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The University of Leeds International Textiles Archive
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University of Leeds
Tuesday 21, October 2014



ULITA - An Archive of International Textiles documents, publishes and exhibits the results of research relating to its constituent collections. The focus is mainly on ethnographic and historic textiles, with particular emphasis on techniques of production as well as motifs, patterns and other forms of decoration. Another concern is with geometrical aspects of structure and form in design.
The Archive is closely associated with the School of Design, and staff from the School have been involved in a range of research projects of relevance to ULITA’s activities, as well as in the curatorship of exhibitions, the organisation of conferences, the delivery of workshops and the presentation of seminars, lectures and other talks. This page acts as a dissemination point for information relating to conferences, publications and research projects, organised, presented or authored by School of Design staff in association with ULITA.

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International Visiting Fellowships

Unfortunately ULITA is not in a position to make a financial contribution to visits by scholars or researchers. Nor are we able to pay scholarships or honoraria. Rather, a “bench fee”, of a level determined by the Director in consultation with the Head of the School of Design, is payable by each visiting scholar for each three-month period. Levels of payment during the 2009-2010 academic year varied from £1500 -£2000 per three-month period. Should you wish to be considered for one of ULITA’s International Visiting Fellowships please note that there is no standard application form to complete. Instead, please forward a one page research proposal (which must be in English and should show clearly how your research can benefit, enhance or complement the activities of ULITA ) and a one page career résumé, together with a brief signed statement of reference from your employing institution, showing your institutional affiliation, stating clearly your current position and the period of the proposed sabbatical engagement at ULITA. Please note that we have numerous proposals from potential visiting scholars to Leeds and we are only able to accept a very small proportion of these. Further to that, please note also that all emigration regulations pertaining at the time must be adhered to or addressed by the Visiting Fellow, and ULITA is not in a position to negotiate or submit visa applications on behalf of any applicant. Applications can be sent to ulita@leeds.ac.uk, and are reviewed during December, March and June of each year.

ULITA Publications

Monograph - Dragons, Unicorns and Phoenixes
Dragons, Unicorns And Phoenixes
Origin and Continuity of Technique and Motif
by M.A.Hann

Hard copies unavailable

Monograph - Patterns of Culture - Techniques of Decoration and Coloration
Patterns of Culture I
Techniques of Decoration and Coloration

by M.A.Hann
ULITA hardcopy price: £5.00 (contact ULITA)

Monograph - Patterns of Culture - Decorative Weaving Techniques
Patterns of Culture II
Decorative Weaving Techniques

by M.A.Hann and B.G.Thomas
ULITA hardcopy price: £5.00 (contact ULITA)

Monograph - Patterns in the Plane and Beyond - Symmetry in two and three dimensions
Symmetry in two and three dimensions

by B.G.Thomas and M.A.Hann
Hard copies unavailable

Fashion: Function in Action

by students of Fashion Design,
School of Design,
supervised by D.Backhouse and L.C.Webster

Monograph - Patterns of Culture - The Textiles of Bali and Nusa Tenggara
Patterns of Culture:
The Textiles of Bali and Nusa Tenggara

by H.Coleman
ULITA hardcopy price: £5.00 (contact ULITA)

Monograph - Patterns of Culture - Tibor Reich
Patterns of Culture:
Tibor Reich: A Life of Colour and Weave

(Centre Illustrations)
by K.Powers and M.A.Hann
(with a contribution by J.A.Cousens)

ULITA hardcopy price: £5.00 (contact ULITA)

Ars Textrina Journals

Printing the Ars Textrina Journals
The Ars Textrina journals are in standard pdf format and you are welcome to print them. However, due to their compressed format,Adobe Reader fails to print these articles correctly. We strongly recommend downloading an alternative and free pdf reader (Foxit Reader). During installation you may set this as your default pdf reader from where you will be able to print without difficulty.
  Download Foxit Reader
 Alternatively save and open the article in Adobe Acrobat and print from there.
 Your printer may include the option 'Print as graphic' in which case, select and print as normal.

