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Block Printing, Eiluned Edwards

Eiluned Edwards


School of Art & Design

Staff Group(s)
Fashion, knitwear and textile design


Eiluned’s work embraces research and teaching across the MA programmes, as well as M.Phil/PhD supervision.

She also mentors several colleagues, advising them on research development and sources of funding. In addition to general administrative duties, she is a member of the School Research Committee, REF Advisory Group and College Research Degrees Committee.

She leads the Global Cultures of Textiles and Dress Research Group and is responsible for securing funds, developing projects and liaising with research partners in HE, non-governmental, culture and heritage management sectors.

Recent projects include Crafting Futures India (British Council, 2018-21) and the V&A Culture in Crisis programme (ongoing).

Her current project focuses on Indian tailors and will be submitted shortly to the Leverhulme Trust for a Project Grant. She has just finished editing a collection of essays that explores how cultural heritage is managed in the India craft sector that will be published in Asia INCH, the online encyclopedia, and is writing a book on fabric, faith and fashion in India.

Career overview

From 2005-2009, 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 which resulted in a book on Gujarati textiles and dress (pub. V&A/Mapin, 2011). Work in the Museum also consolidated her long-term research on block printing and the use of natural dyes in India, and her monograph, Block Printed Textiles of India: Imprints of Culture (Niyogi, 2016) was awarded the R.L.Shep Award 2016 by the Textiles Society of America. She also taught on the V&A/RCA MA History of Design course (for which she served as an external examiner, 2015-18), delivering sessions that explored craft production in South Asia as a means of understanding how global processes play out locally 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 craft in India and women’s uplift 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 also contributed to the undergraduate Design History programme, and the MA Design Innovation, introducing students to non-western material and teaching research methods which was highlighted in the GLAADH (Globalising Art and Design History) initiative. 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 recent research looks at the intersection of fashion and craft. Cognisant of the importance of historical periods such as the 17th century when Indian painted and printed cottons (“chintz”) drove the development of global fashions, new technologies and trade, it examines the contemporary relationship between craft production and luxury fashion.

This nexus has secured livelihoods and regional heritage in India, and more widely in South/Southeast Asia.

External activity

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 Textile Society of America (2018); Croydon Museum (2017); 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:

  • British Council: consultant for the Crafting Futures India programme (2018-date)
  • British Museum, Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World: adviser on Islamic textiles from South 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:

  • Cardiff Metropolitan University, BA (Hons) Textiles (2019-ongoing)
  • Royal College of Art: V&A/RCA MA History of Design (2016-19)
  • Royal College of Art: 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)


  • Funding applications: British Academy
  • Journal articles: Fashion Theory, Textile History, Textile, South Asian Studies, Modern Craft


Member of editorial team for the Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of World Textiles, co-editing Volume 6: Trade and Industry


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

Sponsors and collaborators


  • 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)


  • 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
  • Craft Design Institute, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
  • Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, London
  • British Museum, London
  • Leicester Museums
  • Croydon Museum


  • ‘Indian Block Printing: Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation Across Time and Place’ in: Siebenheuner, K, John Jordan and Gabby Schopf (eds)(in press), 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
  • 'Branding tradition: the commercialization of hand embroidery in Gujarat' in: Jennifer Harris (ed)(in press), A Companion to Textile Culture, London: Wiley.
  • ‘Textiles in Bloom: block-print revival and contemporary fashion in India’ in Sarah Fee (ed)(in press), The Cloth that Changed the World: The Coloured Cottons of India.
  • Catalogue essay for the forthcoming Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, exhibition, The Cloth that Changed the World (runs 4 April-27 September 2020).
  • Crafting Futures India. The Empowerment of Women and Girls through Artisanal Textiles, Digital Technology and Entrepreneurship in India (2018). London: British Council, London.

See all of Eiluned Edwards's publications...

Press expertise

  • Material culture and heritage of India and the South Asian diaspora
  • Craft development – state, NGO and private sectors
  • Craft and luxury fashion in India
  • Maritime trade between India, the Arab world and Southeast Asia
  • Indian nomads and the modern world
  • Non-western dress, textiles and fashion