Textile Surfaces BA (Hons)

Textile surfaces sewing cotton reels
Location Stoke-on-Trent Campus
Duration 6 Years

2018/19 New Entrants, Part Time

  • Home and EU students: £4,620 per year of study
Course start September
LocationModeStart dateApply
Stoke-on-Trent CampusPart-time2017/18 Academic YearApply Direct
Stoke-on-Trent CampusPart-time2018/19 Academic YearApply Direct
  • A designated individual workspace in a design studio next to computing facilities, print workshop, sewing machines and rug room
  • Opportunities to work on collaborative briefs with industry to gain an appreciation of professional practice and to complete periods of work experience
  • A unique award with an emphasis on the manipulation of fabric and media and exploration of embellishment and decoration

Course outline

Our Textile Surfaces degree addresses the application of decoration to - and media manipulation for - any textile surface. It's ideal if you want to create surfaces and surface decoration through the mixing of fabrics and materials.

If you enjoy an experimental approach to working, this course could be for you. It covers a wide range of surface decoration techniques, including hand stitch, machine stitch and three dimensional stitched surfaces.

Through the manipulation of media and the exploration of pattern, you'll experience colourful opportunities as you develop a keen awareness of the true potential for creative embellishment and design application using decorative relief surfaces.

You'll develop your technical competence and practical design skills as you progress and we encourage you to look at the unpredictable mix of different materials and techniques to create innovative and original textile solutions.

Your studies will culminate in an end-of-year degree show, where you'll exhibit your work alongside our Surface Pattern Design degree students.

You'll have a permanent, designated individual workspace in light and airy open-plan design studios with adjacent printing, sewing and computer workshops. We have excellent print workshops with access to traditional hand silk screen printing, heat press and dye facilities as well as digital fabric printer and laser cutters. Our sewing room is well equipped for machine embroidery, embellishers and smocking machines.

Every member of our teaching team is highly qualified across their specialist area. Guest lecturers and successful past graduates also visit to share their knowledge and offer advice. Visiting lecturers have included renowned textile artists, Maxine Sutton, Sally Greaves-Lord and Alison Willoughby.

Our strong links with industry provide exciting opportunities for work placements, live industry projects, competitions and freelance work. You'll get to design to industry standards, consider the context and market you're designing for and you could secure sponsorship, study visits or self-employment. Recent work placements have included George at ASDA and Emma Bridgewater Pottery.

You'll have the chance to visit - and even exhibit at - trade fairs at home and abroad (including Première Vision in Paris). And in your final year, you'll present your work to peers and employers at our Degree Show. You could even apply to exhibit at New Designers in London, where many of our past students have enjoyed great success - securing commissions, press coverage and work placements.


Course Fees and Finance

The expected study pattern on this programme enables you to complete modules totaling 60 credits in your first year of study and the other 300 credits, split equally between your second and sixth year of study. If you follow this pattern of study you will pay a fee of £4,620 for your first year of study. The fee for each subsequent year, up to and including your sixth year of study will be broadly the same, except that an inflationary uplift may apply each year.*

If you would like to know more about the fees listed and what this means to you then please get in touch with our Enquiries Team.


Undergraduate Loans:

UK and EU students who are studying for their first undergraduate degree may not have to pay these fees up front. For eligible students a loan is available from the Student Loans Company to cover the cost of tuition so you don't have to find the money to pay your tuition costs before or while you are studying. You won't have to start repaying the loan until you are earning more than (currently) £25,000 a year.

A loan is also available for part-time students studying at least 25% (30 credits) per year.

However, if you already hold a degree, or another qualification at the same level, you may not qualify for this loan.

For further information on eligibility and how to apply visit apply-for-student-finance.


Repayment (current arrangements):

9% of income over £25,000 per year.

Interest on the loan is charged at up to Retail Price Index** (RPI) +3%

For further information on repayment visit student loan repayment.


* The fees listed are for the 2018/19 academic year only. Any subsequent years may be subject to an inflationary uplift.

**RPI – the Retail Price Index is a measure of UK inflation. The UK Government uses the rate of RPI to set the interest rate charged on student loans.


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Entry requirements

  • Typical UCAS Offer: 112 points
  • A levels: BBC
  • Foundation Diploma Art and Design pass with Merit if taken.
  • All applicants are individually assessed via interview with portfolio.

Teaching and learning

Textile Surfaces design education is firmly based on developing your abilities through practice, as experienced across a range of project-based activities. Projects may involve whole groups, sometimes working in teams, with presentations of your work to your peer group and the academic staff at various points. During projects there will be tutorial sessions with academic staff, input via contextual lectures, discussions about issues arising in seminars or small groups and technical skills instruction sessions with Technician Instructors.

