Professor Lesley Millar MBE

Director of the International Textile Research Centre, Professor of Textile Culture

  • Academic, Research Team
  • Research
Professor Lesley  Millar MBE

Professor Lesley Millar MBE, Director of the International Textile Research Centre and Professor of Textile Culture at the University for the Creative Arts, is an exhibition curator specialising in textiles. Lesley joined UCA in 1986 as a visiting tutor and then as a sessional tutor.

Professor Lesley  Millar MBE


In 1998 she was awarded a part-time Research Fellowship at UCA and in 2002 received a three year AHRB/Daiwa Research Fellowship, resulting in the establishment in 2004 of The Anglo Japanese Textile Research Centre at UCA with Lesley as Director.

In 2005 she was made Reader in Contemporary Craft and in 2007 Professor of Textile Culture. In 2015 she became Director of the International Textile Research Centre at UCA. She is also the subject specialist tutor for MA Textiles at UCA Farnham. From 1976 to 2002 Lesley ran her own successful studio as a rug and tapestry weaver, exhibiting extensively including the Barbican London and the American Museum of Craft, New York. Her work was in the collections of the Crafts Council and Arts Council England and her public commissions include work for Lloyds of London and Chase Manhattan Bank. 

Since 1995 Lesley has originated and curated many international exhibitions of textile art and has developed a particular interest in contemporary Japanese textile art, lecturing at many Japanese universities.

Further information:

Research statement

Lesley's research focuses on contemporary textile practice, particularly from the UK, Japan, and other countries where contemporary textiles play an important role in the artistic and cultural discourse. The central themes of her research are:

Contemporary textiles as spatial practice, particularly as interventions in the built environment; contemporary textiles that have emerged from a strong traditional practice; and contemporary textiles that reflect cultural particularity.

Her research has been disseminated through her curatorial practice, through publication and through national and international conference presentations. These include the exhibitions Lost in Lace (2011), Cloth & Memory (2013) and Kawaii: crafting the Japanese culture of cute (2015-16).

She is currently working as joint Editor with Professor Alice Kettle (MMU) on the book The Erotic Cloth (Bloomsbury 2017).

Research supervision

Subjects studied by Lesley's PhD students include the use of cloth in contemporary art practice to materialise the work of mourning; embroidery practices in the context of socially engaged art; the fold’ as a model of non-linear interconnectedness through textile thinking and practice; suffragette cloths in Britain 1905-1914; metaphorical and performance meanings in modern and contemporary cloth. Six of her PhD students have completed their research studies and been awarded their Doctorates. 

Currently supervising: 

  • Linda Brassington
  • Peta Jacobs
  • Georgina Pierce
  • Loucia Manopoulou
  • Mona Craven
  • Annette Mills
  • Jing Guo
  • LouLou Morris
  • Sangeeta Banerjee

Professional Membership, Affiliation and Consultancy

  • 2011 - Professor Millar was made an MBE for her contribution to Higher Education.
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts since 2008.
  • Served on the Advisory Board of The Journal of Craft Research
  • 2013 - Peer Reviewer for Castle Museum Nottingham Fine Art Textiles Collection.
  • 2014 - Chair of the Jury for the 5th Riga International Textile Triennial, Latvia.

Lesley has been on several national and international Juries including in ARTAPESTRY3, Copenhagen, Denmark and Future Makers Awards, Crafts Council of Ireland.


  • BA Hons Textile Crafts, University of Huddersfield (2005-09)
  • BA Hons Textile, Cardiff Metropolitan University (2009-13)
  • BA Hons Textile, University College Falmouth (2009-13)
  • Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts and PG Diploma in Tapestry and Textile Art, West Dean College (2014-17)
  • Lesley has examined PhD/MPhil research degrees at Royal College of Art, London; Bath Spa University; Central St. Martins UAL; University of Northumbria; Nottingham Trent University.
  • The Japan Foundation Award for significant contribution to Anglo-Japanese relations 2008
  • AHRB Research Fellowship 2001-04 
  • AHRC Museums and Galleries Research Grant 2006 
  • Creative Europe Lead Partner Transparent Boundaries 2012-14


  • Arts Council England 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015.
  • Japan Foundation 2000, 2003, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015
  • Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2011, 2013
  • Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation 1997, 2000, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015.
  • Funding organisations in Brazil, Japan, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia.