Hilde Stiegler Rubecksen

Reactive and Proactive Materials in the Anthropocene

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim Academy of Fine Art

The Ph.D. aims to explore and develop materials, textiles and fibres that can heal, repair, rejuvenate, upgrade, recreate, or transform themselves. The project aims to research, examine, question, and develop such materials, to envision and explore our contact and interaction with such materials, and look at ways of implementing them into wearable and non-wearable products.


Simultaneously, aspects and implications regarding the perceived value of items worn and utilised over time, and traditional repair methods, will be looked at and taken into consideration. Although repair has been an underexplored activity during the last decades, traditional methods of reuse, repair and mending of textiles, clothes and accessories have historically been common. More recently recycling, upcycling, and circular systems are becoming relevant, and the way we acquire, consume, utilise, care for and discard of our belongings is gaining more attention through research projects and in society in general.


The motivation behind the PhD is closely linked to sustainability and the extended lifespan of textiles, materials, and products, and a desire to investigate the potential – and the possible implications – of incorporating materials and textiles that can repair or transform themselves in everyday life products with an emphasis on sustainability, functionality, and aesthetics. The aim is to explore and develop fibres, textiles, materials, and products that are sustainable, functional, and desirable, and that can invoke feelings of care, consideration, and empathy in its wearer - as well as perhaps elements of surprise, change, fluidity, and transformation.


Preliminary research question could be: how (else) can we develop and use materials that can reduce production, consumption, and waste? How can we create materials and products that offer long lasting and transformational qualities all at ones? How can we feel comfortable “living with” self-repairing materials that might have a “life of their own”?

Hilde Stiegler Rubecksen is a PhD candidate in Artistic Research at Trondheim Academy of Fine Art (Faculty of Architecture and Design), and TrollLabs in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (Faculty of Engineering) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The PhD is artistic and cross disciplinary, and the field of study is within textiles. It is funded through the Norwegian Artistic Research Program (PKU/ NARP) and the Directorate for Higher Education and Competence. Born in Bergen, Norway, Hilde trained and worked as a fashion designer, design consultant, trend analyst and visiting design tutor mainly in England – but also in Paris and Japan – between 1995-2009. She holds an MA in Fashion Womenswear from the Royal College of Art and a BA (hons) in Fashion Design from the University of Central Lancashire. Until recently she was based in Bergen, where she worked as a designer and as a design and textiles tutor for several years. She completed her Practical teacher training for artists, musicians, and designers (PPU) at the University of Bergen in 2020. She is now based at Trondheim Academy of Fine Art embarking on her Ph.D. titled “Reactive and Proactive materials in the Anthropocene”.



Artistic Research Spring Forum 2024

1st presentation

The presentation will address the currently status of the project. It will describe some working methods and outline imminent plans of action. It will also cover some key concepts, describe potential and current challenges, and discuss possible research questions.