Hedvig Harmati DLA habil.
university professor, Doctoral School Board, Head of the Doctoral School, MA programme lead
Fashion and Textile Design MA
MA programme lead
Fashion and Textile Design MA
university professor
Doctoral School
Head of the Doctoral School
Doctoral School
Doctoral School Board



The role of design has radically changed over the past few decades, partly due to the global economic and political social transformations and partly due to the digital technological revolution that has redefined all systems. While the opportunities at the designers’ disposal have multiplied, their competences and, at the same time, their responsibilities are wider and more diversified than ever before. Design is no longer just a job, a task, a response to needs, but a much more complex activity, a way of thinking, a way of behaving that does not attempt to meet different needs only, but instead seeks, searches and lays focus more and more on the questions it raises itself, rather than on the formulation of primary answers. It increasingly thinks in terms of interconnections and systems, while an emotional, intuitive attitude is an essential and integral part of it. It does not override, but rather rapidly extends its role. It continues playing an increasingly important role in the humanisation of scientific and economic processes, while its integrative impact is growing in more and more areas. Moreover, it is increasingly driving these processes from a stimulating, often even initiating, position. This requires an inter- and multidisciplinary approach and the use of design research as a tool.

The fields of textile design have also undergone significant changes in recent times. On some of its fields, however, the spectacular expansion generated by the stimulating effects of global trade structures, for example, also raises a number of social and ecological questions. As a result, other fields are gaining in importance, which convey the progressive spirit of textile culture by appearing as active participants in solving civilisation problems researched in deeper contexts, in cooperation with other related fields and disciplines. The responsibility, taken in global sustainability by the textile industry and the textile design that drives its processes and trends, has increased enormously in recent decades, which suggests to us that the development of the right approach should be a key element of university textile design education.


Beyond the effects of globalisation, the turbulent events of the history of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and of the last century in particular have broken the continuity that would otherwise ideally and naturally exist organically between our past and our present. Along with the continuity of social development, the cultural threads binding us to the foundations of our identity have also broken. Its loss is felt as a gap at both community and individual level and affects us in many areas of our lives. It appears in our everyday lives as uncertainty, as everyday situations that are often difficult to experience in the absence of customs and traditions, and as a painful lack of natural integration of our celebrations. This absence is quite complex, sometimes more visible, sometimes less visible at the social, economic, and cultural levels, but it is particularly tangible in the material and other cultural attributes associated with traditional rural and civil lifestyles.

The analytical approach to this object culture with the tools of design research constitutes the basis of the international project called Future Traditions, launched in 2015 under my leadership at MOME Design Institute. The main aim of the two-year research and educational development programme was to integrate the traditions of object and craft culture into the creative methods of contemporary design, using the possibilities of the most cutting-edge technologies. The aim was not to ‘recycle’ the recalled past as a source of inspiration, but to go far beyond it and revitalise tradition in a reinterpreted creative activity through in-depth research and a real understanding of traditional techniques, materials and forms. All this suggests the idea that the design process has the potential to rebuild broken links with our past.

The project was carried out in collaboration with HSN (University of South-Eastern Norway) with the participation of students and research teachers. The research conducted in an international context has therefore also provided an opportunity to explore the identities and differences across national cultures, enriching the process of interpretation and reinterpretation.

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