Ars Textrina 2009, ULITA, Leeds, Britain

"Natural Fibres - A World Heritage (in celebration of The International Year of Natural Fibres)"Download
Edited by J. Winder & M. A. Hann
Abstracts available

Ars Textrina 2007, Belfast, Northern Ireland

"Textile Territories: Past, Present and Future"Download
Edited by K. Wells & J. Winder

Ars Textrina 2006, Seoul, Korea

"The Evolution and Diffusion of Textile and Fashion Design in the Context of Globalization"[ Download]
[Abstracts not available]
[Papers not available]

Ars Textrina 2005, ULITA, Leeds, Britain

"Form, Materials and Performance"Download
Edited by B.G.Thomas

Ars Textrina Archives

The Ars Textrina Archive is the first online compilation of the Journals since 1983. You may view the archive as a whole or through the individual volume listing here. You may download any article for your personal use, but not produce multiple copies for any purpose.

The Complete Ars Textrina Archive

Volume 1, 1983 (unavailable)

Volume 2, 1984 (unavailable)

Volume 3, May 1985 (unavailable)

Volume 4, December 1985

Volume 5, June 1986

Volume 6, December 1986

Volume 7, June 1987

Volume 8, December 1987

Volume 9, July 1988

Volume 10, December 1988


  • The 2013 International Textiles and Costume Congress is hosted by Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand on 28-29 October. The theme is Fashion, Design, and Colour Technology - An International Congress for Researchers and Practitioners.

  • The 2011 International Textiles and Costume Conference is hosted by the Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), Indonesia, on 24th - 26th October 2011. ITB is partnered by Ars Textrina and Costume Culture Association (CCA) Korea. The theme is 'Heritage Textiles and Costume'.

  • The 2009 Ars Textrina International Textiles Conference was hosted by University of Leeds and the University of Leeds International Textiles Archive. This years theme was 'Natural Fibres - A World Heritage, in celebration of The International Year of Natural Fibres.

  • The 2007 Ars Textrina International Textiles Conference was hosted by The University of Ulster.
    This year’s theme was ‘Textile Territories: Past, Present & Future’. Textiles are embedded in a region’s culture and economy in an integrated way that is not replicated in other disciplines. This conference aims to address regional and location specific textile design, production, manufacture and its associated technology in a cultural context by looking at the past, present and future roles of textiles and its heritage. The conference provided an inter-disciplinary forum for textile and fashion practitioners, museum professionals with interests relating to textiles and their collection, exhibition and documentation, teachers and academic researchers, and those with an interest in the socio-cultural aspects of historic, contemporary and future textiles.

  • The 2006 Ars Textrina International Textiles Conference was jointly organised by ULITA and the Costume Culture Association (CCA) of Korea. The three-day conference was hosted by Ewa Women’s University. The opening address was given by Professor Hann (Director of ULITA) and Professor Kim (President of the CCA) to a participating audience of around two hundred. Five papers were delivered by academic staff from the University of Leeds School of Design. Three parallel sessions allowed for papers from textile and fashion designers, academics from a wide range of disciplines with expertise in textiles or clothing, textile and dye technologists and scientists, museums’ personnel, textile historians and archaeologists, and social scientists with interests relating to textiles or costume.

A Selection of other publications, papers and abstracts

Also see other Educational and Researchers' Resources

Symbol, Pattern and Symmetry: The Cultural Significance of Structure

Hann, M.A. (2013)
Bloomsbury Publishing

This book investigates how pattern and symbol has functioned in visual arts, exploring how connections and comparisons in geometrical pattern can be made across different cultures and how the significance of these designs has influenced craft throughout history.

