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Block Printing, Eiluned Edwards

Eiluned Edwards

Professor

School of Art & Design

Staff Group(s)
Fashion, knitwear and textile design

Role

Eiluned Edwards is Professor of Global Cultures of Textiles and Dress based in the School of Art and Design. She is also a Research Associate at the Royal Ontario Museum/Toronto University, Canada, teaches on the education programme at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and is a member of the selectors panel for the Endangered Material Knowledge Programme at the British Museum. She has a PhD (Art History & Archaeology) from Manchester University (2000) and an MA in Textiles from MMU (1989). The focus of her research on craft production, textiles and dress in South Asia (and earlier in Latin America) has allowed her to explore the global scale of cultural interactions over time through the biography of objects and to examine how global processes play out locally and are expressed in material culture. Her work places importance on local histories in the global story and acknowledges multiple histories of globalisation. These same themes and issues inform her work with students focusing attention on historical processes, and asking students to explore how local communities have experienced globalized changes.

Eiluned’s work embraces research and teaching across the MA programmes, also contributing to the Undergraduate programmes (Decorative Arts; Textiles) as well as M.Phil/PhD supervision. Her administrative duties include the College Research Degrees Committee, Athena Swann Steering Group, School Research Committee and REF Advisory Group. Working with research partners in South Asia, notably India, her projects have foregrounded heritage and cultural sustainability, bringing to the Fashion and Textiles Research Centre a global perspective on these themes. She is responsible for securing funds, developing projects and liaising with research partners in HE, non-governmental, culture and heritage management sectors. She is currently developing a project about Indian tailors and is also writing a book on fabric, fashion and faith in India. Consultancy has included: Royal Ontario Museum, The Cloth that Changed the World exhibition (4 April-27 Sept 2020); British Council Crafting Futures India programme. She is collaborating with the V&A on the Culture in Crisis programme.

Career overview

Prior to joining NTU, Eiluned was V&A/LCF Joint Senior Research Fellow based in the Research department at the V&A, London. She carried out a 3-year programme of research in the Museum’s Indian textiles collection and in Gujarat, India (funded by British Academy, Nehru Trust, Dallapiccola Foundation) that resulted in a book on Gujarati textiles and dress (pub. V&A/Mapin, 2011). This also laid the foundations of subsequent publications on block printing and the use of natural dyes in India. She taught on the V&A/RCA MA History of Design course (for which she was an external examiner 2015-18), delivering sessions that explored craft production in South Asia and how dress as a means of visual communication expressed identity.

Eiluned started lecturing fulltime at De Montfort University in 2000, initially as a Senior Lecturer (Textiles/Design History) but moved to a research fellowship at the PRASADA Centre for South Asian Arts after 6 months where she carried out a series of research projects that addressed the professionalisation of rural women in India through commercial embroidery (British Academy Large Research Grant, 2001-04) and the production and use of natural dyes in India (British Academy Small Research Grant, 2005-07). She taught on the MA South Asian Arts and contributed to the undergraduate Design History programme, and the MA Design Innovation, introducing students to non-western material and teaching research methods. She collaborated with Leicester Museums on several projects, including the 'Made from Memory' exhibition (2003) and a planned re-vamp of the South Asian collections (2002-04).

Research areas

Eiluned’s research looks at the histories and social context of textiles and craft production, and the relationship between craft and fashion, with a regional focus on South Asia, notably India.

External activity

Member of selection panel:

Endangered Material Knowledge Programme, British Museum (2020 onwards).

Research Associate:

Royal Ontario Museum/University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada (2018 onwards).

Visiting lecturer:

V&A -Arts of South and Southeast Asia, the Islamic Middle East: 500BC – Present (2007-date).

V&A – Indian textiles, dress and jewellery (2010-date)

Royal College of Art - MA History of Design (2007-16)

Invited speaker:

At museums, also universities for conferences and workshops, including Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (2020), India International Centre, New Delhi (2018), National Museum of Wales (2017); Textile Society, UK (2017, 2016); University of Bern, Historical Institute (2016); University of Vermont, Fleming Museum (2016); New Walk Gallery, Leicester (2016, 2012); UEA, Norwich (2014); SADACC Trust, Norwich (2014).

Consultancy/advisory work:

Royal Ontario Museum: The Cloth that Changed the World exhibition (4 April-27 Sept 2020)

British Council: consultant for the Crafting Futures India programme (2017-date)

British Museum, Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World: adviser on Islamic textiles from S.Asia (2016-2018).

Croydon Museum: consultant for Gujarati Yatra exhibition (2016-17).

V&A, London: consultant for The Fabric of India exhibition + programme (2015-16).

Leicester Museums: consultant for Suits and Saris exhibition + programme (2012)

External examiner:

University of British Columbia: PhD (2018)

Royal College of Art: V&A/RCA MA History of Design (2016-19), School of Materials: PhD (2017)

Dept of Art and Archaeology, SOAS, University of London: PhD (2017)

School of Art and Design, Loughborough University: PhD (2012)

Reviewer:

Funding applications: British Academy

Journal articles: Fashion Theory, Textile History, Textile, South Asian Studies, Modern Craft.

Journalism:

Occasional essays for: Selvedge Magazine, Asian Textiles, Times of India

Sponsors and collaborators

Sponsors:

  • British Council (2018-date)
  • British Academy (International Partnership and Mobility Scheme, 2014-17; Small Research Grant 2005-07; Large Research Grant, 2001-04)
  • Leverhulme Trust (Research Fellowship, 2012-14; Study Abroad Scholarship, 1993-96)
  • Nehru Trust (India Award 2017; Travel Award 2006)
  • Dallapiccola Foundation (Research Grant 2005, 2007)

Collaborators:

  • Indian Institute of Crafts & Design, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
  • Usha International, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
  • Jaypore.com (online fashion company, India)
  • Péro (fashion label based in Delhi)
  • British Council, London
  • Ajrakhpur Handicrafts Development Association, Kachchh, Gujarat, India
  • Rabari samaj of Kachchh, Gujarat, India
  • Calico Printers’ Association of Sanganer, Rajasthan, India
  • Craft Revival Trust, New Delhi, India
  • Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, London
  • British Museum, London
  • Leicester Museums
  • Croydon Museum

Publications

  • 'Chintz Redux: Contemporary Indian Painted Textiles in Bloom' in Selvedge, no 93 February 2020), pp. 32-35.
  • ‘Textiles in Bloom: block-print revival and contemporary fashion in India’ in Sarah Fee (ed)(2019), The Cloth that Changed the World: The Coloured Cottons of India. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • ‘Indian Block Printing: Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation Across Time and Place’ in: Siebenheuner, K, John Jordan and Gabby Schopf (eds)(2019), Cotton in Context. Manufacturing, Marketing, and Consumption of Early Modern Textiles in the German Speaking World (1500 – 1900). “Ding Materialität Geschichte”, volume 4.Böhlau: Köln, Weimar, Wien
  • Crafting Futures India. The Empowerment of Women and Girls through Artisanal Textiles, Digital Technology and Entrepreneurship in India (2018). London: British Council, London.

Forthcoming (2020)

  • 'Branding tradition: the commercialization of hand embroidery in Gujarat' in: Jennifer Harris (ed)(in press), A Companion to Textile Culture, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons Inc

See all of Eiluned Edwards's publications...

Press expertise

  • Culture and heritage of India and the South Asian diaspora
  • Craft development and heritage management
  • Women's education and development in India
  • Dress, textiles and fashion history
  • Medieval textiles and fashion history - India, the Arab world and South East Asia

Course(s) I teach on