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Sharon Bainbridge

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer

School of Art & Design


Sharon is a Senior Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Costume Design & Making course at NTU. Currently her specialist teaching areas are millinery, contextual studies, collaborative working and curating. As a personal tutor Sharon utilises her coaching and mentoring skills to effectively support and develop undergraduates whilst studying and for their future careers. With Module Leadership in Contextual Studies across the course, Sharon aims  to develop critical thinking skills and an awareness of the interdisciplinary nature of the subject and its impact in all areas of the course and industry.

Career overview

Throughout her academic and industry career, Sharon has worked in an interdisciplinary and collaborative context. Initially training in textiles and embroidery, then taking this into the three dimensional form of millinery and fine art textile practice. Sharon had a couture millinery business and ran short courses in millinery and textiles whilst beginning her academic career. As Course Leader in Millinery she developed a Northern group of practitioners and worked extensively with Hat Works, the Museum of Hatting to support this niche industry. Other elements of her academic work include devising and teaching on Masters level programmes and developing and running a Short Courses Business Unit; delivering Art & Design courses to all ages and abilities. Her research work has explored the semiotics and meaning within objects and textiles, underpinned  with a sustainable practice, collaborative context and taking academia into the wider world.

Career highlights include creating and curating Hot Heads - Top British Milliners (2012) an internationally received exhibition of the ten most innovative milliners. Taking over the Victoria Quarter in Leeds for International Wool Week to promote and exhibit work from 25 undergraduates and their projects responding to the theme Fibre to Fabric - Textiles is alive in West Yorkshire (2013). Re-Western (2017) a curated exhibition of Texas fine artist Felice House looking at the regendering of the Western, which received exceptional PR and footfall and led to a regendering Sculpture project and an interactive photography project. Her millinery work is housed in several national museums and galleries permanent collections and she has exhibited  worldwide. In 2018 she made the hats for The Crucible's production of Kiss Me Kate. Sharon reached the finals of Hat Designer of the Year twice and   was awarded the  Aquascutum Prize for Design.

Sharon has taught millinery within Further and Higher education, was the Course Leader at Leeds College of Art, wrote new programmes and developed strong industry links and support. She has taught at University of Huddersfield on their Costume with Textiles degree and has guest lectured at other institutions. She was a research cluster lead at Leeds and developed their curatorial and archive cluster informing their exhibition programme and research impact, as well as supporting new research work.

Sharon has a Bachelor of Law with Honours (UWE), and MA in Art & Design (Textiles) (MMU), a Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (University of Huddersfield) she is a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (FHEA) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). In 2013 she was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Scholarship to research millinery within museums in Europe.

Research areas

Sharon's research has explored Collaborative Practice and the diverse ways that this can lead to new ways of working within and with practitioners, museums, industry and the academic sphere. Initially through working with Hat Works The Museum of Hatting and assessing ways to support and build this niche area and whether this had opportunities to support the local community in new ways.

Currently Sharon is researching the differences between Costume and Couture Millinery and further exploring collaborative opportunities to inform her teaching practice and approaches.

External activity

Sharon has volunteered at Hat Works since 2010 and continues to support their work.

Sharon was the external examiner for Staffordshire University on their MA in Creative Practices.


Bainbridge, S. 2017 From Fibre to Fabric. Creating Innovative Learning Perspectives on Yorkshire’s Wool Heritage through collaborative practice p106 in

Merrill, B. Gonzales-Monteagudo, J. et al (Eds) 2017 Adult Learning, Educational Careers and Social Change Seville, University of Seville/ESREA  ISBN:978-84-617-8989-4

Re-Western Felice House 2017 exhibition