Level Four introduces you to the use of decorative textile pattern in the design process from initial research through to design development and realisation. An awareness of the breadth of material application, context and use is addressed, as is essential skills acquisition in practical workshop experience, visual studies and contextual studies. You also have the opportunity to work as part of a team, using and developing inter-personal, organisational and presentation skills.

Level Five develops technical competence and practical design skills, including the exploration and implementation of computer aided design. You will explore market trends and respond to "live" project briefs with industry. A professional working practice is adopted and you are expected to take on an increasing responsibility for your own development and learning programme.

At Level Six, you consolidate and exploit the knowledge, skills and experience gained during previous modules, refining working methods and adopting a professional, competitive attitude. You are encouraged to explore the combination of materials and techniques to create innovative and original textile surface solutions and to identify your own 'handwriting'. This culminates in the end of year degree show, and selected students also have the opportunity to show work at the Business Design Centre in London as part of the New Designers exhibition.

Alongside creative expression, attention is paid to the professional and vocational nature of the Award, addressing employability related issues, achievement of the learning outcomes and the Staffordshire Graduate attributes.
Personal Development Planning is integrated into the delivery of the Award, supporting personal career aspirations, ambitions, and expectations, whilst using self-evaluation as a diagnostic tool.
This process enables you to reflect on your previous and current experience, to seek opportunities to address any skills or working practices in which you may have particular strengths or weaknesses and to assess your progress.

Learning, teaching and assessment strategies are based on the recognition of three main strands:

Practical, involving the acquisition, development and refinement of technical, conceptual, communication and problem-solving skills as relevant to textile surface design, and the application of these, in arriving at a satisfactory solution.

Theoretical/Contextual, including knowledge and understanding of the major issues and debates within and around textile surface design, and the development of an ability to integrate a critical, analytical approach with the informed practice of this design discipline.

Professional, including knowledge and understanding of the historical, cultural and professional practice contexts within which artists and designers operate. This constitutes a body of specialist knowledge that includes a realistic awareness of potential career options.

The interlinking of these three strands is central to the philosophy of the award, and to enable you to achieve and demonstrate the learning outcomes, a combination of Learning, Teaching and Assessment strategies and methodologies are utilized.

Your study time will consist of class contact hours, self-directed learning, assessment and placements where appropriate. Your actual contact hours will depend on the subject area, on the option modules you select and professional body requirements. A typical composition of study time for this course is

Year 1: you'll spend 29% of time in lectures, seminars or similar, and 71% of time in independent study.
Year 2: you'll spend 29% of time in lectures, seminars or similar, and 71% of time in independent study.
Year 3: you'll spend 29% of time in lectures, seminars or similar, and 71% of time in independent study.
Year 4: you'll spend 29% of time in lectures, seminars or similar, and 71% of time in independent study.
Year 5: you'll spend 4% of time in lectures, seminars or similar, and 96% of time in independent study.
Year 6: you'll spend 4% of time in lectures, seminars or similar, and 96% of time in independent study.


Assessment is based on the submission of coursework, the nature of which is determined by the project/s or assignment/s set within a module, but which may consist of any one or combination of the following components:

' Workbooks, sketchbooks or visual diaries, documenting the process of generating, developing and resolving thoughts or ideas, and demonstrating the influence of research on practical work.

' Research files or folders, documenting the gathering and presentation of research material.

' Finished design work, professionally presented in the format required by the assignment, project or brief.

' An essay or report, written according to given guidelines as to word-count and illustrated as required by the assignment.

' A script for a seminar presentation, or the presentation itself.
It is our belief that the submission of coursework is the best way to assess the integrated approach to theory and practice that you will engage with. Coursework, carried out in response to assignments, project briefs or self-initiated proposals, and presented in forms appropriate to professional practice, allows you to demonstrate the acquisition of inter-related learning outcomes through a variety of different forms of practice.

Formative assessment is carried out in tutorial and critique situations and feedback is usually provided to you orally, with a written record kept either by the tutor or by you and an action plan drawn up as appropriate. This can also take the form of peer or self-assessment exercises and occurs mid-module.

Summative assessment is provided in the form of a percentage at the end of a module, and this is accompanied by written feedback from the module tutor to each individual student, relating your achievement to the learning outcomes of the module. The mark is linked to the Undergraduate Modular Framework Regulations, to a set of general assessment criteria which distinguish attainment at particular levels.
Assessment Feedback is provided to you in two main ways: orally, in tutorial and critique situations and in writing, using a fast feedback form that indicates performance against the learning outcomes of the module. You also have the opportunity to feedback on your feedback, and draw up an action plan, ensuring that you build on this and improve your skills and performance.

