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Rachel Kelly

Senior Lecturer

Rachel Kelly

Rachel Kelly is the International Lead for Design and Specialist Academic Lead for MA/MSc Textiles within the Design Department at Manchester School of Art.

Rachel studied for her undergraduate degree in Printed Textile and Surface Pattern Design at Leeds College of Art and Design, Leeds and gained an MA in Design for Textile Futures from Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London in 2001. Rachel has undertaken postgraduate study in Higher Education gaining a PgCert Academic Practice, Pg Diploma in Higher Education. Rachel is also a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Rachel is currently an External Examiner on the MA Contemporary Dialogues Programme (Textiles & Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Pathways) at University of Wales Trinity St David in Swansea. Rachel was previously until 2022 External Examiner of the BA (Hons) Textiles (Printed Textiles Pathway) at Central St Martins, University of The Arts, London.

Rachel undertook a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning from 2016-17 the result of which was the development of practice-based models for interdisciplinary collaborative pedagogy. The outcomes of this research have been published within The Design Journal and at international conferences including The European Design Academy Conference in Rome 2017 and at The Canadian Craft Biennale 2017. Rachel's current research is situated within the field of international collaboration and sustainable design practice in Higher Education. Rachel is studying for a Doctor of Education within the Faculty of Health & Education with principle supervision by Professor Karen Pashby. The thesis title for Rachel's EdD is: To what extent is collaborative online international learning (COIL) a form of ethical internationalisation?

Since 2017 Rachel has led two British Council Crafting Futures Research Projects (2018-19)The Creating Sustainable Textile Futures for Women: Digitizing Cordillera Weaving Tradition and (2019) Drafting a New Oral Tradition for Indigenous Philippine Weaving Tradition as research projects which continue to stimulate Rachel's keen research interest in collaboration and sustainability. Rachel has also since September 2021 led the interdisciplinary project team at Manchester Metropolitan University co-organising with Young Green Tech to deliver the Making Matters: China Design Challenge. Making Matters is a British Council Initiative and the China Challenge has been sponsored by IM Motors in China. For this International design competition students from China, developed circular design innovations. Global dialogue approaches have been key to enabling a connected collaborative ecosystem of learning around circular design practice. Collaborative online international learning has been at heart heart of this project, and is crucial to support student designers to address and communicate the world’s shared development challenges.

Rachel was a practicing designer prior to her work in Higher Education and led her own studio design practice from 2003 until 2011. Rachel's most noted design achievement is the development of Interactive Wallpaper as a product design philosophy within innovative textiles for surface applications. Interactive Wallpaper designs and outcomes were recognised internationally within international museum collections and were featured in pioneering design exhibitions such as Nobel Textiles The I.C.A London in 2009; Design for The Elastic Mind at MOMA New York in 2010; Embracing Technology at The National Craft Galleries Ireland in 2010; Somewhere Totally Else at The Design Museum in 2003; and Pattern Crazy at The Craft Council in 2002. Public commission clients have included The BBC, Habitat, Arts Council, Ruthin Craft Centre, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre and NHS Trusts and within the collections of the V&A, London and The Whitworth, Manchester.


(2018-19) Creating Sustainable Textile Futures for Women: Digitizing Cordillera Weaving Tradition project.

Role: Project Leader Outputs: Research report, Learning Tool Kit, conference papers, book chapter, journal article/s, Film, Textile artefacts, workshops and exhibition. Impact: developing sustainable, efficient and digital craft practices which support women, their work and their community; a research methodology which supports sustainable craft-based learning structures and pedagogy into its framework; Sustainable and circular craft practice via innovative textile technology and materials; Develop new applications for traditional practice which seeks to expand contemporary Craft practice in UK and Philippines; Enable collaborative projects with craft communities and designers to generate new work and craft-based knowledge together. Details…

Academic Development Blog

A wordpress blog has been devised to document Rachel's Pedagogic Development Practice and Academic development and study undertaken. Rachel is currently studying for an MA in Higher Education, the progress of which is also documented on this blog. Details…

Armitt Museum, Ambleside 2016

Rachel Kelly was commissioned by the Armitt Museum, Ambleside with support from the Museums Consortium, to design a site specific surface installation to create and define a Family Learning Area within the Museum. Created using transparent vinyl's the installation responds to the scientific and botanical library collection in particular the notebooks of students at Charlotte Mason College at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Details…

