Joan Farrer

Joan Farrer


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Joan is a designer whose principle and co-investigator roles have included EU and UK applied research-funded projects where R+D innovations include wellbeing for the body and the environment. In 2000 her PhD was one of the first in Sustainable fashion textile global supply chain analysis, using cradle-to-cradle modelling of wool fiber production. Farrer has been College member, advisor, co-author and co-investigator for AHRC, EPSRC, Innovate UK and INTERREG funded projects. She reviews and writes for various trade and academic publications and holds 5 international journal advisory board posts.

Farrer is a designer who has worked with global brands, Government and NGO’s for decades, this has informed her trans-disciplinary research, which stems from deep practical commercial knowledge of the industrial retail sector, in Fashion, Textiles, Fibre, Materials, Product Design R+D and brand development. Her Sustainable, 'Smart' materials innovative research includes Art and Design collaborations with Physical and Biomedical science, Computing, Mathematics and Electrical Engineering. She and collaborators are developing new interdisciplinary funded proposals and publishing opportunities for pedagogic team research to inform the curriculum.

Research Interests

  • DERMA (Design of Enabling-Regenerative Materials for Ageing) CO-I – The project will be engaged with the development of new healthcare technologies to improve the quality of life of the ageing.
  • PONToon (Partnership Opportunities using New Technologies Fostering Social Inclusion) PI – The project’s focus is jobs, social inclusion (urban and rural communities) underpinned by tools and methods from the digital economy. 
  • Barrier Solutions Melanoma prevention toolkit PI – The research aims to create ‘smart’ textiles combining computer intelligence and digital communication to provide ‘early warning systems’ of over-exposure to the sun.
  • SHAKES (Structural Health Autonomic Kinetics for Earth Shifts) PI – Textiles, architecture, computing and nanotechnology collaborators have developed an intelligent textile to be embedded into structural systems to sense movement and warn of potential structural failure.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PG Diploma, SEEDA Supervising PhDs, University of the Arts London

Award Date: 1 Jun 2001

Ph.D., Fashion and Textile Sustainability , Royal College of Art

Award Date: 1 Jul 2000

BA (Hons), Practice in Woven and Printed Textiles for Fashion , Liverpool John Moores University

Award Date: 1 Jul 1978

External positions

Reader in Design and Materials Practice and Director of the Design Research Initiatives, University of Brighton

Apr 2010Dec 2014

Associate Professor of Fashion & Textiles and Director of Textiles & Design Lab, Auckland University of Technology

Dec 2007Jan 2010

Senior Research Tutor and School PhD Director of Studies, Royal College of Art

Jan 2005Sep 2007

Senior Research Fellow, University of the Arts London

Jan 2002Dec 2004

Design Directorships, Research Fellow and Brand Development Consultant, University of the Arts London


Academic Director, MA Fashion, University of the Arts London


Commercial Design Consultant, Global Industry Fashion Retailers, Textiles and Products

Sep 1994Jan 2002

Company Director Co-Owner, East Central Studios Ltd

Sep 1982Sep 1994


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