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Xingchen Lu


Thinking through making

Key details

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

School or Centre

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

Still accepting applications for 2022 entry. See the Key Dates webpage for round 4 details.

This programme is subject to validation

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 recent Work in Progress by our students.

Visit 2021.rca.ac.uk to view graduate work from the class of 2021

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

This programme is subject to validation

The programme is delivered across three terms and includes a combination of programme, School and College units.

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 the College-wide unit. This unit aims to support students to meet the challenges of a complex, uncertain and changing world by bringing them together to work collaboratively on a series of themed projects informed by expertise within and beyond the College. These projects will challenge you to use your intellect and imagination to address key cultural, social, environmental and economic challenges. In doing so, you will develop and reflect on the abilities required to translate knowledge into action, and help demonstrate the contribution that the creative arts can make to our understanding and experience of the world.

Term 2

Textile 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 students to identify, develop and present a cohesive body of work that encapsulates and demonstrates their Masters level expertise. You are responsible for setting your 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 your ideas.


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

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

We suggest that you use the five slots to show five different aspects of your work and capability, such as showing five different projects. Each slot can hold multiple files so maximise this opportunity. Remember to consider how your uploaded work will appear to the viewer. Please make it clear what we are looking at by labelling the work accurately. We will be expecting to see a range of things from inspiration and your design process to finished work. Try and demonstrate your approach to textiles in your application by: Showing us where your inspiration comes from and how you interpret and develop this into original and creative ideas. Your ability and flair to use colour. An understanding of materials and how to manipulate and transform them. This might be showing us textile samples or pieces that you have created. If you do not have textile samples then show us inventive ways of transforming other materials. Examples of finished work to your best possible standard. It is essential to let us know which specialism you would prefer to work within (Print, Knit, Weave, Mixed Media or Soft Systems). This can be in your 300-word statement.

We’re interested to find out about you, your thinking, background and ambitions. Use this opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the field of textiles, including how and why you would contribute to this through your studies and future career. Use this opportunity to demonstrate some innovative and critical thinking. The video can be considered as your responses to the types of questions you would be asked in a face to face interview such as a selection from the following:

  • Tell us about your choice of one project from your portfolio and why it best represents your future interests.
  • Give us an example of an inspirational person, design or innovation within the field of Textiles.
  • What are your aspirations for what you hope to do in the future and how the Textiles programme will influence this?
  • Describe your ideal project and how you would go about this, to include a concept and rationale for the approach you suggest and how this project challenges the discipline of Textiles.
  • Talk about your analysis and creative thinking about an existing object - for example something you have in front of you.
  • Inspire us

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 2022 entry on this programme are outlined below. From 2021 onward, EU students are classified as Overseas for tuition fee purposes.

Overseas and EU


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.

Start your application

RCA students at work (photo: Richard Haughton)

Change your life and be here in 2022

The Royal College of Art welcomes applicants from all over the world.

Before you begin

Make sure you've read and understood the entrance requirements and key dates
More information about eligibility and key dates
Check you have all the information you need to apply.
Read our application process guide
Visit our applications portal to get started

Ask a question

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

Email us at
[email protected]
RCA Kensington cafe