Dress in Context

Research Centre

Louise Chapman

Research interests

Louise is currently studying towards an AHRC funded practice-based Ph.D. at London College of Fashion with Amy de la Haye as her Director of studies. Her Ph.D. entitled, Costuming as an Authorial Practice: Reading and Re-Authoring an Assemblage of Every day, Aesthetic Womenswear from the Birmingham School of Art 1795-1885 is concerned with the practice of re-authoring extant historical dress using costuming practices. 

In her professional practice as a costumer in theatre for more than 17 years, she has worked as a supervisor, cutter, and maker. This experience informs her research and practice. She now leads on the BA Hons Costume Design and Practice programme at Birmingham City University. 

Her research interests include, costume and costuming, historical dress, material culture, dress studies, archival studies and embodied practice. 

Publications & Conferences

(2020). Risking the Practice within a Practice-Based Ph.D. Confirmation, Risk and Resilience in Design Research 2020 Conference, London Doctoral Design Centre, The Studio at Westworks, White City, London. 2nd-3rd April 2020.

(2019). Renegotiating the Contract for Participation with Audiences of Dress and Fashion Exhibitions. Culture, Costume and Dress. Birmingham City University. 2nd– 5th June 2019.

(2019). Cabinets of Costume: Inspiring Tacit Knowledge and Curiosity through Object Based Study. The Museum for All People: Art, Accessibility and Social Inclusion. Madrid University, 2nd -5th April 2019.

(2018). Making the Unseen Seen: The Kate Elizabeth Bunce CollectionThe Proceedings of the 1st International Conference, Culture, Costume and Dress, Birmingham City University https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/id1346874249


(2017) Cabinets of Costume, Co-curator (exhibition), Parkside Gallery, Birmingham City University, 9th May – 5th June 2017

(2017) Making the Unseen Seen: The Kate Elizabeth Bunce Collection, Culture Costume and Dress Conference, Birmingham City University, 10th-12th May 2017 http://ccd2017.org/


(2020) A Chance Discovery: A Gathering of Dress from Kate Elizabeth BunceThe Pre-Raphaelite Society, The Birmingham and Midland Institute, 16th May 2020. 

(2017) An Accidental Archivist: The Kate Elizabeth Bunce Collection, Locksmith Cottage, Willenhall, 

(2016) Performing Aestheticism- Aesthetic Dress as Performance, AHRC funded project ‘Reading Art’ with Dr Serena Trowbridge, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 16th April 2016 https://readingart.wordpress.com/


The Costume Society

Dress and Textiles Specialists

Art & Design Archives Collections Management Group Birmingham City University

Dress in Context Research Centre


Shared co-ordinator on The Costume Society’s Patterns of Fashion Award and the new Costume Society’s Patterns for Performance Award.