The Cutting Edge of Knowledge Exchange

Based in Glasgow Museums at the Burrell Collection, Ms Rebecca Quinton (pictured below) is the Curator for European costumes and textiles, and has a responsibility for all European Costumes and Textiles across all Glasgow Museums. Under the Glasgow Life framework, Ms Quinton is subcontracted to the University of Glasgow for two days a week, where she convenes a new course in Art History: Dress and Textile History. Rebecca’s remit involves designing the programme, establishing the guest lecturer series as well as assuming the role of course teacher, tutor and supervisor. She says:

“Being involved with the Dress and Textile course enables me to stretch my brain in ways which I wouldn't normally do. Being mid-career myself, it is a great opportunity to return to the nitty-gritty of methodologies, which is not part of the everyday as a museum curator, where you use methodologies but you are not engaging with them in the way you would in academia. This has given me a slightly different approach to my work in the museum.

“The majority of the students coming through the course are keen to move into industry rather than continue a career in academia. The accessibility to collections and object based learning is a key pull for the majority of the students on the course and this is only available as a result of the unique pairing of Glasgow Museums and the University.

“The Glasgow Life partnership is developing a core for textiles in the City of Glasgow. Glasgow Museums have the second largest dress and textile collection in Scotland and once the textile store at Glasgow Museums Resource Centre has been developed the collection will be more accessible than that of the largest collection, in Edinburgh. Being a local authority we are more geared towards public access than a university or a national museum, which has a very different remit.

“Our fantastic collection is under-researched. Through Glasgow Life we are now working directly with the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History, at the University of Glasgow to deliver a research-intensive programme focused on the collection. The outputs of which will be available to the public via the Resource Centre.

“With 50% of the students enrolling on the Dress and Textile course being from outside the UK, it genuinely has developed an international reputation that is delivering back into the Scottish economy. Not only with the economic boost that students bring, but also with the number of international conferences coming to the City, such as the Dress and Textiles Conference, Research Network for Textile Conservation, Dress and Textile History and Technical Art History Conference and ICON 2013.

“The City of Glasgow is fast becoming the place to be for fashion and textiles and the development of the Glasgow Life partnership undoubtedly plays a key role in this.”

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