Academic and professional qualifications
As Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, I am responsible for managing the dissemination and implementation of institutional Learning and Teaching strategies and priorities across the Department of Apparel. I consider myself a positive force within the Faculty and am an active member of several university committees, including the Faculty Executive Group (FEG), Student Experience Committee (SEC), the Academic Quality Standards Committee (AQSC) and is chair of the Faculty Academic Quality Standards Committee at the Hollings Faculty, Manchester Metropolitan University.
I have headed up numerous successful initiatives over the past few years, including my role in Project Managing the Hollings Faculty re-location to the All Saints Campus in 2013. Some of my most recent initiatives include:
- Developing and implementing a Faculty based Peer Support for Teaching scheme
- Implementation of the universities assessment, marking and feedback strategy
- Statistical analysis of unit performance (standardisation of marks)
- Implementing a standardized VLE design
- Mentoring and supporting academic colleagues to gain professional recognition in Academic Practice
My approach to teaching is to develop independent autonomous learners, based on my clear understanding of the principle of student-centered learning and have a particular interest in enhancing teaching practices through the use of new technology and e-learning where I have a unique depth of understanding covering availability, range, appropriateness of the right learning tools, deployment strategies, and problem solving.
I am currently involved with numerous initiatives within the department, spearheading the use of new and effective web-enabled technologies.
I have extensive professional industrial experience having successfully held a variety of senior management positions within the Global Apparel Industry before embarking on my academic career at Manchester Metropolitan University.
My first-hand experience and working knowledge of fusing technology and advanced joining technologies, particularly adhesive seam bonding and welding techniques, gained whilst working within the apparel industry; has continued to form part of her research practice and inspired her to successfully publish around this area of interest and to adopt this technology within the Department of Apparels taught curriculum and in particular within the Technology focused BA(Hons) International Fashion Practice programme that I successfully developed and led.
I am constantly updating my knowledge of my core practice: Fashion Product Development and Advanced Joining Technologies and am very much in tune with new developments within the global Fashion Industry, and in particular the British Fashion Industry which is the focus of my current research. I am very proactive in terms of engaging with industry focused conferences, trade fairs and exhibitions and am also well connected with external agencies within my discipline, and have developed and delivered many educational programmes to suppliers of the British Fashion Industry.
I have successfully developed, launched and led a Top Up Degree – BA (Hons) International Fashion Practice which which has attracted and successfully educated learners from across the globe; and as recognised from my HEA Senior Fellowship status and previous link tutor roles, I am an effective mentor both within and beyond MMU boundaries.
Other examples of my commitment to advancing education includes my engagement with a variety of government sponsored educational programmes such as The British Council Funded Inspire Project Kazakhstan.
As a highly successful undergraduate, I began my career working as a Technical Designer for a well known Menswear brand in the UK. Wishing to expand my technical abilities, I then returned to Higher education to undertake a Postgraduate Diploma in Garment Technology, which afforded me the opportunity to resume working within the apparel industry as a Garment Technologist for a luxury British knitwear manufacturer. At this early stage in my career my thirst for knowledge led me to simultaneously undertake part-time study at London College of Fashion, where she further developed her creative and advanced pattern cutting skills, which would later facilitate her later career move to Senior Fit Technologist for one of the largest suppliers to the British Clothing Industry.
My expert industrial experience and specialist technical skills further enhanced my career progression when I undertook the role of European Technical Manager for one of the UK’s largest suppliers to the UK Fashion Industry. In this role I coordinated the development and manufacture of Fashion apparel across thirteen factories in Northern Portugal. Product areas included ladies light sewing, ladies formal wear and casual wear, sports and leisurewear. During this stage in my career, I was involved in developing a variety of highly technical apparel products, including the development of pre and post cure non-iron apparel, using state of the art pressing, fusing and curing ovens. My experience of off-shore manufacture afforded me the opportunity to work as a Technical Manager in many other locations around the world, such as Morocco, Malaysia and Sri Lanka and later China.
Other special knowledge developed during this period included the physical development of a variety of products using wet processing techniques for casual menswear and ladies-wear apparel. This area of expertise supported my appointment as Senior Product Developer, where I developed apparel for brands such as Ralph Lauren, Ted Baker and Hussein Chaylan.
I have also been fortunate to work alongside British Designers such as Katherine Hamnett when she supported the development of one of the first organic collections for Marks and Spencer Autograph range. This role also afforded me the opportunity to develop novel and innovative trims with some of the world’s leading trimmings suppliers, and has successfully published around this area of experience.