Textile Surfaces students experience a breadth of assessment types at each level.
These include the following:
Submission of work to the Faculty office
Work displayed in your studio space you may not present for assessment (but you have the opportunity to view the work of your peer group)
Individual presentation of work by you to a member/ members of staff either with work displayed or through showing a portfolio of work
Individual presentation of work to staff and small peer group again, either with work displayed or through showing a portfolio of work
Team presentation to whole of peer group
Individual presentation to whole of peer group
Assessment where the actual presentation itself is assessed
Presentation of work for assessment to staff and small peer group from all levels. Level Five present to Level Four and Level Six present to Level Five. This has great benefits for all involved.

The balance of assessment depends on the subject area, your choice of option modules and professional body requirements. A typical composition of assessment for this course is: 

Year 1: your assessment will be 100% by coursework.
Year 2: your assessment will be 100% by coursework.
Year 3: your assessment will be 100% by coursework.
Year 4: your assessment will be 100% by coursework.
Year 5: your assessment will be 100% by coursework.
Year 6: your assessment will be 100% by coursework.

Employment opportunities

Students on the Award have the opportunity to apply their creative talents to the creation of decoration for a broad range of objects, surfaces and environments.
Due to this diversity of approach and understanding, our Staffordshire Graduates are flexible, adaptable and enterprising young designers with a strong work ethic and positive, competitive attitude.

The Textile Surfaces staff team operate very much as Design Studio Managers, creating a professional working studio environment within the University, thus preparing our students for the world of work. 

We have an established reputation with industry contacts and are recognized for our highly employable commercial design graduates.
During their period of study, all students have the opportunity to work on live project briefs set by the design industry, ranging from childrenswear design (George at Asda, Sainsbury's Tu), wallpaper/ wall art (Graham and Brown), gift cards and gift products (Hallmark, Watermark, Tigerprint), to ceramics (Marks & Spencer, Emma Bridgewater, Denby), fashion and furnishing fabrics (Owens & Kim, Mary Jones Designs, Skopos) and scrapbooking papers (Inspire Me Papers).
A company may offer a 'prize' at the end of a project, in the form of a financial reward and/ or work placement and occasionally work may be purchased directly from the student.

Students also have the opportunity to enter competitions and undertake both national and international work placements, which may vary from one week in duration through to several months.
Placements have included Joules, Accessorize, Anna French, Amanda Kelly Studios, Anorak and Mamas and Papas (to name but a few) plus Fusion CPH in Copenhagen, Denmark.

By the end of 2011, Watermark Publishing had eleven of our graduates working in their studios, not just as designers but also as design managers and studio managers.
Thanks to the 3Es ethos at Staffs Uni (Employability, entrepreneurship and enterprise), the students we ve subsequently employed seem to embody all of these traits, as well as bringing with them a strong work ethic Associate Creative Director, Watermark.

Other employment opportunities range from stylist to buyer or merchandiser, through to teacher, colourist, artworker or illustrator, and many enterprising graduates have also successfully established their own businesses eg Anorak www.anorakonline.co.uk. and www.cloudcuckoodesigns.com. 

Employment abroad has included Affabre Design Studio in Vienna, Design Works International in New York and in Mumbai, India. 
One graduate reflects: I learnt such a variety of different skills at University that I can now adapt to my own work, such as print and stitch techniques, development and presentation skills. The course was very versatile and this is something that is very appealing to students and potential employers looking for a creative and adaptable portfolio .

Across all levels and modules we aim to provide our graduates with a critical awareness through inquiry-based learning, subject knowledge and skills acquisition. Throughout the three years of the degree, our students develop their understanding through reflective practice and problem solving and are increasingly encouraged and enabled to take ownership and responsibility for their own learning, both as individuals and as team members, where the ability to interact with confidence, communicate effectively and work with peers and colleagues is paramount.
The successful Design Futures module in the final year encourages students to identify a personal identity and career direction and aims to prepare them for life after University .

Graduate destinations

Many of our graduates have secured work as:

  • Designers for textiles, gift cards, ceramics wallpapers, children's clothing and print studios - in the UK and abroad
  • Freelance designers
  • Stylists, buyers, trend forecasters, studio designers, lecturers and teachers

Our graduates have gone on to work for companies such as: Mamas and Papas, George, Accessorize, Tigerprint, Hallmark, Wedgewood, Denby, Osborne and Little, Debenhams, John Lewis, WGSN, Tom Cody, CPH Fusion in Denmark.

Student experience

"The course is hard work but we don’t mind because the modules are so exciting and it is the best possible preparation for a career in the fast paced design industry. We are expected to achieve a high output of work, and we have good facilities and excellent support from tutors who are always on hand”.

(Sylvia Thomas, Level Four).

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Enquiries Team
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t: +44(0)1782 294400
Enquire about this course