPI Collection, Surat, India. NTU is one of the leading centres of design education in the UK. Its courses enjoy an international reputation for quality and the consequent employability of its graduates and postgraduates is sustained by excellent links to the creative industries. Nottingham itself has a substantial textiles/fashion heritage and is the cultural centre of the East Midlands, providing a stimulating and vibrant environment for postgraduate study.