Working at the creative interface between materials, making and meaning.
Textiles at the RCA is a multi-faceted discipline, and we work at the creative interface between materials, making and meaning. Our focus is on new knowledge that impacts many sectors, exploring new territories for tomorrow’s textiles specialist.
New fabrication methods and specialist textile skills offer fresh possibilities for the world and require us to constantly reconsider our practice, generating a culture of experimentation and creative possibility throughout the activities of the programme.
We encourage our students to develop an agility in their thinking and creative capability with colour and materials. The programme is an exploration of the creative, technological, cultural, commercial and sustainable contexts of textiles, and you’ll develop innovative ideas that challenge the understanding of the practice and discipline of textiles. By graduation, you’ll be fluent in the language of materials, able to influence the tangible and intangible materiality of our lives across a range of sectors.
Workshops for textiles include a large-scale printmaking workshop, a dedicated dye lab, mixed media and sewing workshop and extensive knit and weave facilities that include computerised handlooms, an industrial jacquard power loom with APSO software and a dobby power loom. High-tech printing and knitting is also accessible with a state-of-the-art Shima digital knit facility
Our alumni form an international network of creative individuals who have shaped and continue to shape the world.
- Alice Temperley
- Orla Kiely
- Lauren Bowker
- Emma Shipley
- Margo Selby
- Sue Timney
- Donna Wilson
More details on what you'll study.
Find out what you'll cover in this programme.
What you'll cover
The Textiles programme offers five specialisms: Printed, Knitted, Woven, Mixed Media Textiles, and Soft Systems. You’ll base your study within one of the specialisms.
Across our specialisms, we endeavour to extend your knowledge and experience of textiles using both individual and team project activities. Often we deliver these in conjunction with external industry partners to offer opportunities for professional engagement and practice.
In your first year you’ll take three units.
Studio Unit 1 (20 credits): Thinking through making: Materials, Tools + Narratives
This unit of study places you within your Textiles specialism (Knit, Weave, Print, Mixed Media, Soft Systems) and asks you to critically engage with the processes and methods of making/production. This includes aspects of materials, tools and models of practice. You undertake a series of technical challenges associated with the craft foundation and making aspects of your Textiles specialism.
You are expected to demonstrate understanding and competency with regard to these specialist skills in the production of the body of work for assessment.
As the unit progresses you are required to develop a unique and individual response to the project brief that goes beyond technical competency and demonstrates your creative capability to challenge the accepted boundaries of Textiles practice. You will develop your own conceptual frameworks for the development of their individual work. This is evidenced in a body of work that has an individual and unique expression in the use of colour and materials and demonstrates technical competency. The body of work will be presented and assessed towards the end of Term 1.
Studio Unit 2 (30 credits): Contextual Application + Location.
This unit sits across specialisms and asks you to elect a contextual platform to explore and challenge the location of your practice.
Elective platforms are offered that broadly reflect significant areas of Textile practice (Currently they are Colour, Materials and Finish or CMF , Body, Space, Gallery & Futures). There are both common and distinct approaches across the different platforms. Students need to recognise where there are overlaps between the platforms and where distinct understanding and approaches are required.
Elective project briefs are set for the contextual platforms that may be delivered in conjunction with another programme, industry or external partner.
You are expected to demonstrate appropriate understanding and competency with regard to your elected area of practice in the appropriate development of ideas and production of a body of work for assessment that responds to the given brief.
The context project work will be presented and assessed at group critiques either at the end of Term 2 or early in Term 3, depending on Easter dates.
Studio Unit 3 (10 credits): Individual Creative Identity
This unit of study builds on the knowledge, skills and experiences learnt through Studio Units 1 & 2 and asks the students to develop their individual creative identity through a period of independent study.
This will include the development of new research, proposals for the innovative development of the ideas and the ability to critically analyse their own work and that of others.
You are asked to present your work at group critiques in Term 3. During these crits the work will be assessed and students will be asked to comment on your overall progression during year 1.
Your second year will be devoted to independent study and the self-driven creation of work which challenges the boundaries of the discipline and builds on your creative identity.
Critical & Historical Studies (CHS)
All studio-based MA students follow a weekly schedule of Critical & Historical Studies (CHS), a College-wide initiative that provides you with the intellectual framework to build a coherent relationship between theory and practice.
CHS delivers exciting, thought-provoking and inspiring lectures by experts within the programme and high-profile visiting lecturers. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the theoretical background and aspects of your chosen discipline through a tutored dissertation process, as well as receiving individual tutorial support from our team of expert tutors.
What you need to know before you apply
Candidates are selected entirely on merit and applications are welcomed from all over the world. The selection process considers creativity, imagination and innovation as demonstrated in your portfolio, as well as your potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve high MA standards overall.
You should have a BA in Textiles or a related Art and Design subject, or equivalent experience, and a personal proposal for the intended direction of their MA study.. For Soft Systems only you should have a BA in Textiles, BSc or BEng, or equivalent experience
We also want passion, commitment and a strong sense of personal responsibility for your own learning and development.
What's needed from you
Your portfolio is a showcase of your work as an artist or designer and can be made up of images, videos or writing examples. Your portfolio helps us to better understand your application and allows you to show evidence of your ability and motivation to undertake a given programme.
Generally, we’re looking for you to demonstrate your:
- Creativity, imagination and innovation
- Ability to articulate the intentions of the work
- Intellectual engagement in areas relevant to the work
- Technical skills appropriate to the work
- Potential to benefit from the programme
Each programme is looking for different things in a portfolio. Each Head of Programme provides specific advice on portfolio requirements in the online application system. We advise you to consider these requirements carefully before submitting your application.
If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need the equivalent of an IELTS Academic score of 6.5 with a 6.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE). Students achieving a grade of at least 6.0, with a grade of 5.5 in the Test of Written English, may be eligible to take the College’s English for Academic Purposes course to enable them to reach the required standard.
You are exempt from this requirement if you have received a 2.1 degree or above from a university in a majority English-speaking nation within the last two years.
If you need a Tier 4 visa to study at the RCA, you will also need to meet the Home Office’s minimum requirements for entry clearance.
For this programme
Fees for new students
You'll find tuition fees for 2019/20 entry below. These are likely to go up roughly in line with inflation for 2020/21 entry. Fees will be confirmed by 1 December 2019.
Home and EU
Channel Islands and Isle of Man
New entrants to the College for MA, MRes, MPhil and PhD degrees will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit in order to secure their place. This will be offset against the tuition fees for the first year of study.
Home and EU
* Total cost is based on the assumption that the programme is completed in the timeframe stated in the programme details. Additional study time may incur additional charges.
Scholarships are awarded for a specific programme and entry point and cannot be deferred without consent from the academic Programme and scholarships panel.
There are many funding sources, with some students securing scholarships and others saving money from working. It is impossible to list all the potential funding sources; however, the following information could be useful.