BA (Hons) Textile Practices


Program Description

Cutting across a range of textile disciplines, this programme gives you a great introduction to a wide range of technologies and techniques for designing and making textiles for fashion, interiors and installation. 

You’ll be encouraged to experiment and generate your own ideas, exploring design to reveal your approach to tactile, structural, three-dimensional making.

What sets this programme apart from other textile programmes is its multidisciplinary perspective on materials and textile application. 

Throughout the college, we value the fusion of traditional making with digital and new technologies – from laser cutting and 3D printing, through to print and dye applications, knitted textiles, tufted surfaces, embroidery and innovative fabric manipulation. 

You will access the latest digital design and making technology, exploring textile works and the potential of the designer-maker.

We focus on the development of material ideas and their application to many different kinds of products and outcomes, refining your craft, making and textile manipulation skills. 

Self-directed projects will encourage you to explore your vision and ideas, and the application of contemporary multimedia textiles – echoing our ethos of Live Make, while set projects will introduce you to live briefs and experiencing real designer-maker scenarios. 

Through access to diverse technologies and our encouragement of sophisticated, playful and innovative ideas, you’ll gain the tools and knowledge needed to design and make for high-end, bespoke, and limited edition textiles.

What will I achieve?

You’ll gain experience of textiles, especially in the context of fashion and interiors – working across the college with product designers, photographers and fine artists in a truly multidisciplinary environment.

This programme has a national and international interest, encouraging students to visit current art spaces such as London Design Fair, Tate Modern, The Design Museum and Dutch Design Week – we’ll encourage you to visit fashion fabric shows in New York and interiors show such as Maison & Objet in Paris.

Through exhibiting at London Design Fair, our textile graduates have secured job offers from established companies such as Heals, London and Desso, London and Luxembourg.

You’ll be introduced to the great potential of contemporary textiles, their applications, and places to sell your ideas and develop a career. You’ll be encouraged to take up work experience opportunities and internships suited to your area of interest, and to build networks of suppliers, agents, and specialist maker events.

The UK’s fashion and textiles industries contribute an estimated £37 billion per year.  

Thinking & making  

Study with us and you’ll expand your critical approach alongside developing skills in research and analysis. Our academically robust and intellectually stimulating degree programmes are delivered by our team of academics, technical demonstrators and invited experts who together deliver excellence in learning, teaching and assessment. Our programmes encourage diversity in thinking and making - from practical applications through to reflective, analytical writing.

We provide a dynamic, stimulating learning environment from which to test new models of practice while investing in the rich relationship between practice and theory - based on the potential in material and visual exploration, collaborative working, cross-fertilisation of ideas, and the exploration of histories and contemporary contexts.  

Opportunities for studying abroad are available at our partner institutions.

BA (Hons) Textile Practices — Highlights:

  • Evolve your visual language through expressive use of media, drawing and digital design.
  • Gain an understanding of a wide range of techniques, technologies and media, and how they relate to textiles and products.
  • Develop an understanding of consumer and art trends that will impact on your chosen practice.
  • Explore, experiment and innovate.
  • Choose to specialise, or to apply broad multimedia approaches.
  • Benefit from our great links to business and enterprise.
  • Work with design professionals who will nurture and develop you as a contemporary designer.


Year 1

  • BATP101 Drawing and Visual Research
  • BATP102 Workshop Materials and Digital Processes
  • BATP103 Material Development
  • BATP104 Professional Practice & Professional Development Plan (PDP) 1
  • BAIS300 Interdisciplinary Studies
  • BCOP100 Contexts of Practice 1

Year 2

  • BATP201 Textile Manipulation and Construction
  • BATP202 Self Directed Project
  • BATP203 Professional Practice & Professional Development Plan (PDP) 2
  • GCOP200 Contexts of Practice 2

Year 3

  • BATP301 Research and Experimentation
  • BATP302 Creative and Professional Development
  • BATP303 Creative and Professional Conclusion
  • BATP304 Contexts of Practice 3
    • Pathway One - Written Research Project (WRP) is an opportunity to conduct a substantive piece of independent research, which is focused on an area related to creative practice. 
    • Pathway Two - Contextual Enquiry Project (CEP) is a practice-led research project with critical commentary, in which students conduct an in-depth inquiry intended to inform and reposition their creative practice.

