Ruth Clifford is currently a PhD candidate at Nottingham Trent University (NTU). She was awarded a 3-year Vice Chancellor’s scholarship in 2014 to pursue her research into design and business education for artisans in India, with a specific focus on handloom weaving. She studied Textiles at Manchester Metropolitan University, gaining a BA Hons in 2006 and an MA in 2012. Her MA work with ajrakh printers in Kachchh district, Gujarat, earned her the Textile Society Critical Writing Award in 2012 and was published in Text, vol. 40.
During her MA fieldwork she was introduced to Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya (KRV), a non-governmental organisation in Kachchh that offers design and business education to artisans – the project along with The Handloom School (THS) in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh became the focus of her PhD research. Through case studies of Somaiya Kala Vidya (which evolved out of KRV) and THS she analysed the different strategies employed to nurture innovation in the handloom sector and to make weaving a viable occupation economically, as well as in terms of individual aspiration. She submitted her thesis in September 2018.
Ruth Clifford teaches part-time at NTU on a core undergraduate module, Design Culture and Context. She also writes a blog on her experiences of visiting craft communities, as well as interviews and reviews.