Digital/Material: Developments in Printed Textiles

14th July 2017, University for the Creative Arts, Rochester, Kent, UK

Surface pattern has the power to transform objects, materials and environments, layering them with new understanding. Patterned, decorated and ornamented surfaces can add colour, texture and the illusion of depth, and they can carry symbolic meanings that are cultural, political or psychological. Over the last decade the application of printed surface pattern has been revolutionised by advances in technology. Digital printing offers unparalleled scope for innovation, yet it follows a rich historical tradition of printed decoration in fashion, the interior and beyond.

In 2017 UCA will host the Digital/Material international conference, to celebrate and examine the transformative power of printed textiles. In recent years we have been on the crest of a wave of print and pattern that sees no sign of subsiding, with, for instance, new digital decorative techniques in architecture and interiors, the digital deployment of smart materials, and the emergence of engineered pattern in garments. Yet the printing of a patterned surface has sometimes been controversial, and the conference also seeks to explore the legacy of the past politics of pattern, as well as the deployment of pattern in politics: how pattern has been used as a powerful tool to provoke, explore and present thinking on political issues.

We invite proposals for papers from contemporary practitioners and researchers in textiles, fashion, architecture, fine art, ceramics, graphic design, illustration, film, photography and any other related field, alongside historians of art, design and material culture. Subjects might include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What is the impact of digital technology in printed in textiles and beyond?
  • What role will be played by new materials?
  • How does history inform contemporary printed pattern making?
  • How can printed textiles reflect diverse global cultures?
  • What is the future of printed pattern?

Abstracts (250-300 words) should be sent jointly to Professor Lesley Millar ( and Neil Bottle ( by 28th February 2017

CFP – Digital/Material: Developments in Printed Textiles, 14th July 2017, Rochester, UK

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