Canada Research Chair in Material Futures : Textiles Surface Structure Fibres

The Department of Design and Computation Arts in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University invites applications for a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Material Futures : Textiles Surface Structure Fibres. We are seeking a designer, artist, engineer or scientist with recognized research and/or research-creation strengths in cross-disciplinary collaborative investigations into experimental textiles, fibre structures, bio or bio-inspired cloth, soft surface or responsive wearables, that specifically explore the interface between the body and the environment.

Candidates eligible for Tier 2 chair positions must be exceptional emerging scholars within 10 years of their highest degree at the time of nomination. Applicants who are more than 10 years from having earned their highest degree (and where career breaks exist, such as maternity, parental or extended sick leave, clinical training, etc.) may have their eligibility for a Tier 2 chair assessed through the program’s Tier 2 justification process. Please consult the Canada Research Chairs website for full program information, including further details on eligibility criteria.

Textile innovation plays critical socio-cultural, technological, and aesthetic roles in a wide range of disciplines, including the fine arts, engineering and science. Furthermore, the investigations into materials drive an emergent and rich field of inquiry. Whether delving into experimental fibres and weaves, biomaterials or electronic textiles, speculative design reconsiders the way that second skins identify our bodies and our behaviours within cultural and environmental ecologies.

As innovation in textiles and experimental wearables has been a core research focus in the Faculty of Fine Arts, the CRC will both solidify and expand the university’s competitive edge in a field which is one of the most dynamic areas of growth locally, nationally, and internationally. The successful candidate will benefit from existing research-creation capacity across the Department of Design and Computation Arts, the Master of Design (MDes), the Studio Arts MFA program, the recently founded Institute for Urban Futures (IUF), and the Textiles + Materiality Research Cluster at the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology—both leading centres for research-creation working at the intersection of design, art, culture, and technology, while providing state-of-the-art resources and equipment for researchers. The IUF is a research platform for engaging with ideas on futurism, speculative design, rooted community engagement, and context-sensitive urban practices. The IUF platform brings together Concordia faculty and graduate students whose research and practice are bound to the field of urbanism with themes such as sustainability (arts, design, and culture being the driving force), right to the city, environmental humanism, resilience, migration, urban transformation, and more. The CRC will be expected to play a pivotal role in developing multi and transdisciplinary connections across Faculties at Concordia, while partnering with local, national and international cultural and commercial stakeholders, who are also investing in fibre and textile research and development.

The ideal candidate will demonstrate evidence of the potential to establish a strong externally funded research program focused on one or more of the following areas:

  • Biomaterials or bio-inspired generative or regrowth fibres, surfaces or structures exploring the future of making, material sourcing, low footprint production, life cycle assessment and rethinking current systems and approaches.
  • New Methods, machines and technical considerations in body wear utilizing seam or seamless technologies, no waste patterning, 3D printing, memory materials, and weaving or construction of shape shifting mesh and membranes.
  • Critical discourse concentrating on the socio-cultural relations between textiles, materials, body and environment through a research-creation or practice-based lens.
  • Robust and recapturable materials for electronic textiles, responsive and exploratory wearables for the performing arts, studio arts and design.
  • Interaction, interface and interplay addressing the agency and relationships of objects to body – binding, freeing, replicating to produce sensorial stimulation or perceptive shifts.
  • Experimental fibres in weaving structures, stitching, printing, shape shifting, constructing and embedding natural, synthetic and conductive fibres into responsive textiles and surfaces.
  • Material Science and speculative design with potential for applications in health and wellness including interlocking, programmable, curative materials or adaptive medical mesh and skins.

Applicants for this position must hold a PhD or terminal degree in a relevant discipline. The ability to attract and mentor excellent graduate students is also considered a requirement. The successful candidate will be appointed to the Department of Design and Computation Arts at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor and will be expected to teach courses in the unit’s curricula at the graduate level as well as supervise students and directed study courses in the MDes, MFA Fibres and Material Practices, Individualized and Humanities programs. Although classes are taught in English, a foundation in French would be considered a strong asset.