The book features illustrative examples of symbol and pattern from a wide range of historical and cultural contexts, from Byzantine, Persian and Assyrian design, to case studies of Japanese and Chinese patterns. Looking at each culture’s specific craft style, Hann shows how the visual arts are underpinned with a strict geometric structure, and argues that understanding these underlying structures enables us to classify and compare data from across cultures and historical periods. Richly illustrated with both colour and black and white images, and with clear, original commentary, the book enables students, practitioners, teachers and researchers to explore the historical and cultural significance of symbol and pattern in craft and design, ultimately displaying how a geometrical dialogue in design can be established through history and culture.

Structure and form in design, critical ideas for creative practice

Hann, M.A. (2012)
Bloomsbury Publishing
This book provides a critical examination of structure and form in design, covering a range of topics of great value to students and practitioners engaged in any of the specialist decorative arts and design disciplines.

Tibor Reich - A Textile designer working in Stratford

Powers, K. and Hann, M.A. (2009)
Textile History 40 (2) pp212-228, November 2009
Full article available

Innovation in Linen Manufacture

Hann, M.A. (2005)
The Textile Progress Series, Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge in association with The Textile Institute, Manchester, 47pp
Innovation in Linen Manufacture
The research objectives are to identify relevant innovations in processing which may assist in the design and production of linen products. The research aim is to stimulate awareness among designers and producers of the importance of technological innovation to widening the range of products processed from flax fibre. In the early stages of preparing this monograph, a survey was conducted of all European research institutes involved in flax/linen research as well as all listed flax growers, processors, and manufactures. This survey helped to identify the nature of current research projects, recent patents and current product ranges. Attention is thus focused on the more important innovations and avenues for product development where it is believed by the author that these impinge on, or facilitate, the design process. Results/conclusions A critical review of important technical literature is presented. Innovations in retting, scutching, flax spinning, linen weaving, dyeing, printing and finishing, all of importance in the design of linen products, are identified and their operation explained. New applications for the fibre are proposed and discussed.

The Fundamentals of Pattern Structure

Hann, M.A. (2003)
Textile Institute Journal, 94(1-2), pp.53-88

  • Part I: Woods Revisited.
  • Part II: The Counterchange Challenge.
  • Part III: The Use Of Symmetry Classification as an Analytical Tool.

The objectives of this three-part paper are to examine a range of geometric concepts of fundamental importance to developing our understanding of motifs, patterns and their construction. The aim is to develop further a systematic means by which textile and other surface patterns may be classified with respect to the symmetry characteristics of their underlying structures. In addition to highlighting important conceptual developments, this paper debates further the potential of symmetry classification as an analytical tool. Original case study material, from two clearly-differentiated cultures (the Miao Chinese and the Han Chinese) is introduced, classified, analysed and discussed. An important aspect of this paper is the presentation of a collection of original designs, developed within the theoretical framework of geometric symmetry. This series of papers shows how symmetry classification can be employed as an analytical tool in the analysis of regular-repeating patterns from different cultures. Each series of data showed a clear, non-random distribution of symmetry classes, lending further support to the proposition that symmetry classification is a culturally sensitive tool and that different cultures exhibit different symmetry preferences. Of particular note is the publication (for the first time in the relevant literature) of original examples of the forty-six two-colour-counterchange patterns.

Conceptual Developments in the Analysis of Patterns

Hann, M.A. (2003)
The Nordic Textile Journal, (3), pp.32-49

  • Part One: The Identification of Fundamental Geometrical Elements
  • Part Two: The Application of the Principles of Symmetry

