The Textiles and Materiality Research Cluster is part of the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology at Concordia University. Textiles and Materiality brings together research creation expertise from textile arts and material culture to experiment with methods, processes and interdisciplinary modes of thinking that will shape the future of textiles, material objects and charged experiential spaces.

The cluster fosters research-creation expertise in textile arts and technologies, such as complex weaving, electronic fabrics, interactive garments, rapid prototyping technologies, emerging materials, soft surfaces, and smart fashion. The synergy, momentum, and strategic collaborations that emerge from this collective, support innovation in new material research practices, leveraging the rich potential of interdisciplinary work.

Research Spaces:

The cluster is located in the Engineering and Visual Arts Complex (EV) in downtown Montreal, at 1515 Ste-Catherine Street West. There are four designated research spaces currently under management of the Textiles and Materiality Cluster.



Barbara Layne is a Professor in Fibres and Material Practices at Concordia University and the Director of Studio subTela. She lectures and exhibits internationally, most recently at Columbia University (NYC), The Museo Textil de Oaxaca, Mexico, the Festival de la Imagen in Colombia, and the Kaunas Biennale of Textiles in Lithuania. Her work is supported by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts and Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Layne combines traditional materials and digital technologies. Natural materials are woven in alongside microcomputers, sensors and wireless systems to create flexible LED fabrics that are responsive to external stimuli. The resulting garments and wall hangings propose new possibilities for fabric and human interaction.


Kelly Thompson is an Associate Professor in Fibres and Material Practices and MFA Studio Arts programs at Concordia University. She exhibits her work internationally in exhibitions, festivals and biennials. Visually her work often represents water, and the borders between land, sea or river as transitory moments of time, place and memory. In another strand, concepts of digital traces, mapping, language, and translation are woven into cloth, engaging with technology, sensorial affects and materiality.  Material codes: ephemeral threads is a current research-creation project funded by Le Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture that explores data systems, overlooked, unseen or undecipherable coded language, materializing ideas of digital trust and failure as contemporary woven tapestries.


Joanna Berzowska is Associate Professor in Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University as well as the founder and research director of XS Labs, a design research studio with a focus on innovation in the fields of electronic textiles and reactive garments. Berzowska is also the Head of Electronic Textiles at OMsignal, a wearable and smart textile platform that enables leading fashion brands to design smart apparel. A core component of her research involves the development of enabling methods, materials, and technologies, focusing on innovation in composite functional fibers, soft electronics, and additive manufacturing. Joanna completed graduate studies at the MIT Media Lab. Her art and design work has been shown in the V&A in London, the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum in NYC, the Millennium Museum in Beijing, the Art Directors Club in NYC, the Australian Museum in Sydney, NTT ICC in Tokyo, SIGGRAPH, ISEA, SIGCHI, and Ars Electronica Center in Linz among others. She lectures internationally about the field of electronic textiles and related social, cultural, aesthetic, and political issues.

pk langshaw

Professor pk langshaw, Department of Design and Computation Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University is a committed faculty member who strives to facilitate fluid models of knowledge acquisition in design education. Langshaw has social and interventionist design expertise and is a collaborator on diverse large scale projects that are cross disciplinary, utilizing theory and practice to situate works as socio/cultural and environmental commentary. She has been funded by Hexagram, FQRSC, CASA, the McConnell Foundation, CIAM and SSHRC. In 2006, Langshaw formed the research group, d_verse, which reflects the poetic nature of and diverse strategies for collaboration, creation and communication. Her hybrid praxis is extracted from concrete poetry, and expanded by the quantic relations of sense of histories to the sensory of stories within public/collective and private/self realms. Interested all things verse- diverse, reverse, inversion, transversal, and reversible, the works are mediated by traditional and digital mediums in the form of garments, dynamic poems, video and photography and realized in the forms of bookworks, web sites, projections and performative events.


As an artist, scholar and educator, Kathleen Vaughan’s interdisciplinary practice integrates research-creation, methodological theorizing, and collaborative and community-based practices. Her research-creation has both an individual studio component and an orientation to collaborative, participatory projects, taking up questions of home, belonging and spirit of place. She is particularly compelled by the traces of histories that endure in places and the ways that human stories are built in place. She works in drawing, painting, photography, textiles and text, often in collaged conjunctions.
Kathleen holds a PhD in Education from York University (Toronto), where her multimodal PhD dissertation incorporating a visual art installation and illustrated text was the first of its kind at the university, and won four Canadian and international academic awards for innovation and excellence. Dr. Vaughan has also earned an MFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University (Montreal), a diploma in Fine Arts from the (then) Ontario College of Art (Toronto) and a BA in English and Art History from the University of Toronto.


Alison Reiko Loader studies old optical technologies, teaches digital production and dabbles in maker culture. Half media artist and half media historian, her past includes 3D game design in Tokyo and directing short CG animated films at the National Film Board of Canada, while her recent collaborations with biologists mix manipulated moving imagery, installation, and entomology. Her exhibitions and publications explore anamorphosis, camera obscuras, stereoscopy, scientific visual culture, and race, gender and animation, while her doctoral research comprises the history of Maria Short and her Popular Observatories and Camera Obscuras in nineteenth-century Edinburgh. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Alison is currently a PhD Candidate in Communication Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, and has taught part-time in its Computation Arts and Film Animation programs since 2001.


Sarah Nance is an American artist working in installation, fiber and sculpture. Natural light occupies a central role in her work, as a temporal element that is intimately related to constructions of perception, beauty and place.
Nance is currently LTA Assistant Professor in Fibres & Material Practices at Concordia University in Montréal. She has previously held academic positions at Virginia Commonwealth University, as Visiting Assistant Professor/Area Head (2015-16) and Fountainhead Fellow (2014-15), both in Fiber. Nance participated in consecutive artist residencies in Reykjavík and Skagaströnd, Iceland, following the completion of her MFA at the University of Oregon in 2013.

* See more of our research members here.

View a downloadable PDF of our 2016-2017 CLUSTER ANNUAL REPORT.


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