Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Textile Narratives & Conversions: Proceedings of the 10th Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, October 11–14, Toronto, Ontario


Copyright 2006 by the author.


This presentation is about two collaborative projects, Lees Carpets Funded Studio and Ameleon, of which I have had the honour to be a part. My involvement in these projects is a result of being on faculty in the Department of Art and Design at North Carolina State University.

I joined this University for several reasons. An important one among them was research. When I was hired, I understood this to mean the continuation of work on my artistic textile production. While I have in fact continued on this research line as well, in this paper I will discuss two collaborative projects I have also undertaken. I will also note the changes of terminology and definition that I have encountered and continue to encounter as research at the University redefines itself!

North Carolina State University is a Land Grant University. For those unfamiliar with this term, it denotes that this University began its involvement with education primarily as a technical school to train the people of North Carolina for jobs in agriculture, engineering, textiles, the food sciences, etc. Core funding, and hence accountability, are thus linked primarily to the State Legislature.

A land grant university, responsible to the State and its citizens, carries with it a social responsibility with a strong commitment to community. While this commitment might be thought to be satisfied through the educational component itself, in the time since I have joined the faculty, five years ago, a significant shift has occurred.

Last week in the University newsletter, there were four articles prominently displayed on the front page. One was about a new building opening on campus and the second was about a new basketball event, no surprise there! What was of note was that the other two articles were about entrepreneurship and economic development. One covered the success of the Entrepreneurship Education Initiative (EEI). The mandate for this initiative is, “promoting the entrepreneurial atmosphere…” and the belief that, “… If you build entrepreneurially minded students, the investors will come…” The other article covered the fact that NCSU was ranked as 20th out of 200 US universities on its record of technology transfer.What is technology transfer? Chancellor James Oblinger states that it is, “How the knowledge created by university researchers is transferred out for early stage commercialization”…he … “wants the University to know how to take the products of our research and get them into the hands of the people who can best put them to use”. He sees the University as an engine for economic development of the state, the nation and the world.