This two-part paper is published by the Textile Research Centre at the University College of Boras, Sweden. The research objective is to present a description of how textile and other surface patterns may be classified with respect to the symmetry characteristics of their underlying structures. Many of the concepts used are drawn from the sphere of crystallography. The fundamental geometrical aspects of motifs and patterns are identified. The aim is to examine further the potential of symmetry classification as an analytical tool. Appropriate data are classified, presented and analysed. This paper gives further support the hypothesis that when a representative selection of patterns from a given cultural setting are classified with respect to their symmetry characteristics, a non-random distribution of symmetry classes will result. Also, given the availability of an appropriate time series of data, symmetry classification is a convenient means of identifying periods of cultural adherence, continuity and change. These results lend support to previous surveys conducted by the researcher. For much of the twentieth century, design historians and theorists, as well as anthropologists and archaeologists, invariably restricted their studies of patterns on decorated objects (including textiles) to broad ranging subjective commentary and superficial analysis. Cross-cultural considerations and comparisons were hindered generally by the apparent lack of awareness of a procedure to systematically classify two-dimensional designs in a way which was both meaningful and reproducible. Over the past few decades, several researchers (including the author of this output) have done much to remedy this weakness by proposing a system of classification based on the consideration of pattern geometry or symmetry. Symmetry classification is a convenient means of identifying points/periods in time of cultural adherence, continuity and change.

Invited Papers

Associated Research Projects

The Pazyryk Carpet

Hann, M.A.
The written history of pile-carpet manufacture was challenged dramatically, following the discovery of the so-called "Pazyryk carpet" in the late-1940s, during an archaeological dig led by Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko, in the Pazyryk Valley, amid the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia. The carpet (which measures 1.83 metres by 1.98 metres) was found in a kurgan (or tomb) and is currently held in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. The kurgans in the Altai region have interested archaeologists since the nineteenth century, with expeditions led by Radloff in 1865, Griaznov (with Rudenko) from 1925 to 1929, Shibe in 1927 and again by Rudenko from 1947 to 1949. This latter series of digs was found to be the most fruitful archaeologically, and lead to the discovery of the carpet and a range of other interesting artefacts. The circumstances of the carpet's survival were fortuitous. Shortly after the kurgan’s construction, water seeped into the tomb and, on freezing, held the contents in a deep frozen state for around two-and-a-half-thousand years. Other, much smaller, pile-carpet fragments as well as appliquéd felted fabrics were also found during the Rudenko series of digs. This research is concerned with establishing the circumstances of the Pazyryk carpet's survival and discovery. Attention is being focused on the technical aspects of its manufacture, and the structural and thematic characteristics of its design. The intention is to develop the debate relating to the carpet's provenance and usage prior to its entombment in the kurgan. Professor Hann, Director of ULITA, travelled to St Petersburg on a (two-day) short-term research visit to the Hermitage Museum, where he was permitted to examine the renowned Pazyryk carpet and other Scytho-Siberian textiles. The outcome of his study was presented at the International Conference on Oriental Carpets at Istanbul in April 2007.

The Application of Geometric Symmetry to Tilings and Polyhedra

Ms Briony Thomas and Professor M. A. Hann
This research is of significant to design practitioners and explores a range of geometric concepts of importance to two- and three-dimensional design. The project is concerned with pattern, geometric structure, form, shape, proportion and symmetry. The visionary work of H. J. Woods (a crystallographer working with Astbury in the 1930s) was the starting point for the enquiry, and attention has been directed to the clarification of developments since then. The objective is to develop a system for tiling regular polyhedra (known as the Platonic solids) without gap or overlap and with registration at the edges. An exhibition was held at ULITA in 2007/2008.

Work with us


ULITA and The School of Design welcome applications from potential graduate students to work on aspects of ULITA’s collections
Enquiries to:

The Director of Postgraduate Studies
The School of Design
The University of Leeds LS2 9JT
Telephone: +44 (0)113 343 3700
Fax: +44 (0)113 343 3704
Email: postgraduate.text@leeds.ac.uk

Find out more about postgraduate study at Leeds

Grants and Donations

Since opening at St Wilfred’s Chapel in 2004, ULITA’s activities have been generously sponsored by The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Clothworkers’ Company, The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), The Pasold Research Fund, The Wolfson Foundation, Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, Renaissance Yorkshire, The Textile Society, The Egyptian Exploration Society and various other grant awarding bodies.
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