Evans, Claire, Allen, Claire and Shah, Karen (2014) Physical and Digital Environments:1) Engaging Fashion Design Students in Archival Research. International Journal of Costume and Fashion, 14 (1). pp. 63-73. ISSN 2288-7490

Abstract With the rapid development of digital technologies potential exists to expand upon the accessibility
of fashion archives and increase their use as a pedagogical tool for research. At present this is
compromised due the three-dimensional, tactile nature of the objects being viewed and the fact that they
are not necessarily replicable in a digital format. The aim of this paper is to examine art and design
students physical object research skills and discuss how they are positioned in relation to creative tools
and strategies they use to produce outcomes such as they own collections and design responses. Findings
and conclusions are drawn from projects concerned with the development and use of physical and virtual
archives and inform the methodology used. Traditional methods and tools within higher education are
discussed together with students increased use of digital resources and innovative ways to engage
students. The academic challenge of supporting student engagement in archival research across digital
and physical dimensions is explored. The papers findings indicate a need for further research considering
the impact of digital technology on students’ physical integration with archives and the need for more
structured support surrounding student physical and digital research investigations.
Key words fashion archives, fashion design practice, digital technology, student engagement, tactile research

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