Since the industrial revolution, Huddersfield and Kirklees have been known for their manufacture of fine worsted wool textiles. A ‘Made in Huddersfield’ selvedge is synonymous with quality and is, to this day, sought after throughout the world. However, textile activity in Huddersfield is not limited to historic industrial production; there is a thriving community of researchers engaging with textile practice as a mode of enquiry.
Textiles: Made in Huddersfield moves away from the heritage and industry of the region. Instead, it focuses on the cultures of textiles that have grown and developed from the research community of staff and students at the University of Huddersfield. Here textiles are explored from a variety of perspectives; as a storytelling device, a way to bring people together, a tool for reflection and observation.
Research projects included in the exhibition examine ‘cultures of place’ through a range of approaches. Participatory and co-created research engages communities of practice, developing invaluable routes for communication and exchange and giving research a real-world richness. Other projects are inspired by the creative landscapes across Kirklees, and beyond. For practice-based textiles researchers, these landscapes become creative inspiration. Not only are these landscapes inspiring textiles research, but these projects are, in turn, shaping the landscape.
Much of the work exhibited utilises traditional hand techniques. However, researchers at the University of Huddersfield have access to a range of cutting-edge textiles technology. Where technology has been utilised, it is used creatively to push boundaries outside of industrial expectations.