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UAL Research Online

Textile Semantics: An Exploration of the Communicative Capacity of Narrative Textiles in Public Spaces

Andrew, Sonja Michelle (2011) Textile Semantics: An Exploration of the Communicative Capacity of Narrative Textiles in Public Spaces. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Andrew, Sonja Michelle

The research is concerned with 'textile semantics' and explores the communicative capacity of printed textiles in public spaces. The research investigates the influence of content, cloth and context on the reading of textiles, exploring the semiotic sign systems that enable textiles to function as a channel for the production and exchange of meaning between designer as encoder/producer and viewer as receiver/ consumer.

The research examines historical precedents for textiles functioning as a communication medium and considers the designer's role as encoder of cultural meaning through the visual image in textiles, identifying modes of communication in both historical and contemporary examples. A critical theoretical framework based in semiotics and communication theory is adopted as a generative and analytical tool in the research to explore the communication process through textiles. The development of this critical framework is supported by existing research from areas such as product semantics, consumer behaviour studies and material culture studies, and the application of semiotic theory in related art and design disciplines such as fashion is discussed. Methodologies developed from this framework were implemented in two practical case studies where printed textiles encoded with specific meanings were installed in public spaces and responses to the work evaluated. This enabled testing of communication intent and effect, comparing the practitioner's communication intentions with the meanings viewers ascribed to the visual content but also determining the influence of medium and site on their readings, demonstrating variation and commonality of responses.

The research is significant for the textile field as it positions textiles within a semiotic communication paradigm for critical discussion. Evidence of the influence of content, cloth and context on the construction of meaning from textile installations in the case studies makes an original contribution to knowledge on viewers' readings of textiles in public spaces. The case studies demonstrate the application of semiotics in the design and evaluation of printed textile installations that fulfil a communicative role within the built environment and the findings from these studies provide evidence that may be used to inform both the design and commissioning of communicative textiles for public spaces.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

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Date: December 2011
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2020 15:44
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 09:36
Item ID: 15582
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/15582

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