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Student Showcase Archive

RCA Textiles Explore Smart Photonic Materials and Soft Systems

CraftTech: Hybrid Frameworks for Smart Photonic Materials – is a Digital Design Drop-in at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) showcasing work from a collaboration between the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Institute of Textiles and Clothing and the RCA’s Textiles Programme. The event showcases dynamic new approaches to textiles and technology explored through the RCA’s new MA Textiles' specialism ‘Soft Systems: Smart Surfaces, Structures and Digital Assemblies’. Students from the MA Textiles Programme will be on hand at the event to answer questions about the approaches they used and their experience of working with the materials.

Based on two international workshops, one held in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the other at the RCA, the project set out to investigate hybrid design frameworks utilising photonic textiles and polymeric optical fibres as mediums to explore interdisciplinary approaches. The process of making was critical to this practice-based research and illustrates the necessity for craft skills and knowledge in the wearable technology landscape.

Anne Toomey, Head of Programmes for Textiles at the RCA, commented: ‘This event and the new RCA Textiles specialism in Soft Systems reflect the importance of combining new technologies with traditional craft techniques to explore the future of textiles. The potential for this area of study is extremely exciting, covering aspects of e-textiles, physical computing, responsive properties and self-assembly with biomaterials. The RCA offers a unique environment to explore digital fabrication and new technologies for processing materials alongside traditional textile processing platforms.’

The synergy of design, technology and making is at the heart of the MA Textiles Programme’s new specialism ‘Soft Systems: Smart Surfaces, Structures and Digital Assemblies’, which focuses on developments in soft materials and digital design. The specialism challenges students to propose and prototype design-led systems that transcend digital and physical boundaries informed by a robust background in material knowledge and emerging fabrication technologies. 

Soft Systems focuses on the developments in soft materials – from fibres, filaments, yarns, gels, liquids and coatings to mouldable materials, flexible films and virtual materials, used alongside digital assemblies. The specialism foregrounds creative practice to question the materiality of our lives and pioneer new ways of thinking and making to create responsive and adaptive textiles.

With support from The Worshipful Company of Broderers’ RCA Textiles Innovation Fund, the MA Textiles programme is offering an innovation award of £5,000 for an applicant into the new Soft Systems specialism. The award is for an exceptional project concept and portfolio demonstrating ambition in this area and can be used to support realisation of a project through travel, materials, equipment and other related costs. 

The award is open to existing UK students, new UK applicants and UK students who have already been offered a place for the new specialism and must be used during the academic year 2018/19. The award will be offered on the strength and innovation demonstrated in the application.

New applicants are required to apply to the MA Textiles Programme via the RCA’s online admissions portal prior to consideration for the Soft Systems Innovation Award.

In order to be considered for the award, an additional application must be submitted to [email protected] and clearly marked Soft Systems Innovation Award.

The deadline is 5pm Wednesday 20 June 2018

Applicants will need to make a proposal as to how they would use £5,000 to further the ambition and innovation of their MA work. Applications should include a summary of the proposal, identification of intended outcome, as well as what is innovative, compelling or unique about the proposal and how it would help you to further your career in smart textiles.

Find out more about MA Textiles at the RCA and how to apply.