Textiles in Practice
Rachel Kelly is MA Pathway Leader for Postgraduate Textile Programmes 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 further postgraduate study in Higher Education (PgCert Academic Practice, Pg Diploma in Higher Education) and is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy now Advance HE. Rachel is currently an External Examiner at Central St Martins, University of The Arts London on the BA Textiles programme (till 2021).
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 worked as a self-employed designer running her own studio practice from 2003 prior to entering academic practice on a permanent basis from 2011. Rachel's most noted design achievement is the development of Interactive Wallpaper a business which specialised in the design and consultancy of innovative textiles for surface applications. Interactive Wallpaper has been recognised internationally and has exhibited within ground breaking 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.
Since 2017 Rachel has been part of two British Council Crafting Futures Research Projects which continue to stimulate Rachel's keen research interest in Collaboration; Sustainability; Textile Practice Education; Digital Practice and Creative Practitice Identities.
(2018-19)The 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.
(2019) Drafting a New Oral Tradition for Indigenous Philippine Weaving Tradition.
Role: Principle Investigator
Outputs: research and bid plan for further funding, paper proposals and journal articles.
Impact: This bid has funded pump priming research which addresses the future sustainability of indigenous weaving practice within the Philippines.
The bid has funded travel (and facilitation costs) for research interviews and meetings with:
1. The Cordillera Textiles (CORDITEX) Team;
2. Leading UK Weave academics;
3. The Crafts Council;
4. 3- 12 years Education development specialists.
The aim of the research interviews is to obtain information on best practice for weave teaching and education from UK experts, practitioners and stakeholders. The information obtained from research interviews will support the development of a new curriculum strand for indigenous weave education within the K-12 curriculum within the Philippines education system and will provide research support which will prime the next steps for community based indigenous weave education development and support for Philippines Higher Education Indigenous weave development.
(2017-18) Tai Lue Crafting Futures British Council 3-year funded project.
Outputs: Learning Tool Kit, Project Learning Framework & Film
Tai Lue Textiles is led within MMU by Principle Investigator Alison Welsh, Head of Research at The Manchester Fashion Institute, Steve Dixon Professor of Craft at MMU and Jasper Chadprajong. The Project aims to revitalise identities and Textiles of the Tai Lue community in Pua District, Nan Province in the North of Thailand. Rachel Kelly’s contribution to the project is to create a Learning Tool Kit (Report and Film) which demonstrates methodologies to support the maintenance of cultural identity via sustainable craft practice. The development of collaborative pedagogy via the development of online learning tools enables communities of practice to be sustained, thrive and develop.
(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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
Nobel Textiles was exhibited at MOMA New York within The Design for the Elastic Mind Exhibition. https://www. Details…
Florence Mine, Egremont. West Cumbria. Details…
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…
‘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…
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…
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 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…
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…
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…
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.
A selection of recent research outputs.
Kelly, RMC., 2017. Ikebana - Collaborative Practice Models, Loughborough University in London, 13/9/2017.
Kelly, R., 2016. Significance, Knit and Stitch Shows at Alexandra Palace and Harrogate, Oct-Nov 2016.
Kelly, R., 2015. W is for Wallpaper, Ruthin Craft Centre, 23 Sept - 22 November 2015.
Kelly, RMC., 2015. W is for Wallpaper, Ruthin Craft Centre: The Centre for Applied Arts, 26/9/2015 - 22/11/2015.
Kelly, R., 2013. Junkshop Revolution, Bluecoat Display Centre, 2010 - Present.
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.
Kelly, R., 2010. Embracing Technology, Craft Council of Ireland Galleries, Kilkenny, Ireland., 6 August- 20 October 2010.
Kelly, R., 2008. Fabrics of Life, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, September 2008.
Kelly, R., 2020. 'CORDILLERA: A Weave Learning Tool Kit', https://indd.adobe.com/view/f28cce7e-ab22-49fe-a457-1b109e7b2906.
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.
Kelly, RMC., 2015. 'Mica and Gold Leaf Glass Decal', Manchester School of Art.
Lloyd-Jones, T., 2015. 'W is for Wallpaper', Ruthin Craft Centre.
Carpenter, A., Illingworth, S., Lloyd, T., Hall, A., Kelly, R., 2017. 'Testing The Field Film 2017'.
Carpenter, A., Illingworth, S., 2015. 'Testing The Field'.
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'.
Kelly, R. & Haigh, J., 2012. 'Haigh and Kelly Pairings 2012', Haigh and Kelly Pairings 2012, http://haighandkellypairings2012.wordpress.com/.
Kelly, R., 2022. 'Creating Paradise Through a Palimpsest of Textile Higher Education and Community-Based Research', TEXTILE, 20 (1), pp. 39-54.
Kelly, R., Fruebing, S., 2021. 'Whose futures need crafting? A collaborative evaluation of the British Council/Crafts Council <i>Crafting Futures</i> 5K grant scheme', Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education, 20 (1), pp. 103-114.
Kelly, R., 2017. 'Ikebana: A Collaborative Design Pedagogy', The Design Journal, 20 (sup1), pp. S1093-S1105.
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', IASDR 2019, Manchester Metropolitan University, 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, RMC., 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.
Kelly, RMC., 2017. 'Ikebana: A creative model for interdisciplinary pedagogy', Canadian Craft Biennial Conference Can Craft? Craft Can!, Burlington, Canada, 15/9/2017 - 16/9/2017.
Kelly, RMC., 2017. 'Ikebana: A Tool for Collaborative Art and Design Pedagogy', 20th GLAD Conference, Manchester School of Art, 6/4/2017 - 6/4/2017.
Kelly, RMC., 2017. 'Visualisation Models to Support Learning within Collaborative Textile Projects in Higher Education.', Textile Society's biennial research symposium: New Research Strategies IV, Wellcome Trust, London, 27/5/2017 - 27/5/2017.
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.
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..
Kelly, RMC., 2016. 'Ikebana: A cross-disciplinary workshop exploring collaborative projects within Manchester School of Art', CELT Festival of Teaching and Learning, Manchester Metropolitan University.
Kelly, R., Stephens, M., 2021. 'A Weave Learning Toolkit'.
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.
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..