Projects and initiatives
2011-1013 : Academic Project Manager : Hollings Faculty Re-location - In September 2011 I undertook the appointment of Academic Project Manager for the Hollings Faculty re-location from the out-of-date Hollings Building in South Manchester to a new learning environment within the main campus in the city centre.
My motivation for wishing to undertake this role was based on the fact that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to further extend her commitment to the enhancement of learning and teaching; by leading, supporting, mentoring and managing colleagues towards the development and completion of a new Faculty premises/physical learning and teaching environment that was fit for the 21 century (Partnership for 21st Century Skills 2002).
I knew that taking on this role would be extremely challenging, not just in terms of the projects tight critical path, but also in relation to the speed of which she had to acquire a firm appreciation of the entire Hollings Faculties disciplines and teaching practices; in order to bridge the link between architects, building contractors and MMU personnel having realised that architects can only inform the aesthetic and technical aspects and not the how the physical learning and teaching environment could be structured to support flexible learning and assist facilitators and learners in their work (Lippman, C. 2010).
In order to achieve the latter whilst working collaboratively and inclusively with staff from within the Faculty and across MMU I used a wide variety of traditional research tools and designed, co-ordinated and managed literally hundreds of focus groups, workshops, formal and informal interviews and meetings to not only to capture the current variety of teaching and learning practices but also, given the limitations of budget and space, to fundamentally challenge their future relevance and support colleagues to develop and transform them towards a fresh and innovative approach to teaching and learning practice that would inform the development of an inclusive and effective physical learning environment. The following examples briefly outline some of the outcome of this work :
- I developed, co-ordinated and managed a Faculty Teaching and Learning Strategy which enabelled student satisfaction to be maintained throughout the whole re-location phase.
- I facilitated the the design and development of an Apparel Innovation Zone and two Textile Laboratories.
- I successfully designed, co-ordinated and managed a comprehensive staff and student induction programme for September 2013 when the new Faculty opened on time, for the first time.
- I worked with a Norwegian company to design and develop a system of moveable walls made from glass that now enable creative studios to be enlarged or reduced in size offering innovative delivery opportunities for the wide variety of creative subjects and cohort size synonomous with the Hollings Faculty.
- I facilitated and co-ordinated a cluster approach to staff office accommodation offering easy to locate and inclusive access for all.
- I facilitated the design and development of a dedicated ‘Technical Drop In’ studio space where students can gain one to one learning support with Technical Service staff.
- I project-managed the sucesssful development of a reliable Wi-Fi system throughout the faculty thus enhancing Blended Learning opportunities as well as the widespread provison of dedicated student computers to compliment the student computer drop in facility all of which provide access to industry standard specialist software which is taught on many of the faculties courses.
Prizes and awards
- BA (Hons)
- PgDip Garment Technology
- MSc Clothing (Dist)
- Ctext ATI
Membership of professional associations
I avidly support my continual professional development and am well connected and fully in tune with the most recent developments in both the Fashion Industry and the Academic setting as demonstrated through my attainment and engagement with the following professional bodies and their associated qualifications:
- The Higher Education Academy: I am a registered Senior Fellow of the Higher Education (SFHEA).
- The Textile Institute: Anita is a Chartered Member of the Textile Institute, this is formal qualification awarded by the Textile institute which recognises and supports my extensive industrial experience (CText ATI)
- The Association of Learning Technologies: I am an Associate member (AALT)
- The Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry (ASBCI)
Mitchell, A., 2022. 'Advances in Sewn Product Technology', Taylor and Francis.
Mitchell, A., McLoughlin, J., 2015. 'Joining Fabrics'. In Textiles and Fashion, pp. 413-458, Elsevier.
Mitchell, A., McLoughlin, J., 2014. 'Textiles and Fashion'. In Sincliar, R. (eds.) Textiles and Fashion : Materials Design and Technology, Woodhead, England.
McLoughlin, J., Mitchell, A., 2014. 'Mechanisms of Sewing Machines'. In Joining Textiles Principles and Applications, Woodhead Pub Limited.
Tyler, D., Mitchell, A., Gill, S., 2012. 'Recent advances in garment manufacturing technology: joining techniques, 3D body scanning and garment design'. In The Global Textile and Clothing Industry, pp. 131-170, Elsevier.
Mitchell, AMJ., 2018. 'The No-sew revolution: The Next Chapter', Textile Institute World Conference, University of Leeds, 23/7/2018 - 26/7/2018.
Nerantzi, C., Mitchell, A., 2014. 'Getting ready to pilot FLEX(ible Academic CPD) across the Hollings Faculty', Manchester, UK.
Manchester Fashion Institute
Manchester Metropolitan University
Manchester M15 6BG