New Textile Galleries


The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) has as its mission the inspiration of all its visitors, including future scientists and inventors, with the story of how ideas can change the world, from the industrial revolution to today and beyond. Their vision is to be a world-leading, inspirational museum about the potential of science and industry to change our lives. They are currently working on a 10-year master plan, which will develop four major new narrative galleries. The first gallery to be redeveloped will be the museum’s textiles gallery, which currently covers the key role that Manchester played in Britain’s cotton industry. The aim for the new gallery, working title ‘Cottonopolis’ is to go beyond the traditional textiles narrative and explore the interrelated themes of industrialisation, urbanisation and technological change. Focussing on the contributions and experiences of a diverse range of people, the new gallery will paint a vivid picture of life in industrial Manchester and explore the human consequences and ethical issues that confronted a new society.


In preparation for a Heritage Lottery Fund application for funding and to inform the development of new gallery content, the gathering of a set of strong and reliable baseline data covering visitor attitudes towards the current textiles gallery is needed. MOSI believe that the textile gallery is not fulfilling its potential, and want to put together a robust set of evidence in order to make solid recommendations about what changes need to be made and what form they should take. In particular, they are interested in the museum objects, stories and interpretation methods that appeal. Researchers will need to develop and put into practice a strategy to engage with visitors to MOSI’s textiles gallery in order to evaluate their perceptions of and attitudes towards the current gallery. Based on the evidence gathered, researchers will identify key areas relating to objects, stories and interpretation methods that appeal or do not appeal to visitors.


The project will be concluded with a set of recommendations for new gallery content, to inform both an HLF funding bid and future development of the gallery.


Alejandro Marambio-Tapia (U. Manchester, Humanities, Sociology) – Currently a doctoral researcher and graduate teaching assistant at the Sociology Department of The University of Manchester, Alejandro holds an MSc in Sociology and an MA in Social Communication. His research interests are in the area of Economic Sociology, Class, and Consumption. He also has experience as a science communication and outreach officer for the civil service in Chile, where he was born.

Michelle Stephens (MMU, MIRIAD, Textiles) – Michelle graduated from her B.A.(Hons) in Fine and Applied Arts (First Class) at the University of Ulster (2010). Upon completion, Michelle was accepted onto the ‘Making it’ programme with Craft NI (2011-13). Michelle is also a member of the internationally recognised “Sixty Two Group of Textile Artists”. Most recently, she finished her Masters in MA Textile Practice (Distinction) at MMU (2014). This body of research forms a practice-led PhD within MIRIAD at MMU (2015-18).

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