Embodied textiles for expression and wellbeing

S Kettley, I. Jones, T. P. Downes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution


To date, experiences with technical textiles have largely been focused on performance related aspects of a fabric developed for specific applications such as sports, health or safety (Shishoo 2005), and methodological problems remain with the techniques employed to measure what is a complex of effect and affect (Bartels 2005, Jordan 2000). However, there has been little in the way of empirical research into personal human experience with technical fabrics in context, with the notable exception perhaps of Entwistle who examines in depth the kinesthetic properties of particular garments, resulting in heightened awareness of the body (Entwistle Wilson 2001) and Candy, who analyses feelings of well being and the performance of socially meaningful demeanours (Candy 2007a, Candy 2007b). We wish to extend this embodied view of textiles in order to realise the potential of smart and technical fabrics and sensory environments as tools for wellbeing, mental health and personal expression. This paper describes the work of an interdisciplinary group of practitioners and researchers investigating the development and application of textile stretch sensors on the body (Breedon et al 2008), figures 1 and 2. Understanding that such tactile products and materials may offer beneficial contexts for in-the-moment and expressive therapeutic techniques (Jones 2010, Jones Wallis 2005), we describe the early stages of our collaborative development of an evaluation framework based on person-centred principles and outline the future work planned.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the First European Conference on Design 4 Health 2011
EditorsA Yoxall
Place of PublicationSheffield
PublisherSheffield Hallam University
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)978-1-84387-352-5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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