The school of art and design has been working with local museums and businesses in the heritage textile sector for 10 years, including Nottingham Castle Museum, Ruddington Framework Knitters’ Museum, G.H.Hurt & Son, Cluny Lace and John Smedley Ltd. This work builds on our important collection of lace and associated artefacts - about 70,000 of them - built up by the school since its foundation to provide lace designers to the local industry in the mid C19. Investigations into the skills of lace design and production have been prominent in this research.
Addressing the Challenge
The concept of the textile heritage network is simple - many individuals survive in the local community who worked in, or who were associated with the industry, the industry has shrunk massively but we have evidence that a significant demand exists in the community to understand, value and explore this heritage.
The research lead for this project is Tom Fisher, who is Research Coordinator for the School of Art and Design, representing research on the School Executive Group. He applies his expertise in Art and Design research training to his teaching on the School's Masters Courses, as well as the University's credit-bearing Professional Research Practice course. He has supervised 18 PhDs to completion and is currently supervising five students.
Professor Fisher's research is distinctive in its span of disciplines, building from his direct experience of craft practice through theory and methods from the human sciences - he has been published in Design History and Archaeology.
Making a Difference
The Global Heritage award will support us in making a major bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to run a programme of events that will capitalise on this community demand, building productive links between museums, businesses and academia. The oral history dimension of these activities will generate data for future humanities research. The opportunities they afford to understand and share skills will increase the viability of working museums.