Textiles are incredibly important for the Bangladeshi economy.
Textiles and ready made garments (RMG) amount to over 80% of the export economy. To quantify this, over the 12 month period from July 2008-2009 the earnings for this sector were 15,4 billion US Dollars. 90% of these garments are exported to the US and European Countries. Information from Textile Today publication www.textiletodaybd.com.
This makes the Bangladeshi economy very vulnerable as their economic growth and stability is closely linked to the marker abroad and their competitors.
Part of this textile residency involves me doing workshops and research at The College of Textile Enginnering and Technology www.ctet.gov.bd. CTET is part of the Univeristy of Dhaka and is funded by the government. It is regarded as the best textile engineering college in Bangladesh and entry is very competitive. They have 10,000 applicants for only 225 places a year. It is a 4 year course and the students receive a BSc in Textile Engineering.
We visited the college on Thursday 17th and met the Head Principal and his team of professors, some of whom have studied in UK colleges (UMIST, Leeds, Bolton, Herriot Watt College). We were shown round the college by 3 of the lecturers and joined by a very enthusiastic 3rd year student who was eager to tell us about his experiences and it was clear he valued this education. The college was set up in 1950 and has a range of international textile machinery ranging from yarn manufacturing to weaving and knitting to testing equipment, dyeing etc and has since expanded its machinery to include some digital processing. The students also learn physics and chemistry and Gary was surprised to see a mechanics workshop with a variety of machines and a lathe similar to the one he uses in Cornwall!
The college understands the importance of design and through this residency and workshops hopes to get an insight on how we teach textile design in the UK. We discussed the workshops and I was shown my temporary office! I will be running the workshops on textile design one day every week and each group of students will have 2 lessons. I am very happy all the books have arrived safely and I can start using them straight away!