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Dr Sonja Andrew - personal details

Contact details

Role: Academic Senior Lecturer in Design (Textiles)




Sonja Andrew is a Senior Lecturer in Design at the University of Manchester. She is the Conference Director for the Textile Society and elected member on their board of trustees, convening annual international conferences and biennial research symposia related to the field. Sonja exhibits internationally, with designs jury selected by peer review for exhibitions in Belgium, Ukraine, South Korea, Lithuania and the UK. In 2014 the Arts and Humanities Research Council selected her work on textile semantics and visual narrative for an Image Gallery Award and publication in their centennial book ‘Beyond The Trenches, Researching the First World War’. Her commissioned work includes pieces for the United Bristol Healthcare Trust and Wells Cathedral, and her designs are featured in ‘Textiles, The Art of Mankind’, a global review of prominent contemporary textile practice. 

Crossing the disciplines of design, semiotics and narratology, Sonja employs the creative design process as a mode of research inquiry. Her main research focuses on textile semantics and communication, exploring multi-modality through visual and tactile communication on cloth, the textile artefact as a signifying object, and the influence of context on audience perception. She is also involved in the aesthetic interface between textiles and paper to create new materials for design applications. She has published in a range of art and design journals, and two book chapters ‘Perspectives on Making and Viewing: Generating Meaning through the Textile Medium’ and ‘Dichotomies in Textile Making: Employing Technology and Retaining Authenticity’ are due for publication in 2015/16. She is also editor for the conference publications ‘At the Edge: Extending Textile Boundaries’, ‘Colour Story’ and ‘Textile Identities’.   

Sonja supervises MSc and PhD research projects and is an invited subject specialist for undergraduate and masters programme validations for design, textiles and fashion at a number of UK universities and overseas institutions. Her undergraduate teaching focuses on design practice, textiles and sustainability. She is a graduate of Central Saint Martins (MA, PhD) and is an associate practitioner of the Higher Education Academy. She has externally examined programmes in Textile Innovation, Fashion and Textiles, Fine Art for Design, Printed Textiles and Surface Design at a number of UK institutions. Sonja is also the School of Materials Outreach and Public Engagement Lead for Design, Fashion Business and Textile Technology. She liaises with schools, public organisations and industry and develops events relating to subject dissemination, social responsibility and sustainability, widening participation and recruitment.