The MDes in the Department of Design and Computation Arts is unique, as it synthesizes connections between visual communication, the built environment, networked societies and new media/design theory providing the groundwork for speculative ‘design through research and research through design’. The program distinguishes itself by putting the emphasis on issues of socio-cultural environmental sustainability as fundamental for the future of design theory and practice. The department is expanding its research capacities with new positions to support faculty as well as a university-wide initiative towards Resilient Cities: Designing for Socio/cultural/environmentally Responsive Cities and People. In this context, the CRC in Material Futures : Textiles Surface Structure Fibres would enter a supportive environment with engaged faculty and a growing number of graduate and undergraduate students interested in tangible media, smart textiles, soft surface design and sustainability. Significant facilities and infrastructure exist with new laboratories and equipment being proposed.

The successful candidate will also be expected to build cutting edge research capacity in six specific ways:

  • Develop a speculative design think tank focusing on research and development as an incubator for textile innovation embedding socio-cultural, environmental and economic sustainability.
  • Develop a research strategy and applications to take advantage of upcoming FQRSC/SSHRC interests in intersectorality – linking research and/or research-creation across the arts, social science-humanities, engineering (FQRNT) and health (CIHR).
  • Develop infrastructure funding applications (i.e., CFI) that build on and update/expand Concordia’s successes in obtaining high level research infrastructure (for Hexagram/Milieux Textiles + Materiality Cluster).
  • Develop local/international partner networks that will build towards SSHRC-PG and joint research projects to take advantage of European framework funding (2020).
  • Develop joint research projects, internships to bring experts together and interface with textile industries and wearable health industries in Quebec and Canada. This includes university-based research centres such as the PERFORM Centre, Centres for Sensory Studies, Applied Synthetic Biology, Milieux and other external alliances and centres of research.
  • Develop strategies for recruiting top graduate students and further ongoing internationalization and interrelated efforts in textiles and wearables.

Taking advantage of our place within the rich fabric of a research university and our long history as one of the premiere sites in Canada for the study and creation of the arts and arts-based scholarship, the Faculty of Fine Arts is currently engaged in a transformative moment in which pedagogical, conceptual, theoretical, and material practices find resonance with a significant diversity of approaches. In the Faculty, live performance, community fieldwork, aesthetic activism, technical experimentation, historical scholarship, skills-based production, as well as traditional and digital fabrication are equally valued. In addition to curricular experimentation, the formation of significant research centres and external partnerships in Fine Arts have enriched opportunities for faculty and students.

The Faculty of Fine Arts will work with the candidate to prepare the formal application according to CRC program guidelines. The university will nominate the successful candidate to the CRC Secretariat at the earliest opportunity according to the guidelines of the program. A Canada Research Chair entails a reduced teaching load, research and salary stipends, as well as access to infrastructure grants for the duration of the five-year chair, renewable once, for a total of 10 years.

Located in the heart of vibrant, cosmopolitan Montreal and home to over 46,000 students and 7,200 staff, Concordia University is one of Canada’s most innovative urban universities. Over the past decade, Concordia has invested significantly to renew its faculty, improve and expand its infrastructure and create state-of-the-art facilities for teaching, learning and research. Concordia has 7,400 graduate students enrolled in more than 200 graduate programs and over 6,300 international students from more than 150 countries. Concordia’s research profile continues to grow as it fosters multidisciplinary approaches to finding solutions to a broad range of societal challenges. For more information, please visit

Applications should be submitted electronically to and consist of: a covering letter, curriculum vitae, copies of recent publications, a statement of research achievements including funding and research supervision, a statement of teaching philosophy and interests, evidence of teaching and supervision effectiveness, a portfolio of works (.pdf or website) and the names and contact information of three referees. Short-listed candidates will be required to provide an attestation of terminal degree and submit a detailed five-year research plan, appropriate to the goals and objectives of the CRC program. Digital applications (.pdf and web formats) should reach the department on or before November 1, 2017.

All inquiries regarding this position should be directed to:

pk langshaw, Professor and Chair, Department of Design and Computation Arts
Tel: 514-848-2424, ext. 4789