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Dr Sara Robertson


  • Sara leads the specialism Soft Systems: Smart Surfaces, Structures and Digital Assemblies within the MA Textiles programme.  Her research interests are in the area of Smart Textiles.  

  • Biography

  • Prior to joining the RCA Sara was Programme Director for Textiles and Lecturer in Craft Innovation and Smart Materials at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee.  She completed her PhD at Heriot Watt University’s, School of Textiles and Design in 2011, on the design and application of smart materials for textiles.  Sara has worked as a full-time academic in teaching and research since 2010, until taking up the part-time role at the RCA, to allow her to start a new business venture with collaborator Sarah Taylor, Senior Research Fellow at Edinburgh Napier University.  They work together as, Sara + Sarah - Smart Textile Design, on projects such as the international award-winning research project, ‘Digital Lace’, (ICWC 2014) a re-interpretation of heritage lace as a digitally controlled responsive textile and, in collaboration with MYB Textiles, developing the capacity for commercial manufacture of light-emitting textiles within a heritage mill. 

  • Practice

  • Sara’s research is concerned with the application of smart materials to textiles (exploring their  programmability/transformative properties over time), the integration of technologies and electronics in textiles, developing processes/methods for fabricating and manufacturing smart textiles, bridging the gap between traditional textile manufacture and the use of new materials and technologies for potential new areas of innovation/product development.

  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Exhibitions

    (2018) Lace Unarchived, Boningtion Gallery, Nottingham Trent University, UK.

    (2016) Permanent Exhibition, Fashion and Style Gallery, National Museum of Scotland, UK.

    (2015) Design in Motion, V&A Museum of Design, Dundee, UK
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  • Awards and Grants

  • (2015) World Cultural Council special recognition award in the arts for research impact as early stage researcher.

    (2014) Design Jury Award for Fiber Arts for ‘Digital Lace’ awarded at The 18th Annual International Symposium on Wearable Computers, Seattle, USA.

Selected work


Research students