Artists Stories Residency at Ruthin Craft Centre October 2015

Rachel Kelly was invited to undertake a 4 day residency at Ruthin Craft Centre. the main aim was to enable Rachel to explore new ideas for wall coverings and to enable the participants to take part in the process of creating a site specific feature wall. Details…

Creative Practitioner at Lakeland Arts Trust, 2013-16

In 2013 Rachel was invited to become a creative practitioner at the Lakeland Arts Trust, one of the leading independent museum and gallery trusts in the UK. Working between The Abbot Hall Gallery and Blackwell The Arts and Crafts House Rachel has devised creative workshops and participatory works to develop engagement and learning within these contexts. Details…

Fabrics of Life at MOMA 2008

Nobel Textiles was exhibited at MOMA New York within The Design for the Elastic Mind Exhibition. https://www. Details…

Florence Mine Public Design Commission and Residency 2011-2012

Florence Mine, Egremont. West Cumbria. Details…

Kaber Barn Project 2014

A Rachel Kelly design commission to add a surface decoration scheme to new barn conversion, featuring bespoke wall sticker installation, internal and external glass sticker design and a handprinted wallpaper. http://www. Details…

Nobel Textiles 'Fabrics of Life' Project 2007-2009

‘Fabrics of Life’ is all about the interface between the science of design and the designs of science. The first project in the series, Nobel textiles, a journey into scientific discovery through future textiles, celebrates 90 years of MRC research institutes in 2007 Rachel Kelly was one of the commissioned designers and celebrated the work of Nobel Prize winning scientist Sir Tim Hunt; The project supported by The Medical Research Council and University of the Arts, London The Fabrics of Life project outcome, exhibition and conference, was held at the I. Details…

Pairings II Conversations and Collaborations 2012

Janet Haigh and Rachel Kelly are both textile practitioners who have been invited by Stroud International Textiles to take part in Pairings II Conversations and Collaborations. Pairings – conversations & collaborations is a Stroud International Textiles major exhibition with linked sympsoium supported by Arts Council England, Stroud District Council. Details…

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 2016-2017

A Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 2016-2017 was awarded by MMU Centre of Teaching and Learning Excellence Project Title: Ikebana: A Collaborative Pedagogy Project Outputs: Conference Presentation and Papers, Academic Workshops and Learning Tool Publication.. Details…

Significance Touring Exhibition 2016-17

Significance is a project co-ordinated by Alice Kettle and Jane McKeating and brought to fruition by staff and students from Manchester School of Art to celebrate the significance of the Gawthorpe Textile Collection. In selecting a textile from the Gawthorpe collection, I was drawn to an unfinished embroidery sample. Details…

Small Research Project via Crafts Research Centre 2014

Project: Sustainable Silk Screen Image Making for Studio Based Printed Textile Design. This project aims to evaluate the use of sustainable silk screen image making for studio based printed textile design through the practical testing of sustainable silk screen making products as opposed to traditional photostencil processes. Details…

Testing The Field Residency Film 2017

The film captures what the project was about. We had a range of participants from art/design/science faculties and took them to the wilderness to learn. Details…

Whose futures need crafting?

This project is a conversation as research between Sandra Fruebing and Rachel Kelly were recipients of two British Council/Crafts Council Crafting Futures small project grants (5k). A conversation started when Fruebing and Kelly had both returned from their work in Egypt and the Philippines respectively. Details…


Rachel Kelly is a member of the Design Research Hub.


Stephens, M., Kelly, R., 2023. "Gaining Ground" at Haworth Art Gallery, in the Textile Biennale, 29/9/2023 - 29/10/2023.

Kelly, R., Moriarty, S., Wu, D., Chu, L., Wu, E., 2022. Making Matters: China Challenge Exhibition at Manchester Metropolitan University and IM Motors, Shanghai, Manchester Metropolitan University, 1/12/2022 - 31/1/2023.

Stephens, M., Kelly, R., 2022. Relocating the Loom: Handweaving in the Cordillera (2022) in "Gaining Ground", Crafts Council Gallery, London, 13/4/2022 - 25/6/2022.

Kelly, R.M.C., 2017. Ikebana - Collaborative Practice Models, Loughborough University in London, 13/9/2017.

Gawthorpe Etched WallpaperGawthorpe Etched and Digitally Printed Paper SamplesDetail fo Gawthorpe Wallpaper by Rachel KellyGawthorpe Wallpaper

Kelly, R., 2016. Significance, Knit and Stitch Shows at Alexandra Palace and Harrogate, Oct-Nov 2016.

