Rose Sinclair MBE

Staff details

Rose Sinclair MBE


Lecturer in Design Education




r.sinclair (

My research looks at how technologies play a part in the aesthetics of the practice of crafting and making. I have a pas

Having worked as colourist and knitwear designer, in the textile industry, Rose retrained to teach design in secondary schools specialising in Design & Technology and CAD/CAM.

During MA in Textiles at Central St Martins, Rose focussed on the relationship between the technological aesthetics of crafting and making and the interrelationship of indigenous crafts of the Caribbean.

On joining Goldsmiths in 1999 as a research fellow she developed practice-based work on the relationship between CAD/CAM and textile technologies in classroom pedagogy, gaining national recognition for her work. She was approached by a publisher to develop her work which started her writing journey.

Her PhD research focuses on Black British women in the UK and understanding their textile crafting practices. Using the lens of textile networks such as Dorcas Clubs and Societies, Rose takes a creative practice-based approach to discussing history from the perspectives of migration, identity, and settlement.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD (Goldsmiths, University of London)
  • MA Textiles (Central St Martins)
  • PGCE (Huddersfield University)
  • BSc (Hons) Textiles (Huddersfield University)
  • BTEC Diploma Art and Design (Sutton Coldfield College)

Research interests

My research interests straddle both textiles and design education these. I bring these together in my research on the histories of Black Caribbean women and their textiles craft practices, both as amateur and professional makers, through groups such as the Dorcas Clubs.

I have written about Dorcas Clubs (2015), this work was also showcased in the BBC Four program ‘Craftivism: Making a Difference’ in 2021. I have chaired the steering group for the Centre for Cultural Value with the Crafts Council project examining craft for marginalised communities as part of the “Wow I did this!” Making Meaning through Craft, Disrupting the craft canon (2023). Working as a member of the AHRC Stitching together network I also contributed to the Good Practice Guidelines: Advice for facilitators of participatory textile making workshops and project (2020).

In 2022 I co-curated the first retrospective exhibition about the work of the Trinidadian born textile designer Althea McNish, (Althea McNish: Colour is Mine) who would go on to be the first designer from the Caribbean to gain international recognition for her design work. The work was first shown at the William Morris Gallery in April 2022 then went on to tour at The Whitworth in Manchester (Oct 2022-April 2023).

I am interested in using archives to understand textiles legacy and futures within marginalised communities. I have been exploring the Windrush landing cards and linking this back to searching out the crafts persons. The first iteration of this was showcased in Birmingham in a co-curated exhibition with Birmingham based Craftspace, the exhibition “Dorcas Stories: Narratives from the Front room, Textiles and then” (Sept–Oct 2023) which worked with community groups and designers to tell interconnected stories of cloth and textiles from the Caribbean and UK.

Grants and awards

2023: Speaking textiles – Hearing textiles – Seeing Textiles
Working with Brightsign and the Whitworth this project centres around the prospect of decolonising the archives in the field of textiles.

2023: Dorcas stories: Narratives from the Front Room Textiles now and then
Windrush 75 funding.

2022: Althea McNish Beyond Golden Harvest
Research to support the first major exhibition dedicated to the life and work of Althea McNish.

2020: Special award for civic engagement
Windrush: Arrival 1948 (History and Design)

2019: Special award for community engagement
A range of activities to engage the public with material legacy of the women of the Windrush generation, particularly their crafts and textiles.

Publications and research outputs


Sinclair, Rose and Figueiredo, Deirdre. 2023. Dorcas Stories from the Front Room: Caribbean textile narratives then and now. In: "Dorcas Stories from the Front Room: Caribbean textile narratives then and now", Mailbox, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 23 September - 29 October 2023.

Sinclair, Rose and Bain, Rowan. 2022. Althea McNish: Colour is Mine (The Whitworth). In: "Althea McNish: Colour is Mine", The Whitworth, Manchester, United Kingdom, 21 October 2022- 23 April 2023.

Sinclair, Rose and Bain, Rowan. 2022. Althea McNish: Colour is Mine. In: "Althea McNish: Colour is Mine", William Morris Gallery, London, United Kingdom, 2 April - 11 September 2022.

Exhibition Catalogue

Sinclair, Rose and Bain, Rowan. 2022. Althea McNish: Colour is Mine: Gallery Guide.

Conference or Workshop Item

Sinclair, Rose; Shercliffe, Emma and Dillon, Lorna. 2023. 'Participatory Needlework as Tangible and Intangible Heritage'. In: Association for Art History 2023 Annual Conference. University College London, United Kingdom 12 - 14 April 2023.

Sinclair, Rose and Brett, Richard. 2016. 'Materials Alchemy: When disciplines and materials collide: Preparing for merged disciplines in Design and Technology'. In: University of Portsmouth Faculty of Technology Learning and Teaching Day. University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom 23 June 2016.

Sinclair, Rose. 2016. 'Mapping Textiles: Dorcas Stories and Narratives in the Front Room'. In: Mapping Textiles: Dorcas Stories and Narratives in the Front Room. Bruce Castle Museum, London, United Kingdom 24 February 2016.


