Dr Kate Wells

Position: Senior Lecturer in Fashion and Textiles

Subject area: Textiles

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My role is to work closely with colleagues on the BA and MA programmes for Year 0, Fashion Studies, Textile Design, Fashion and Textiles awards in delivery of the subject area printed textile design and coloration as part of the curriculum.

Taking a proactive role both internally and externally in promoting and marketing the programmes within the subject area of Fashion and Textiles and help build the reputation of the programmes by maintaining and extending professional and academic links both internally and externally, and at national and international level. Part of my role is to undertake research, professional practice and scholarly activity relevant within the field of fashion and textiles ensuring that a high level of expertise is achieved.

Teaching responsibilities

I currently teach at postgraduate level on the Fashion and Textile MA and at Undergraduate level on the BA (Hons) Textile Design and BA (Hons) Fashion Studies Programmes.

Professional interests

I am considered a world expert in field of printed textile design, coloration and fabric manipulation - with extensive knowledge of textile design for fashion and interiors, its technology and manufacture. 

Sustainability within the fields of Fashion and Textiles forms a major part of my own practice and involvement with the DEFRA funded Sustainable Clothing Road Map Steering Group, The Slow Textile Group and fellowship of the Ethical Fashion Forum has ensured that I continue to keep abreast of new developments within the field of Fashion and Textiles.

Research interests

I am an active researcher within the field of Textile Design with a reputation of National and International standing. The main direction of my personal research is to push the decorative boundaries of design through the employment of natural and synthetic dyes, unusual finishes and form to create unique patterning and textural qualities. Embracing sustainability is one of my major objectives as is the uniting hand-processes with technology to create unique exciting textiles and products.

Membership of professional bodies

I am active member of several international professional bodies and associations including The Textile Institute; The Society of Dyers and Colourists; The Colour Group (GB); The Ethical Fashion Forum; The Textile Society; Slow Textile Group and the World Shibori Network.

My current involvement within the Society of Dyers and Colourists is that of Trustee and member of the Board as well as a Committee member for the Midland Region. Previous posts have involved Chair of the Ireland Region and member of the specialist sub-committee on Education. In November 2009 was awarded the Societies prestigious 'Silver Medal' for prolonged valuable contributions to education in the area of coloration. 
In 2010 I was appointed as a trustee on the Council of the Textile Institute and have held membership of the Institute since 1980.

I currently hold the positions of External Examiner to the BA/BSc (Honours) Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors at Huddersfield University and for the BA (Hons) in Textile Design at the University of Leeds. In March 2012 I was joint External Examiner for the practice based PhD 'The Translation and Interpretation of the Structural Elements of Musical Compositions through Painting and Digital Media.' for the School of Fine Art at the University of Leeds.

In recent years I have also acted as an external referee to the external funding bodies: Pasold Research Fund, Leverhulme Trust and the Arts & Humanities Research Council and reviewer to Persons Education Publishing House and the Journal of the International Colour Association (JAIC) and was part of the programme committee for the AIC 2013 Congress, CREATE Network and ARS Textrina International Conferences.


Undergraduate qualifications

  • BA (Hons) textile Design, University of Leeds

Research qualifications

  • PhD on Resist Patterning for Contemporary Fabrics, The Royal College of Art

Recent publications

'Colour, health and wellbeing: The hidden qualities and properties of natural dyes'. Published in the Journal of the International Colour Association. Vo. 11 (2013)

'Fabric Dyeing and Printing'. Published by Conran Octopus Limited. England (1997 & 2000); America (1997) 
This major monograph was also translated and published into German (1997) and two separate Spanish versions for Spain and the South American Markets (1998). Selling over 40,000 copies internationally.

The Dyers Craft - Resist Patterned Textiles. Co-Authors: Dr Kate Wells, Dr Michael Hann. Published by Leeds University Press in 2000 to accompany the exhibition 'The Dyers' Craft' in association with the Ars Textrina International Textile Conference. Leeds, UK. 2000 

Recent conferences

The AIC 2013 International Congress: Bringing Colour to Life where I presented a poster 'More than Natures Colours' that discussed the possibilities that natural dyes may possess anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
ARS Textrina International Textiles Conference. Leeds University. September. 2009.
Presentation of referred papers: 'The Ewart Liddell Archive - Irish Heritage' and 'The symbiotic relationship between natural fibres & finishing processes: Innovative methods of designing.'

Additional interests and activities

In my capacity as an international designer and educator, I was chosen as Printed Textile Judge for the Royal Dublin Society and EBS Annual Crafts Competition in 1998 & 1999. In 2002 I was appointed as was one of six judges of the 3M Design Awards presented at the 'Fabricated' Inspiration and Innovation in Fabrics and Fibres Exhibition and Competition' Spring Fair, NEC Birmingham. 

I run a small design company 'Kate Wells Textiles' that produces innovative, sustainable products for fashion and interiors employing hand-dyed and printed textile techniques. The company believes in 'Slow Textiles' and its aim is to use sustainable and ethical production methods combined with organic, sustainable and recycled sourcing. Its philosophy believes in the dissemination of knowledge within the fields of textile surface design. Designs are sold on a freelance basis to Interior Textile design companies such as Romo and Schumacher via the printing company Turnbull Designs.

Experience in industry

Throughout my career, as author, designer and technical consultant, I have also worked on a freelance basis with many international fashion and textile companies; including: Monsoon; Monkwell Fabrics; Turnbull Design Ltd; Georgina von Etzdorf; Timney-Fowler; Pazuki; Zandra Rhodes; Georgina Godley; Royal Shakespeare Company; English National Ballet and the Royal Opera House.

International experience

I am well respected by my peers both nationally and internationally within the fields of Design Education and Textile Research, my expertise bridging the gap between design and technology.

Over the last 10 years my research and design work has been exhibited and presented internationally in: Paris, France; Hanover, Germany; Symi, Greece; Seoul, Korea; Tilburg; Netherlands; Istanbul, Turkey; Kherson, Ukraine and Washington DC, USA as well as Nationally at various locations within the United Kingdom and Ireland.

I have presented conference papers at the ARS Textrina/CAA Joint International Conference in Seoul, South Korea, presented guest lectures and masterclasses to undergraduate and post graduate students at the Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey and have taught international masterclasses at the Textile Museum in Tilburg, Netherlands.

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