All modules listed are compulsory.

Careers & alumni

The South West has a rich tradition of independent creative business. We have a long history of involvement with events at the Contemporary Craft Festival and Port Eliot Festival and encourage students to present and market products at national design events throughout the year.

Our staff and students are involved in the college’s biennial Making Futures conference, bringing delegates from around the world to discuss developments in crafts, making, society and culture.

Awareness of current design opportunity is further underpinned through competitions and live projects with an impressive list of national and international links. 

Our strong international connections allow our students to take a semester of study with one of our partner institutions within Europe and North America, and in turn, we welcome overseas students from those institutions to join us in our design studios, creating an exciting cultural exchange. 

Graduates become:

  • Designer-Makers
  • Freelance Textile Designers
  • Textile Artists
  • Design Stylists
  • Design Researchers
  • Trend Forecasters

‘Careers & Enterprise in the Curriculum’ at Plymouth College of Art 

Professional practice is embedded within all of our programmes.  Throughout your studies, you will have the opportunity to develop the key professional, transferable skills for employability in the creative industries and potentially work in partnership with other sectors locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

From writing and making the most of your CV to gaining industry experience, the acquisition of professional skills has been written into the programmes of study by our staff teams, who have ‘real world’ experience. They are also supported by our Industry Liaison Groups, who help inform the development of the higher education curriculum.

Our students say

Ildiko Hurley – BA (Hons) Textiles student:

"In 2013, I arranged a visit to Plymouth College of Art and was offered a place. I haven’t looked back since. I chose a degree in Textiles because it is closest to leathercraft and they relate well. Coming here is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.

The next big life-changing event came for me in my second year at the college. Through our international Erasmus programme, I spent the autumn term of my second year studying at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, in Budapest. This was the university that I’d longed to study 20 years ago. It was an absolutely wonderful experience - so much so that I’d make the Erasmus programme mandatory if I could.

Now that I’m in the third year of my degree, I’m still interested in natural fabrics such as leather,  wool and silk. I’ve honed a lot of valuable skills, such as screen printing, machine knitting and felting wool. I’ll continue to make pet products, but I can diversify now to create framed textile art and practical items like clothing and cushions.

I expect that in future, the things that I sell will shape a specialism, but for now, I’m enjoying working with lots of different fabrics and techniques and don’t want to narrow myself down yet. I make all of these things with such joy. I’m very happy!"

Entry requirements

2020 onwards: A portfolio and 112 - 120 UCAS points (earned through A-levels, BTEC National Diploma, or Foundation Diploma etc).

We also welcome applications from students who do not have formal qualifications but can provide evidence of their creativity, skills and experience. You will also be required to attend an interview in person or via Skype, Google Meet or similar online platform.

International students

Language requirements for study at Degree level

  • Trinity College London
    • Integrated Skills in English II (Level B2), minimum grade required: Reading: Pass Listening: Pass Certificate valid for two years
  • IELTS SELT Consortium
    • IELTS (Level B2), minimum grade required: IELTS overall score of 6.0 with a minimum score Listening: 5.5, Speaking: 5.5, Reading: 5.5, Writing: 5.5,
    • Certificate valid for two years

Visa requirements

  • As an international student, you will need a Tier 4 (General) student visa which you can apply for online.


As part of an £8 million development of studios and workshops, we offer our students an inspirational learning space overlooking the city and the sea. This dedicated space gives students both group and individual workspaces, with access to a huge range of other specialist workshop areas across the college.

Our ambition is for you to go beyond your current understanding of the possible. We’ll introduce you to our digital fabrication laboratory, Fab Lab Plymouth, which provides endless opportunities to experiment and innovate, allowing you to apply 3D scanning, 3D printing and laser cutting to textiles.

