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Tina Downes

Tina Downes

Deputy Head of Department

Nottingham School of Art & Design

Staff Group(s)
Fashion, knitwear and textile design


Tina Downes is a principal lecturer in the department of Fashion, Textiles and Knitwear Design and course leader for the multi-disciplinary BA (Hons) Textile Design degree at Nottingham Trent University. This includes the disciplines of print, embroidery, knit, weave and multi-media. The course is future facing and innovative in its curriculum design, incorporating a balance of traditional hand and contemporary digital textile knowledge within a cultural context. Tina works with the academic and technical teams, many visiting designers and industry contacts to ensure a high quality of student experience. In 2014, in recognition of inspirational teaching, Tina won the Vice Chancellor’s teaching award for the School of Art and Design. A key focus of her role is to work with expert lecturers in the department, to ensure innovations in textile design are integrated into the course curriculum through research informed teaching. She ensures curriculum extends beyond the university and connects with industry and design professionals. This creates opportunities for networking, allows students to personalise their learning and gain employability skills according to their aspirations.

Specific teaching related duties are as follows:

  • Module leader for 120 credit year three design research module Text30038
  • Year three teaching: Text30038 Textile Design Resolutions: Practice and Context: Curriculum design, Design project supervision, personal tutor, initiation and management of industry live projects and enhancement of graduate employability through professional development tutorials, Lectures, Presentations, Assessment
  • Year two teaching: Text20024 Textile Design Directions: Market and Process: Embroidery CAD, Design tutorials, initiation of industry live projects, Lectures, Presentations, Assessment
  • Post Graduate supervision: MA Textile Design Innovation: Project supervision, Design tutorials, Assessment
  • PHD supervision: Smart textiles, participatory practice and wellbeing.

Research areas

Tina Downes has a Master’s degree in Education. Her research focussed upon the development of Communities of practice in a design context, the social nature of design learning and factors that enhance student engagement.

From a textile design perspective, her research interests lie in the field of digital embroidery, smart materials and advanced textiles. Specifically the aesthetic integration of new technologies and material interfaces within a collaborative design context; working across disciplines to stimulate innovation and explore synergies in creative practice; considering the potential for expression and enhancement of wellbeing. Tina has recently worked on a multi-disciplinary e-textiles project ‘HUG’ with a pattern cutter, interaction designer, games programmer, textile designer, participatory arts practitioner, and mental health worker. The project explores concepts of presence and wellbeing through tactile and responsive textile forms. It aims to develop a design methodology to incorporate e-broidery and processing interfaces and enable co-design scenarios with diverse communities.

Tina Downes is also a member of advisory committee for proposed new Centre for Interactive Wearable Design in conjunction with Advanced Textiles Research Group.

External activity

  • External examiner for Plymouth College of Art BA Textile Practices and BA Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern courses.
  • Panel member for course validation partnerships for the Open University
  • Industry visits to St Gallen embroidery region, Switzerland, 2016: Textile Museum housing Schiffli design archives; Factory/studio visits/interviews with Berhard Duss, Creative Director of Interiors at Jakob Schlaepfer; Irene Hoffstetter, Head Lingerie Designer at Bischoff; Dr Jan Zimmerman, Head of Textile Innovations at Forster Rohner.
  • Member of supervisory team led by Professor Tilak Dias for EPSRC funded project to develop embroidered electronic antennae, 2010-2013.
  • Guest Lecturer, presenting current Textile Design Research, Politecnico di Milano, PhD programme in design, 2012.
  • External examiner, Politecnico di Milano, PhD programme in design, 2012.
  • Guest Lecturer, presenting research on novel fabric sensors and material interfaces, School of computing Science, Glasgow University, 2010.

Sponsors and collaborators

Regular collaboration and sponsorship from Spinexpo international yarn trade fair, Shanghai, New York, Paris: Managing trend driven student projects, developing yarn sponsorship, planning NTU graduate Textile and Knitwear exhibitions, building international reputation.

Regular exhibition management for Studiomade@NTU at Premier Vision Designs, Paris: Selling student work, networking with Industry visitors, developing links for live projects and student placements.

Sponsored by Mohair South Africa to visit Eastern Cape mohair farming and spinning industries. Successful outcome to set up student live projects, international mohair competition and further collaborations.

The Textile Courses at NTU have recently been selected for  Support for Education awards from the  Worshipful Company of Weavers leading to: scholarship awards for final year weavers; yarn sponsorship for department; Bursaries to invest in new equipment.