Debra is Subject Leader in BA (Hons) Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design, teaching across all levels. Key to her teaching is the notions of practice-led, object-based and archival research, and working collaboratively with external sources. She is a Supervisor on the MA Creative Practice.
Professionally she has worked as a Freelance Designer, selling work throughout Europe and America, and has exhibited both in France and the UK.
She has an MA in Textiles, and organises and participates in textile practice-led research exhibitions and symposia, with a particular interest in themes of deconstructing material histories and reconstructed narrative; theorising practice and practice in theory; dialogue of values and making, and sustainability and recycling.
Her practice is driven by a passion for history, collecting and cultural memory, adapting a form of interpretive archaeology to unearth what traces of the past can reveal, and to reconstruct physical and imagined biographies of that past. An exploration into the constructed narratives of past events and people is manifested through a language of mapping. Her practice explores the real, the simulated, and the interpretive aspects of artefacts as signifiers of meaning and value as a means to decode the past and to present the transient values of objects over time. Handcrafting is an important element; the value of touch as a means to connect and the value of handmade as a means to preserve past traditions and techniques in the present.
Her original design pieces have been reproduced in Kettle, A & McKeating, J 2010 Machine Stitch Perspectives, A & C Black, and published works include Museums & Galleries Histories Group Newsletter June 2009, and “Text”, Journal of the Textile Society.
In 2014 she will be participating in the Highlights Northern Contemporary Craft Touring Exhibition with Paddy Hartley, and is delivering her research into the value of Archive based research in a paper for the Pasold Conference : Sourcing the Archive: new approaches to materialising textile history, Goldsmiths University, London.