Chelsea College of Art and the WI

Note from Penny on her experience of the BA Textiles Student Project:

BA Textiles Student Project

November 2020 to March 2021

This was a joint project between the WI’s National Public Affairs and Denman teams, and the University of the Arts London Chelsea College site.

Preliminary information came out in November, and I submitted an application which asked for my experience and interest in work with textiles. We weren’t asked to submit any previous work.

There was an initial briefing in early December, and then it kicked off in February.

Spread over 5 weeks, it was a very interesting experience, if sometimes baffling. There were 19 different virtual events over that time; varying from simple online chats with some of the more than 90 other WI participants, to tutorials with hands-on opportunities, lectures, and presentations from Chelsea’s internal staff and visiting lecturers. These were delivered over 3 different platforms, Zoom for WI meetings, Microsoft Teams for meetings with Chelsea staff & students, and Blackboard for lectures. These were not always successful, I spent half of one presentation trying to see anything other than a fellow WI member eating her lunch apparently unaware her camera was on.

From the students’ perspective the purpose was to introduce them to

“…professional communication of design strategies. Understanding your audience and how to communicate your ideas clearly is a fundamental skill in design.”

As I understood it, the WI was a quasi-client for design responses to the issues identified in our Resolutions. At the same time WI Members were encouraged to engage in a similar reactive process within their own personal practice.

The presentations I did watch were all very interesting and provoked ideas. We were allocated a small group to support a small group of students, but they did not all engage. The other WI members in my group had active textile skills and knowledge and “our” one student was very talented and enthusiastic. I am part of a Creative Embroidery evening class, and our tutor Isabel Dodd is from Chelsea and is this student’s tutor so we had another common experience.

Finally, all the work of members and students has been collated into an on line exhibition :-


As an organisation the WI is very concerned about the plight of women and girls in/from Afghanistan

Members who wish to support calls for the UK government to take action can do the following:

  • Sign this petition which calls for a range of actions to protect the freedom of Afghan women and girls
  • Write to their MP asking them to push the government for action to support women and girls. A draft letter you can send to your MP is attached to this email.

We are aware that many members will also want to take practical action to support refugees who have been resettled in the UK. We have therefore collated a list of organisations working in this field that are asking for support from the public. This list can be found at the following link:

Useful Anti Spam Contacts

NatWest Security centre – available for our customers and non-customers

Friends Against Scams website – headed by the National Trading Standards Scams Team

Report the scam to Action fraud:

0300 123 2040 or via their online reporting tool at You can also forward suspicious or nuisance text messages to 7726

The “Little Book of Big Scams (version 5)” is a fantastic booklet written by the Police Service in conjunction with other expert organisations and is available at

Get Safe On Line – the UK’s leading source of unbiased, factual and easy to understand information on online safety

National Cyber Security Centre is the UK’s independent authority on cyber security  

The 10 minute “Become A Friend Against Scams” video available on YouTube

More Helpful Documents To Download From Nat West Bank


As you may know we are making a mini-banner to be joined with others from Middlesex Federation to show who we are and for them to have for display at events. Penny has started to stitch this.

The idea is to use emoji style images to show our activities.  Anyone who wants is invited to contribute an image on a piece of fabric, which can then be appliqued on, following the design. It doesn’t have to be stitched, it could be drawn and painted, cut and stuck, or anything so long as it is stitchable, and quite tiny – the spaces are about 2cm square – and we are sticking to the official WI colour palate.

The cutlery, scissors, and spanner can be metallic thread stitched directly over the background, and Penny has stitched the footprints.  If anyone wants to join in please get in touch with Penny. 

Testament of Yootha

Actress/writer Caroline Burns Cooke – creator of And the Rope Still Tugging Her Feet (Argus Angel for Outstanding Theatre and Outstanding Individual Performer at Prague Fringe) and Proxy (Infallibles Award nominee for Outstanding Theatre and Ike Award winner for Best Solo Show) – returns with her third show to examine the life of glamorous sitcom legend Yootha Joyce, directed by Mark Farrelly (Quentin Crisp-Naked Hope and The Silence of Snow)

Adored by friends and fans alike, hiding acute alcoholism from those closest to her, lighting up the screen as Mildred Roper in Man about the House and George and Mildred, she died at the height of her fame at only 53.

Could have been worse. Could have been a wet Wednesday at Rhyl Rep.