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Xingchen Lu


Thinking through making

Key details

  • 180 credits
  • 1 year programme
  • Full-time study

School or Centre

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Application deadline

  • Applications closed. Please check back soon.

Working at the creative interface between materials, making and meaning.

Applications of the 2022 intake are now closed. To register for updates on applications for a 2023 start please complete an Enquiry to Study form.

MA Textiles at the RCA operates at the intersection of design, craft and fine art, and we encourage this mix of thinking to collectively challenge the role of the 21st century Textiles practitioner. Practice-led research is a fundamental intellectual framework for how we develop textiles and materials; conceived and created by ‘thinking through making’, we are uncovering new insights through material and process exploration in the physical and digital domains.

Diverse practice across the programme unites commercial designers, individual craft and gallery based practitioners and smart textiles innovators fostering a vibrant community culture where this range of practice stimulates critical questioning of the discipline.

The MA Textiles enables the development of a personal creative identity through a combination of individual, personally driven initiatives, collaborative work, industry-orientated and interdisciplinary projects.

With a focus on radical experimentation, material exploration and transformation, we encourage an exploratory, non-linear approach that embraces the conceptual, allowing a space for the incidental and accidental processes of discovery that foster a culture of research through physical and digital making.

We critically engage with all aspects of the discipline to demonstrate our creative capability. We value all approaches and promote responsibility and ethical values.

Explore further

Visit 2022.rca.ac.uk to view graduate work by our students.

Catch the replays from our November 2021 online Open Day.



The School of Design is based at our historic Kensington site.

View all facilities

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

  • Textiles workshop

    Textiles workshop

  • Textiles, print

    Textiles, print

  • Textiles studio

    Textiles studio

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

Term 1

Textile Alchemy – This unit will enable you to develop a strong foundation for establishing your practice through research, experimentation and exploration of colour, material and process. You are asked to identify and evaluate the most appropriate skills and techniques for your project and to critically engage with your choice and use of materials and processes. You will be expected to engage with and contribute to the studio culture of the Programme.

Across Terms 1 and 2, you will participate in AcrossRCA, the College-wide unit. See below for more details.

Term 2

Textiles Make – This unit enables you to develop a deeper understanding and skill capability within your chosen area of practice and is delivered through a series of masterclasses, workshops, technical negotiated learning and independent study. You will concentrate your study in a selection of available areas and develop your making skills alongside your critical development.

Textile Provocations – This unit enables you to develop a deeper understanding and critical capability within your chosen area of practice and is delivered through a series of masterclasses, workshops, technical negotiated learning and independent study.

The topics covered include but are not restricted to Sustainability and Responsibility, Gender and Politics in Textiles, Craft, Textiles as Fine Art, Textiles for Health and Wellbeing, Mixed Realities, Textiles as Soft Systems.

In term 2 all School of Design students will participate in the Grand Challenge, School-wide unit. The aim of this unit is to connect and challenge all students in the School through the introduction of a ‘wicked’ design problem that requires a cross disciplinary approach to problem solving involving an external international scientific or industry partner (or both). This unit and lecture series has been hugely successful in connecting and disrupting disciplines, people, philosophies and approaches to design thinking whilst providing our student body with very unique networking opportunities.

Term 3

Independent Research Project – This final unit asks you to identify, develop and present a cohesive body of work that encapsulates and demonstrates their Masters-level expertise.

You are responsible for setting their own scope of work, and managing your time and resources effectively. You must be able to demonstrate a sustained trajectory of progression through the unit that encompasses creativity, critical analysis, consolidation and resolution of their ideas. Your development will be supported by individual and group tutorials, seminars, workshops and technical negotiated learning.

All students will take part in a collective Textiles Festival that includes public dissemination and enables the students to critique their work in relation to others and the wider discipline of Textiles.


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 either a BA, a BSc or BEng, or equivalent experience, and a personal statement for the intended direction of study. We also want passion, commitment and a strong sense of personal responsibility for your own learning and development.

What's needed from you

We are looking for portfolios that show clear evidence of:

  • Project topics that are challenging and aim to transform.
  • Evidence of insight from user research, a sense of curiosity and willingness to uncover new insights.
  • Empathy and understanding of people.
  • Creative ideas that go beyond the expected and are built on user insight.
  • The ability to craft new solutions that are desirable and impactful.
  • An understanding of implementation and how concepts can be delivered in a sustainable and viable way.
  • Examples that show your ability to shape and form services and experiences from a variety of physical, system or technological touch points to be beautiful and desirable to the user.

In your video, please explain your motivation to be a service designer and provide an example of your favourite service experience. Please then describe an aspect of service design you are most passionate about. Finally, briefly describe your favourite project in your portfolio and describe why you chose it.

This will be a chance to showcase your understanding of service design, your passion to study at a Master’s level and your ability to communicate the value and impact of your work.

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) and at least 5.5 in other skills. 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 Student Visa to study at the RCA, you will also need to meet the Home Office’s minimum requirements for entry clearance.

Find out more about English-language requirements

Fees & funding

For this programme

Fees for new students

Fees for September 2023 entry on this programme are outlined below. From 2021 onward, EU students are classified as Overseas for tuition fee purposes.

£14,175 *
Overseas and EU
£33,600 *


New entrants to the College will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit in order to secure their place. This will be offset against the tuition fees.

Overseas 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.

More information

External funding

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.


Tuition fees are due on the first day of the academic year and students are sent an invoice prior to beginning their studies. Payments can be made in advance, on registration or in two instalments.

Ask a question

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more or have any questions.

Register your interest with us here
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