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Paula Nerlich

Researcher on Living Sensory Textiles for Multi-Species Futures


Paula is an award-winning designer and explorer, driven by a deep fascination for sensory, multi-species design and futures thinking. She is active in the fields of Material Design, Futures Thinking and Skills Sharing. She deeply believes that the future lies in multi-disciplinary collaboration and in interdisciplinary exploration.

Paula is currently a PhD candidate at The Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment as part of the project The Living Textiles Interface group, led by Dr Jane Scott. Her PhD project "The Materiality of Well-Being: Designing living textile-bacterial hybrids" investigates how textile design and microbiology can be merged to create scent-emitting, living textiles that allow for human to non-human interaction through sensory stimuli. Her work utilizes textiles thinking and textiles fabrication processes to generate knitted textiles that drive the microbiology investigations through selection of fibres, yarns, and processing.

The search for sensory exchange is further explored in the collaborative project "Human-Bacteria Interfaces", where new relationships with microbes are explored through science-based prototypes. The speculative design approach employs mixed methods to create concepts of near, far and far far future vision of living materials for interfacing between species through senses and envisions applications of living textile-bacterial hybrids of diverse kinds.

Within this realm of living biotextiles, Paula explores physical and speculative manifestations of design research with living systems which has led her to co-found Bio-Futures for Transplanetary Habitats, to expand her inter- and cross-disciplinary research into the realms of outer space.

Projects from our Projects Showcase that Paula has collaborated on: