A major festival celebrating the past and present of UK-made textiles was opened by The Northern School of Art’s Vice Principal.

Acting in his capacity as Arts Council England North Area Council Member, the School’s VP, Pat Chapman, launched the inaugural event of the British Textile Biennial alongside the Patron, designer and Great British Sewing Bee judge, Patrick Grant.

In his opening speech, Pat Chapman said, “I applaud this biennial, this celebration, because textiles and fabric represent one of the oldest and most accessible art forms.

“Across thousands of years and across all cultures, textiles record our shared heritages and proclaim our identity.

“Each of us carries meaning in what we wear, our clothes chart the history of the textile industry and the communities that were a part of it – a particularly resonant heritage here in Lancashire.”

Patrick Grant has been lauded for restoring the textiles heritage to Lancashire since the launch of his Community Clothing initiative in 2016.

The Blackburn-based social enterprise has a stated mission “to make excellent quality affordable clothes for men and women, to create great jobs for skilled workers and by doing this help to restore real pride in Britain’s textile communities”.

Operating out of Patrick Grant’s own factory, where he employs 38 people from the local area, Community Clothing now works with 25 factories and suppliers in the UK and has created more than 124,000 hours of skilled work, which is paid at the National Living Wage.

The British Textile Biennial is an Arts Council-backed festival celebrating the power of textiles through art, design, performance and crowd sourced exhibitions, from 3rd October to 3rd of November 2019 at venues across Pennine Lancashire.

The Northern School of Art offers the chance to study textiles design on a range of post 16 and degree level courses, including diplomas and degrees in textiles and surface design and fashion and degrees in costume interpretation with design.

Open Days take place throughout the year at both campuses of The Northern School of Art offering opportunities to speak to specialist staff and discover more about the facilities and courses.

The next Open Day at the Hartlepool campus for degree-level and masters’ courses takes place on Wednesday 23 October from 15:00 – 19:00. An Open Day for post 16 courses at the Middlesbrough campus is on Saturday 16 November 2019 between 10:00 – 14:00.

Further information is available at www.northernart.ac.uk