Postgraduate taught 

Art History: Dress & Textile Histories MLitt

Understanding Textiles: Technology HISTART5070

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course aims to give students an understanding of the processes involved in forming yarns and fabrics from fibres, including spinning, weaving and non-woven techniques, and of the main historic decorative and construction techniques. As a result students should be able to identify techniques found in historic and modern textiles, understand how they influence the deterioration of textiles and be able to document and record the techniques used.


2 lecture/seminar hours per week plus 1 hour of tutorials.

Excluded Courses





Technical object record 60%, where students will examine one textile in depth and submit a detailed report (3000 words) of the constituent materials: yarns and their spin/ply, weave or non-woven structure, decorative elements, etc.

Poster with sample on technique 40%. Each student will create a poster explaining one textile technique, and attach a sample of the material.

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Introduce the processes involved in forming yarns and fabrics from fibres

■ Introduce the main historic decorative and construction techniques

■ Relate these to their context and meaning (origins, development, use, etc.)

■ Enable the development of appropriate methodologies to record yarn and fabric structures

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify textile structures using observation and research skills

■ Recognise the historical and geographical context of textile techniques

■ Demonstrate proficiency in one textile technique

■ Use oral, written and visual communication skills, including:

■ Using appropriate technical terminology

■ Writing documentation in a style appropriate for a textile curator or a general audience

■ Selecting and presenting information in a clear and coherent manner

■ Participating fairly and positively in class discussions

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.