I just spent two short days at The Swedish School of Textiles, at The University of Borås, at the new Textiles Fashion CentreThey moved since last time I was here and the new building is wonderful. The people I am meeting are as smart and interesting as ever. Actively engaged in textiles research, fashion and interaction. It’s very inspiring. 

Monday March 30, Marian Kooroshnia will have her licenciate seminar, and I may try to come back. The work looks very good. Very rigorous. The book of her research so far is thorough and thoroughly impressive (book on the left, abstract on the right): 

I actually came for Barbara Jensen’s PhD Defence. I will post more about it shortly. it’s good to have such good work being undertaken in such close proximity. They are technically and artistically so strong in Borås. I haven’t read the theses or publications yet, but they blow many out of the water technically and artistically . And I love that all of their candidates’ research is shaped into a book (or two, or more)

I seriously think we need to start making books of our research at SDU. Sexy, aesthetically refined, serious research books. The Swedish School of Textiles does it so well. Kristina Höök’s group in Stockholm have the same practice for interaction research. As does TU/e. Very inspiring. TU/e had some great writings as well. The practice needs to be replicated. If nothing else, the pressure to prepare a book forces the candidate/researcher to be thorough in the presentation and articulation of ideas from an aesthetic, as well as intellectual perspective. But it’s more than this. It’s a legacy, a record – not in any heavy sense, but a claim to the evolution of a group’s commitment to doing quality research, making and thinking. Definitely to be pursued.


Borås 2: Barbara Jansen’s PhD defence

🙂 it was so good to do this trip.

The exhibition took place in the dark and simply cannot be communicated here. I include some pics anyway. The first is from her Masters: layers of screens enabling the construction of a 3D temporal composite using fibre optics. The other three are from her PhD:

Barbara Jensen






Barbara Jensen   Barbara Jensen   Barbara Jensen

Her actual defence began with her demonstrating a braid that she has been basing some of her work on (above and below). The performance was a beautiful use of time and space. The role of quietude, particularly lovely. Look at the braid below, now imagine it done in fibre-optics, with each fibre individual addressable, able to be lit up in any colour desired… The red thread shows the path of an individual fibre. It’s spatially powerful within the flat braidThe video is gorgeous, but only pics here for the moment.

Barbara Jensen weave example

She discusses the braid here: Why a change to a braiding technique? There are four reasons why I decided to work with braiding: it is a traditional technique, the way light is emitted and spread inside the structure, complex light patterns, and independency in the manufacturing process.

– p.73 of Jansen-PhD thesis book-digital version-2015.pdf, available here:

Barbara had 30 minutes for the solo part of her defence, but only used 15 – for the performance, then she stopped. She didn’t clarify what her research question was, or how she came to it. She didn’t contextualise her research or tell us about her contributions. Doing so would have made the defence impeccable. Personally, I think it should have been split 10/10/10 or even 15/15, with the performance as it was and then the theoretical approach and contribution providing intellectual rigour. Lucky for her, Prof Nithikul Nimkulrat, from the Estonian Academy of Arts was the opponent in charge of the rebuttal and she did an excellent job, teasing out all of the information we sorely needed. Impressively thorough.

Judging from the associated (17) publications, it could perhaps have been a thesis by publication. I’ve not read them yet, but perhaps they fill the gaps? At any rate, Dr Jensen should be celebrating. It’s lovely, rigorous creative work.