Kelly, R.M.C., 2015. W is for Wallpaper, Ruthin Craft Centre: The Centre for Applied Arts, 26/9/2015 - 22/11/2015.

Kyoto Wallpaper SampleKyoto Wallpaper Detail with TurquoiseReview in Crafts by Emma Crichton MillarKyoto Wallpaper DetailKyoto Wallpaper by Rachel KellyKyoto Wallpaper by Rachel Kelly

Kelly, R., 2015. W is for Wallpaper, Ruthin Craft Centre, 23 Sept - 22 November 2015.

Display Window Decoration by Rachel Kelly

Kelly, R., 2013. Junkshop Revolution, Bluecoat Display Centre, 2010 - Present.

Pairings II Conversations and Collaborations SIT 2012Pairings II Conversations and Collaborations SIT 2012Pairings II Conversations and Collaborations SIT 2012

Kelly, R. and Haigh, J., 2012. PAIRINGS II – conversations & collaborations, Museum in the Park, Stratford Park Stroud GL5 4AF, April 28th – May 27th 2012.

McKeating, J., 2012. Pairings II: conversations and collaborations, Stroud International Textiles, Park Gallery, Stroud, April - may 2012.

Kelly, R., 2011. Liverpool Design Show, St Georges Hall, Liverpool, 6-9 October 2011.

Window Installation at Irish Crafts Council, Kilkenny

Kelly, R., 2010. Embracing Technology, Craft Council of Ireland Galleries, Kilkenny, Ireland., 6 August- 20 October 2010.

Design for Elastic Mind Website image of Rachel Kelly Nobel Textiles ProjectNew Material by Rachel KellyStudy for short film by Rachel KellyEtched Glass Greenhouse by Rachel KellyGreenhouse Design for Fabrics of Life: a Nobel Textiles exhibition at ICA, London.

Kelly, R., 2008. Fabrics of Life, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, September 2008.


Kelly, R., 2020. 'CORDILLERA: A Weave Learning Tool Kit'.

Window StickerBirds and Berries TapestryBirds and Berries Motif by Rachel Kelly for Blackwell Arts and Crafts House

Kelly, R., 2016. 'Birds and Berries Motif', Commissioned motif by Rachel Kelly for The Lakeland Arts Trust to celebrate Baillie Scott Centenary, Blackwell Arts and Cratfs House, Windemere, England, June 2015.

'Garden' Multi Paper Wall Sticker'Garden' in Grey Multi Paper Wall StickerVertical Gallery Mineral Window Decal  2016

Kelly, R.M.C., 2015. 'Mica and Gold Leaf Glass Decal'.


Lloyd-Jones, T., 2015. 'W is for Wallpaper', Ruthin Craft Centre.


Carpenter, A., Illingworth, S., Lloyd, T., Hall, A., Kelly, R., 2024. 'Testing The Field Film 2017'.

British Council, IM Motors, 2022. 'Making Matters: China Challenge Project Review Film for Exhibition_November 2022'.

Carpenter, A., Illingworth, S., 2016. 'Testing The Field'.


Marinucci, S., 2022. 'Artisan Voices: dialogues for sustainable practices', The British Council.

Kelly, R., Marinucci, S., Sethi, R., Lombana, M., 2022. 'Crafting Futures: exploración del ecosistema en Argentina', Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Facultad de Arquitectura, Urbanismo y Diseño.

Kelly, R., Marinucci, S., Sethi, R., 2021. 'Crafting Futures Argentina Research Report', British Council.

reating Sustainable Textile Futures for Women: Digitizing Cordillera Weaving Tradition. Film.Creating a Sustainable Textile Future for Women: Digitising Cordillera weaving Tradition (CSTFW) Project

Kelly, R., Kettle, A., Stephens, M., 2019. 'Creating sustainable textile futures for women: Digitizing Cordillera weaving tradition (CSTFW) project Evaluation Report March 2019', Manchester Metropolitan University.

Kelly, R., Stephens, M., 2019. 'The Digitization of Cordillera Weaving: Designing a New Oral Tradition. Anthropological Analysis, Mathematical Symmetry and Technical Characterization of Cordillera Textiles', University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio.

Internet Publications

Pairings II Conversations and Collaborations SIT 2012Pairings II Conversations and Collaborations SIT 2012Pairings II Conversations and Collaborations SIT 2012

Kelly, R. & Haigh, J., 2012. 'Haigh and Kelly Pairings 2012', Haigh and Kelly Pairings 2012,

Journal Articles

Kelly, R., 2022. 'Creating paradise through a palimpsest of hybrid textile community-based research', Textile: Cloth and Culture, 20 (1), pp. 39-54.

