An A/R/Tographic engagement with the Gleneden Post-War Design Archive

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The Gleneden Post-War Design Archive is a previously unexamined collection of hand-painted textile design artefacts originally produced to inform the production of jacquard woven cloth. This thesis questions how the Arts Based Educational Research methodology of a/r/tography can be used to galvanise the researcher along with other active participants of various ages and abilities into engaging with an historic design resource, leading to the creation of multifaceted research outcomes.

The study examines ways that this collection has acted as a stimulus for new creative work in a variety of contexts. Ten practice-based research projects have been devised as case studies which serve to test how co-creative practice-based research can be developed by conceiving strategies that democratise multi-authored design practices. Through these projects, it is intended that new insights will be revealed as themes of quality and originality, palimpsestic participation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and edited co-creation are explored, by connecting the objects informing the research, the participants in the research, the research site, and the project instigator in ways that create new art and design work, enhance a taught curriculum, and inform extra-curricular knowledge exchange.

Each project connects at least two people; The constant participant is me with the second being an original illustrator of the Gleneden artefact that is informing the project. Some projects have multiple authors; numerous co-creators whose input may be fleeting or long-lasting depending on whether the project is one-time cross sectional, longitudinal, collaborative, or co-creative. Group projects that explore ideas grown by multiple personalities demonstrate how curriculum activities connected to a design archive, nourished by group tasks, and developed through collaboration, conversation, and compromise, can inspire ideas that transform autonomous actions into communal creativity.

This PhD study has been conducted as practice-based research allowing it to sit alongside an academic role expected to, encourage, and grow participation in the practice of textile design. Through these parallel yet symbiotic paths I have gathered information and experiences that demonstrate the significance and value of this archive and in doing so have produced new knowledge that will contribute to the development of other practices that use archives in the wider textiles field. The thesis argues that as a maintained and accessible resource, Gleneden will be able to sustain many collaborative interactions. The palimpsestic nature of some of the practice has revealed new works to have the potential to be transformational, the process of creation making them agents of change. This research has created conditions to grow appreciation of Gleneden, building connections, allowing it to be utilised, as a historic design resource that has significance and value for a contemporary audience.
Date of Award20 Mar 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorStella Baraklianou (Main Supervisor) & Tracy Cassidy (Co-Supervisor)

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