Sinclair, Rose. 2023. ‘Black because it has power in it …’ The Textile Designs of Althea McNish. Journal of the Decorative Arts Society 1850 to the Present, 47, pp. 90-107. ISSN 0260-9568

Sinclair, Rose. 2015. Dorcas legacies, Dorcas futures: Textile legacies and the formation of identities in ‘habitus’ spaces. Craft Research, 6(2), pp. 209-222. ISSN 2040-4689


Sinclair, Rose. 2013. A Fi Poppy Show - Rose Sinclair.

Book Section

Prajapat, Bhavna; Sinclair, Rose and Hardy, Alison. 2022. How do we do race in design and technology? In: Alison Hardy, ed. Debates in Design and Technology Education (2nd Edition). Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 45-63. ISBN 9780367763732

Sinclair, Rose. 2021. Tracing back to trace forwards: What does it mean/take to be a Black textile designer. In: Elaine Igoe, ed. Textile Design Theory in the Making. London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts. ISBN 9781350061569

Edited Book

Sinclair, Rose, ed. 2014. Textiles and Fashion: Materials, Design and Technology. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing. ISBN 9781845699314

Edited Journal

Frost, Pat; Bungey, Clare and Sinclair, Rose, eds. 2023. Text: For the Study of the History, Art and Design of Textiles, Text: For the Study of the History, Art and Design of Textiles, . 1336-476X

Sinclair, Rose; Boiter, Nancy; Kane, Faith; Britt, Helena and Weiss, Wendy, eds. 2010. Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice, Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice, . 2051-1787

Professional Activity

Sinclair, Rose. 2024. MBE for Services to the Arts.

Sinclair, Rose. 2021. External Examiner PGCE Design & Technology.

Sinclair, Rose. 2017. External Examiner 2017 Fashion (Subject Expert) PhD.


Sinclair, Rose. 26 - 29 October 2016 Pop-Up: The Caribbean Front Room.


Sinclair, Rose; Edwards-Leis, Christine and Keirl, Steve. 2013. Scholarly Review 5. Other. For The Design and Technology Association, Wellesbourne, London.

Professional projects

I co-curated the first retrospective of the work of Althea McNish, the first textile designer of Caribbean heritage to achieve international recognition. The exhibition formed part of a three-year research, exhibition, and archiving project, Althea McNish: Beyond Golden Harvests, supported by the Society of Antiquaries through the Janet Arnold Textile Award.

I continue to work in the crafts sector in various volunteer capacities and I am an Ambassador for Heritage Crafts UK, a Trustee of the Textile Society UK and a Trustee for The Crafts Council the national body for Crafts in the UK. A member of the All-Parliamentary Group for Crafts.

I also am co-editor for the Journal of Textiles research and practice, and I am on the advisory board of the Journal of Textile: Cloth and Culture.

Media engagements

2023: Making Yourself at Home Feature article discussing my research into Caribbean women and crafts.

2023: BBC 1Xtra: Dorcas stories from the front room
BBC Radio 1 Xtra interview on Dorcas clubs. The interview was in response to exhibition that was co-curated with Birmingham based arts group Craftspace from Sept 23rd-Oct 29th 2023.

2022: BBC Radio 4 – Woman’s Hour interview
Interview about Althea McNish: Colour is Mine at The William Morris Gallery that ran from 2nd April 2022 to 8th Sept 2022.

2022: Vogue Knitting Live: “Tracing Back to Trace Forwards – Knitting, Craft , Design and Me”
A online presentation /talk about my work and public engagement and craft.

2023: BBC Word Service: The History Hour - Artist Althea McNish And History Of The Met Gala.
Althea McNish and the process of her designing fabric for the Queens tour of the Caribbean in 1966.

2020: Crafts Council: How can the craft world address its lack of diversity?
A online article in an interview with the Crafts Council about addressing diversity in the crafts sector.

2023: Decorative Arts Society: ‘Black because it has power in it ...’ The Textile Designs of Althea McNish.
An overview of the early works of Althea McNish

2022: Ayam Story: Jeanette Sloan Talks Fibre
Interview with Jeanette Sloan on research into Dorcas Clubs examines how textile networks can be catalysts for social change.

Conferences and talks

2023: Althea McNish: Colour is Mine
Co-Curated exhibition of Althea McNish at William Morris Gallery and Whitworth Gallery.

2023: Dorcas Stories Narratives from the front room, textiles now and then
Co-curated exhibition with Birmingham based Arts group Craftspace- West Midlands. A project exploring the crafting legacy of Black women in Birmingham through the lens of the Windrush landing cards.

2018: Si Wi Yah: Sartorial Representations of the African Diaspora (keynote speaker)
How African Diaspora communities came to be visually represented or have developed the agency to represent themselves and establish their identities through clothing and adornment.

I continue to explore textiles practice through participatory immersive workshops in localised pop up shop installations and presentations in Museums and spaces as diverse as the V&A London, The Bruce Castle Museum and House for Art Lovers, the Broadway Theatre Catford and Timespan in Helmsdale,