Kelly, R., Fruebing, S., 2021. 'Whose futures need crafting? A collaborative evaluation of the British Council/Crafts Council Crafting Futures 5k grant scheme.', Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education, 20 (1), pp. 103-114.

Conference Papers

Kelly, R., Perry, P., Moriarty, S., 2023. 'Closing the loop through circular design education', The 92nd Textile Institute World Conference, University of Huddersfield, 3/7/2023 - 6/7/2023.

Kelly, R., Moriarty, S., Perry, P., 2022. 'A conversation with Making Matters China Design Challenge and winners and Education Specialists', Making Matters, Online, 16/12/2022.

Kelly, R., 2019. 'The digitisation of Cordillera Weaving: Designing a new oral tradition.', Design Research for Change (DR4C) 2019 Symposium, Design Museum, London, 11/12/2019 - 12/12/2019, pp. 185-207.

Kelly, R., Stephens, M., 2019. 'The Digitization of Cordillera Weaving: Designing a New Oral Tradition', 2/9/2019 - 5/9/2019.

Kelly, R., 2019. 'The Voices of the Cordillera- Digitising an Oral Tradition.', Design for Change Symposium, Design Museum, London, 11/12/2019 - 12/12/2019.

Kelly, R.M.C., Carpenter, A., Illingworth, S., Hall, A., 2018. 'Testing The Field: Transdisciplinary Learning in an Unfamiliar Environment', HEA STEM Conference 2018: Creativity in Teaching, Learning and Student Engagement, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 31/1/2018 - 1/2/2018.

Academic Development Blog SiteTesting The Field FilmIkebana Workshop with Educator Project Unit X Students 2017Middlewood Trust Collaborative Field Ikebana 2017

Kelly, R., 2017. 'Ikebana: a collaborative design pedagogy', 12/4/2017 - 14/4/2017, in The Design Journal, 20 (sup1), pp. S1093-S1105.

Kelly, R.M.C., 2017. 'Ikebana: A Tool for Collaborative Art and Design Pedagogy', 6/4/2017 - 6/4/2017.

Kelly, R.M.C., 2017. 'Visualisation Models to Support Learning within Collaborative Textile Projects in Higher Education.', 27/5/2017 - 27/5/2017.


Kelly, R.M.C., 2017. 'Ikebana: A creative model for interdisciplinary pedagogy'.

Nerantzi, C., Baylis-Green, C., Thomas, R., 2016. 'Playing with the everyday', Manchester Metropolitan University.

Nerantzi, C., Baylis-Green, C., Kelly, R., Thomas, R., 2016. 'Playing with the everyday', Playful Learning Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK.

Rachel Kelly Keynote Speaker at Making It Conference 2015

Kelly, R., 2015. 'Keynote Lecture at North West 'Making It' Conference 2015', Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.

Kelly, R., 2013. 'Crafts Council Hothouse New Makers Keynote Presentation', Crafts Council Hothouse, St Johns Conference, Preston, 28 April 2013.

Kelly, R., 2010. 'Artists Talk at Embracing Technology Exhibition, National Craft Galleries, Ireland.', Crafts Council of Ireland Galleries, Kilkenny, Ireland..


Ikebana Workshop with Unit X Students 2016Ikebana Workshop with Unit X Students 2016Ikebana Poster

Kelly, R.M.C., 2016. 'Ikebana: A cross-disciplinary workshop exploring collaborative projects within Manchester School of Art'.

Other Outputs

Kelly, R., Stephens, M., 2021. 'A Weave Learning Toolkit'.

Ruthin Wall Installation 2015Ruthin Wallpaper DetailRuthin Artists Stories Wallpaper by Rachel KellyFinished wall detailWorkshop Participant/s

Kelly, R., 2015. 'Artists Residency at Ruthin Craft Centre: Centre for the Applied Arts.', Rachel Kelly was invited to undetrtake a residency to develop new work at Ruthin Crafts Centre in 2015.

Florence Mine Commission 2011-2012Florence Mine Commission 2011-2012Florence Mine Commission 2011-2012

Kelly, R., 2012. 'Artists Residency Commission at Florence Mine Arts Centre, Egremont Cumbria 2011-12', A printed textile commission which aims to provide effective and stimulating community engagement both within workshops at the Florence Mine, Egremont and ongoing within the Centre community..