Michael Whitehead

Senior Lecturer

School of Digital, Technologies and Arts

Upon graduating in 1986 with an M.A. in Fashion and Textiles from Birmingham Polytechnic, I combined freelance design work with part time/visiting lecturer work in Further and Higher Education on Art Foundation, BTEC General Art & Design, and Degree level courses.

Freelance experience included design work undertaken for Fashion and Furnishing textiles, wall-coverings, home textiles, gift-wrap, stationary and illustrative market, and for personal enjoyment the occasional painting and lino-print.

My fascination in drawing and decorative design was awoken at an early age when I realised I could scratch patterns into my ‘Thunderbirds’ wallpaper! This led to a more sophisticated and less destructive interest in printing, painting and illustration, and the breadth of surfaces that imagery and pattern can be applied to.

I admire artist and designers with the versatility to apply their skills across disciplines, and that is what attracted me to Surface Pattern Design, the opportunity to consider a broad range of end products and surfaces, work on a large and small scale, to adopt an illustrative or painterly approach as the end product demanded, and to produce aesthetic decorative designs that people would enjoy living with every day.

Academic qualifications

M.A. Fashion and Textiles, Birmingham Polytechnic, 1986
B.A. (Hons) Multi-Disciplinary Design/Surface Pattern (1st Class), Staffordshire Polytechnic, 1985


Drawing, Printed Textiles and Decorative Design.

Research interests

Illustrative and artist designed decoration.


I have been employed since 1992 as a Senior Lecturer in Surface Pattern, where I enjoy teaching a breadth of modules across all three years of the Degree program; in particular I enjoy Visual Studies, Printed Textiles and idea/design development.

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021