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Professor Catherine Harper

Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Professor Catherine Harper is Deputy Vice-Chancellor at University of Chichester, and a champion of the University’s Engineering and Digital Technology Park project academic portfolio.  Her doctoral research developed three-dimensionally woven glass fibre preforms with high tensile strength and flexural rigidity performance for use in composite components for the automotive industry. Sponsored by Ford UK, her PhD was undertaken through the University of Ulster’s Engineering Composites Research Group.

Her chief responsibilities at Deputy Vice-Chancellor include the development, promotion and championship of the distinctiveness, quality and profile of the University, and overall academic leadership and active management of the University and its academic departments, staff and resources. She also has responsibility for quality and standards, academic provision, student experience, and the effective management of learning and teaching.

As Deputy Vice-Chancellor she deputises for the Vice-Chancellor, is the University’s Prevent Lead, the Senior Institutional Contact for both HEFCE and Senior QAA, as well as Authorising Officer for the University's Tier 2/4/5 licenses, and has been Institutional Lead for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Year 2 submission, submitted in January 2017.

Catherine’s career has been as a researcher, practitioner and academic in the Creative and Cultural Industries, and as a Professor of Textiles she continues to advocate for interdisciplinary work between creative and technology subjects. She has previously managed funded projects concerned with design innovation, sustainable architecture, autonomous systems and data visualization, and media industries, and has otherwise led on industry accreditations via Creative Skillset, The Independent Games Association (TIGA), NUKE (computer animation) and the Royal Association of British Architects (RIBA). Catherine is especially committed to the advancement of Women in STEM and STE[A]M (Science, Technology, Engineering [Arts] and Maths) subjects; she has experience of leading on the University of Portsmouth’s successful Athena Swan Bronze Award.

She completed the Leadership Foundation in Higher Education’s Top Management Programme (TMP) in 2015 and is currently a mentor on the LFHE’s Aurora Programme. Catherine is a champion of equality and diversity, with particular reference to gender and race, and is passionate about the development of students and staff colleagues towards greater understanding of conscious and unconscious bias.

Professor Harper is a Fellow of the RSA and has served as a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Peer Review College, and was a peer reviewer for both the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Excellence in Research Australia 2015 (Australia’s REF). She is currently an Advisor for the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission and a reviewer for Chevening Scholarships and Fellowships, and served on several Trustee Boards in the creative and cultural sector.

Catherine is committed to maintaining her research and is still an active researcher.

To find out more about Catherine’s research watch this video courtesy of University of Portsmouth Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, continue reading below or discover more by exploring her profile on

A Professor of Textiles, Catherine holds a PhD in Composite Textile Engineering (supported by Ford Motors), is Editor-in-Chief of the Routledge journal TEXTILE: Cloth & Culture, and author/edited the four volume Textiles: Critical and Primary Sources for Bloomsbury (2012). Catherine published the monograph Intersex (Berg, 2007), and has published several chapters, most recently on a clothing lexicon of intimacy and masculine mourning for Millar and Kettle’s Erotic Cloth volume (Bloomsbury, 2017), as well as scholarly articles including, for example, in Taylor & Francis’ Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture.

A visual artist before turning to writing, Catherine’s sculpture, performance and public arts practice has been exhibited in UK and Ireland, the US and Canada, Russia, France, Germany, Finland and Japan. Artist-in-Residence at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Canadian Banff Centre for the Arts, Finland’s Nordiskt Konstcentrum, and the National Museum of Prague, Catherine’s work is held in many private and public collections, including those of the Irish Government, the UK’s National Health Service Trust, and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.

A recipient of research and practice funding from, for example, the Technology Strategy Board, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Arts Councils of Northern Ireland and England, and the Sasakawa Foundation, Catherine was awarded the Textile Society Critical Writing Award in 2015. Her current research is funded by a Janet Arnold Award through the Society of Antiquaries, and an award from the Marc Fitch Fund, and is an investigation and articulation of the material culture of bloodied and stained textiles in Ireland and Northern Ireland.