You’ll also have access to AVA, Photoshop and Illustrator design software, knitting and digital embroidery machines, dye labs, and digital and screen printing facilities. We also have a tufting gun for creating rugs, carpets and wall hangings, as well as equipment for bonding and heat fusion.

Encouraging you to keep ahead of the latest developments and design movements, we’ll introduce you to WGSN and Future Laboratory’s trend forecasting tools so that your work is always current.

Our teaching staff are all professional textile designers and artists themselves, working across fabrics, gallery projects, fashion and interiors. You’ll have the chance to hear from visiting industry professionals such as Studio Silo, Katie Schwab and Dutch design collective Envisions.

We aim to encourage your creative education, and help you to develop your career through your studies and after. Our Careers & Enterprise office provides support from a dedicated team who are purely focused on developing creative opportunities. And this doesn’t stop when you graduate – we want to keep in contact and help support you through the first two years of your career.

Facilities at the college include:

Animation, Film and Photography Studios

Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software.

Ceramics and Glass Workshops

With a glass furnace that works at 1,100 degrees, 10 potters wheels, resources for hot, warm and cold glass processes, a plaster room for mould making, 16 kilns, a well-stocked glaze mixing area and individual studio space, our Ceramics and Glass Workshops have a real ‘wow’ factor, rivalling any art school around the country.

Drawing Studios

With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.

Fab Lab

Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted-out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.

Fashion Studios

This large professional studio offers a real-life fashion experience in a fabulous space with sea views. Specialist industrial and domestic sewing machines, a range of knitting machines and a wide stock of fabrics and knitting yarns sit alongside a media and marketing Mac suite, a fully operational CAD cutting facility, and a library of designer garments to inspire.

Fine Art Printmaking Studios

A fantastic facility supporting fine art printmaking, our dedicated space caters for a wide range of programmes and processes. You’ll get access to a 150-year-old Columbian press, an Albion press, a historic and rare wallpaper press, and an automatic FAG proofing press, plus a broad selection of metal and wood type, vacuum screen-printing beds, and four etching presses.

Jewellery Design Studio

Housed in our fantastic new Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, this stunning space provides everything for contemporary and traditional techniques in jewellery design, including benches supplied with gas and oxygen, in-house metal casting resources, hand and machine-forming tools, facilities for vitreous enamelling, and a separate chemical room for etching, anodising and patternation. We also have larger metalwork equipment for welding, brazing, cutting and grinding.

Textile Studios

With views out to sea and 35 metres of print tables to encourage experimentation, our Printed Textile Design Studios also boast a fantastic Mimaki fabric printer, digital embroidery resources, industrial sewing machines, sublimation printers, a dye lab, heat presses, a tufting gun and a Mac suite. It’s got to be one of the best-printed textile workshops in the UK.

Digital Print Bureau and Equipment Resource Centre

Our Digital Print Bureau offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services. Our highly experienced Equipment Resource Centre staff can advise you on which of our 6,000 pieces of industry-standard kit – from underwater cameras to traditional large format cameras and all free to hire – will best meet your needs.

Woods and Plastics Workshop

Alongside the latest in new technology, we value the long-standing traditions of making in wood and plastics – and have developed an excellently-resourced workshop that is open to all our students. It boasts a wide range of kit, including an impressive CNC router, plenty of saws and lathes, and strip-heaters, as well as greenwood-working facilities.

Last updated Aug 2020

About the School

Founded in 1856, Plymouth College of Art is an art school run by artists and designers for artists and designers. We are home to a dynamic, cross-disciplinary community of makers and thinkers for whom ... Read More

Founded in 1856, Plymouth College of Art is an art school run by artists and designers for artists and designers. We are home to a dynamic, cross-disciplinary community of makers and thinkers for whom making is as important as reading and writing, and where the purpose of learning is inseparable from that of living your life. A place for making things, and making things happen. For making a difference. Read less