The decentralisation of fashion education in Northeast England through collaborative practice between education, communities and industry


  • Gayle Cantrell Northumbria University
  • Berni Yates University of the Arts London
  • Lynne Hugill Teesside University
  • Sophie Wetherell Northumbria University
  • Jennifer Barrett Northumbria University
  • Stephen Murray Teesside University


Decentralisation, Community based participatory research, Design education, Fashion, Ethical fashion, Reuse and repair


This article focuses on a collaboration between educators at higher education institutions in the UK, reflecting on fashion education in Northeast England and how it is evolving to support and diversify aspirations for the arts outside London. The project is supported by research backed by the British Fashion Council, aiming to explore regional initiatives to enable young creatives to have stable careers in fashion and the arts across the UK. This paper demonstrates how examples of this have been implemented through the work of the community education group This is Creative Enterprise, UAL, Teesside and Northumbria universities, through building pathways from schools to universities and encouraging dialogue between schools, industry, higher education and community groups. Case studies demonstrate participatory research projects that encourage responsible engagement with fashion, supporting regional growth, community engagement and a decentralised vision.

Author Biographies

Gayle Cantrell, Northumbria University

Gayle Cantrell is Programme Leader and Assistant Professor on BA (Hons) Fashion Communication at Northumbria University. Her research covers the shifting fashion landscape, and how live and digital experiences can change the way we think about clothes. She has worked with industry partners, educational outreach programmes and local authorities on projects exploring the opportunities for creative collaboration across sectors.


Berni Yates, University of the Arts London

I help students understand the different avenues they can study and make sure that young people know about the variety of careers there are available across all of CSM’s courses.

We target schools with higher percentages of free school meals or lower income; another area we look at are students who are in the first generation within their family to go to university.

I work with schools from year 10 to 13 as well as with undergraduates. We run a series of programmes and interventions at community hubs, CSM and in schools.

I work a lot with what I call Community Anchors, who maintain relationships with the schools that we work with. I have one in Islington, one in Camden and one in Tower Hamlets. I also work a lot with Student Ambassadors. They are like gold dust - they often go into schools and show their work and talk to the departments and the students – especially for courses that aren’t particularly well known about.

Lynne Hugill, Teesside University

Lynne’s area of expertise is digital skills for fashion including the use of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. She is skilled in design, fashion graphics, branding, portfolio development, digital fashion illustration, web design and from her industrial experience professional skills.

Before joining Teesside University Lynne has worked in London designing for high street fashion retailers. Her vast experience covers working with manufacturers supplying the likes of M&S, developing marketing concepts and liaising with factories and customers in China, Hong Kong, Israel, Egypt and Jordon. She has a successful freelance design consultancy role with companies such as Marks & Spencer, Disney, and Mothercare, designing fashion, textiles and homeware alongside branding, web and graphic design.

Lynne has a BA (Hons) in Fashion/Textiles is a Higher Education fellow and has a PGCE in Learning & Teaching. After moving back to the North East from London in 2008 she been teaching fashion at HE institutions including Cleveland College of Art & Design and Northumbria University.


Summary of Research Interests

Lynne has expertise in the use of eLearning and has presented research on the use of video for student feedback and evaluation at HEA and UAL conferences. Current research is centred around future fashion with a focus on sustainable materials and the circular economy.

Enterprise Interest and Activities

Lynne is developing enterprise focused activities on the BA Fashion & Textiles programmes at Teesside University, including the development of a commercial sampling unit which provides skills to the local community.

Sophie Wetherell , Northumbria University

My Interests

Understanding the future role of a designer by exploring the space of a 'Redesigner'. My work centers around sustainable fashion and how we can redeploy traditional design tools to help create product life-extension stratagies at the back end of a products life.


Areas of Expertise

Sustainability, Repair, Remanufacture, Design Thinking, CAD.


My Industrial Experience

My industry experience has been based out in Denmark. I worked for Selected Homme for several years, followed by Norse Projects.

I am currently undertaking a PhD exploring the role of a 'Redesigner' through repair and remanufacture.

Jennifer Barrett, Northumbria University

Jen Barrett is Assistant Professor on Fashion Communication at Northumbria University and founder of This is Creative Enterprise (TICE), an organisation that designs projects and programmes whereby young people and schools can explore opportunities in commercial creative, design and digital industries.

Stephen Murray, Teesside University

Stephen started as a fine art student at Central Saint Martin’s College in London. After graduating, Stephen spent a couple of years freelancing for worldwide magazine publishing company, Condé Nast in London. He photographed advertising spreads for Harper’s, Tatler and Vogue.

He returned to Hartlepool to take a photography degree at Cleveland College of Art & Design. During this time he kept some of his freelancing clients including Manolo Blahnik. And, in parallel, he was always using computers. When the graphics editing program Photoshop sprang into being, he felt that his options exploded. After completing an MSc Graduate Enterprise in Multimedia, Stephen set up a business with three fellow students.

Stephen took a full-time lecturing role at Teesside University as it started to introduce more animation, visualisation and games courses. He teaches Conceptual Design and Creativity, Design and Usability for the Web, and Conceptual Design Futures.

Work by year 9 and year 12 students at Macmillan Academy.




How to Cite

Cantrell, G., Yates, B., Hugill, L., Wetherell , S., Barrett, J., & Murray, S. (2024). The decentralisation of fashion education in Northeast England through collaborative practice between education, communities and industry. DISCERN: International Journal of Design for Social Change, Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 5(1), 23–39. Retrieved from