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Graduate Spotlight 2015: Teleica Kirkland


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Published date
05 February 2015

Next up in the Graduate Spotlight series is MA History and Culture of Fashion (now MA Fashion Cultures) student Teleica Kirkland.

Here Teleica discusses her final project, the work she does with her organisation The Costume Institute of the African Diaspora, and the importance of asking questions.  Teleica’s work will be showcased at the MA15 Exhibition which will be open to the public from 18th-22nd February.


Fabrics that represent Teleica’s work

LCF News: Tell us about your final piece of work?

Teleica Kirkland: My MA thesis was an investigation into the development of sustainable dress practice in the Bahamas. Being of Caribbean heritage I have always understood that the people with limited resources in the Caribbean are incredibly ingenuitive and creative with the little they have and so I wanted to write about this. I chose the Bahamas because they have such an incredibly rich history in the production and development of straw work; I wanted to highlight how this craft along with their reuse of waste materials relates within a fashion/ dress context.

LCF News: Where did you study prior to your MA at LCF?

TK: I studied for my PGCE at the Institute of Education specialising in fashion and textiles and before that I did an undergraduate degree at Staffordshire University in Fine Art.

LCF News: What are your future plans?

TK: I run an organisation called the Costume Institute of the African Diaspora, which researches dress and adornment history from all over Africa and the African Diaspora and uses the information to inform and educate through exhibitions and seminars. It is my plan to continue the work we do and expand our educational remit into the development of courses and exchange programmes.

LCF News: How do you think the course will help you to realise these plans?

TK: The course really helped me with understanding the theory behind sociological factors that determine how people engage with clothing. It has provided me with avenues of questioning and thought that I hadn’t previously considered. This will enable me to be more thorough in my research and ask more pertinent questions thereby accessing more tacit information.

LCF News: What advice would you give to anyone considering studying an MA at LCF?

TK: Ask questions, lots of questions! I think I was fortunate that I already had a remit for the study of my MA and so I went in with prior knowledge of what I wanted to do and why, however, I wish I had asked more questions. The tutors were great at breaking things down so they could be understood.

The other thing I would say is get involved in lectures seminars and conferences that relate to subjects you’re interested in. This serves the purpose of acting as extra learning for your course which again helps to increase your understanding and develop a position on which to be able to base your own ideas and thoughts, and that surely can’t be a bad thing!