'Rethinking Textiles' is a project funded by the European Commission. It rethinks the history of the Industrial Revolution from the perspective of design history and the history of technology.
This two-year collaboration between Dr Barbara Hahn of Texas Tech University and Prof Regina Lee Blaszczyk at the University of Leeds recontextualizes the history of the British Industrial Revolution. The British mechanization of textile production is a crucial case for understanding the relationship between technological change and economic growth, but with few exceptions, the topic has long been dominated by economic historians concerned to explain change at the macroeconomic level. Rethinking Textiles instead is an example of micro-history, enriching the story of the Industrial Revolution with greater specificity about particular people, technologies, and products. It places the Industrial Revolution in an exciting new context, drawing on the history of technology, the history of consumption, and the history of design to develop a new narrative history of British industrialization as a global phenomenon shaped by cultural, social, and material variables with remarkable parallels to the Digital Age.