Electro-Tex: Co-creative, e-textile workshops as an intervention to challenge gender perceptions around STEM and design subjects in schools and influence future career choices

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Stereotypical gender perceptions towards STEM and design subjects in the UK secondary education curriculum influence young peoples’ university choices and future career aspirations. Teacher type-casting and self-labelling from a young age often result in self-fulfilling prophecies, meaning students miss out on life-changing opportunities. This paper proposes introducing e-textiles into the curriculum as a cross-disciplinary medium to foster cooperative learning practices. It explores the potential of e-textiles to influence students’ choices for higher education and alter siloed approaches to teaching. Online questionnaires administered pre- and post-research ascertained how e-textiles influenced student perceptions of design and STEM subjects and how their experiences could impact future university study choices. The research employed methodologies of co-design and co-creation. A series of participatory design workshops encouraged male and female secondary school students from physics, technology, and art and design disciplines to engage in multidisciplinary practices through e-textiles. Ethnographic observations were captured via video and supplemented with student-generated, online blogs. Collaborative peer-learning fostered the creation of textile sensors. The textiles were collaged and programmed to showcase an interactive e-textile wall. Follow on design-thinking workshops and a hackathon enabled students across subject disciplines to apply their new knowledge to a range of real-world contexts. Reflective questionnaires illuminated staff experiences of team teaching and multidisciplinary approaches. The assimilated data highlighted the project achievements and the value of co-creation as a learning approach. The outcomes indicated that students perceptions of textile and STEM subjects, and their views on future subject choices at university and been positively influenced.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2022
EventFTC Association of Fashion Textile Courses Futurescan 5: Conscious Communities: Conscious Communities - Nexus, University of Leeds Discovery Way Leeds LS2 3AA, Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Sep 20228 Sep 2022
Conference number: 5


ConferenceFTC Association of Fashion Textile Courses Futurescan 5: Conscious Communities
Abbreviated titleFTC Conscious Communities
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
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