Joanne Conlon

Joanne Conlon

Dr, Dr

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Personal profile


In my current role as a Senior Lecturer in Fashion Business & Technology and Programme Director (postgraduate taught studies), I provide strategic leadership for teaching and learning, ensuring the delivery of exceptional teaching, learning and student experience in collaboration with my academic colleagues, professional services staff, industry contacts and professional bodies. I am a Member of the Textile Institute (TI) and I was made a Fellow and elected to the TI council in 2022; I am also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

After completing my first degree, BSc (Hons) Textile Technology (Dye Chemistry) at UMIST, I began my industrial career as an Industrial Engineer and the introduction of JIT (just-in-time) manufacturing and was then appointed as a Production Control Manager with responsibility for three UK sewing units before moving into product development as a Fabric Technologist and Technical and Sourcing Manager as production became sourced internationally. I have 18 years’ technical and management experience sourcing and developing the supply chain to deliver innovative, quality products. My industrial career was grounded in a sustainable systems approach to product development and global supply many years before this approach became best practice. I was responsible for identifying fabric trends and establishing credible sourcing routes for new fabrics and innovative products through UK and offshore suppliers. I travelled nationally and internationally within the supply chain of Marks and Spencer across mainland Europe, Turkey, Morocco, North America, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia liaising with the customer and supplier to develop new products, coordinating product trials, troubleshooting, and solving production problems.  I also supported the technical development of capsule collections for Marks and Spencer through design collaborations with Blanc Bleu, Joseph, David Beckham and Timney Fowler and worked in product development and technical liaison with Dunnes Stores, OshKosh B'gosh and Liberty.

I worked across diverse product categories and gained an extensive experience of an information systems approach to global supply chain management, specifically the early adoption of technology (CAD / CAM, PDM / PLM and ERP) in support of emergent global partnerships and joint ventures.  My current research is centred around digital and physical technologies for sustainable product development and manufacturing.

I began teaching Global Sourcing through a series of guest lectures, part-time workshops before joining the University of Huddersfield as a Senior Lecturer in 2009 where I gained a professional doctorate (Ed.D) in 2019, which focused on ‘A Learning Architecture: how PLM Drives Innovation in the Curriculum and Pedagogy of Fashion Business Education’. This research has been recognised by the sector as creating new fashion professionals with a key differentiator that can transform the industry. PLM is an enabler of the digital transformation of the sector and aligns with research interests in digitally enabled learning. My extensive global network with close and respected interaction with industry and knowledge of pedagogy has proven to be a unique asset to bring insight, innovation and leadership to the dynamic teaching and learning environment of fashion business. I have recently co-authoured a text book (publication June 2024): 'Digital Fashion Business: Technology and Innovation across the Fashion Industry', Routledge. I teach across several undergraduate and postgraduate units in the Department of Materials relating to Contemporary Issues in Fashion and Textiles, Raw Materials, and Business Ethics, Sustainability and CSR.

My research centres on sustainable supply chain management and global sourcing within the textiles and fashion industry with a focus on the enabling role of digital technologies on knowledge management, learning and change within organisations. I have received funding for two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) projects to implement emerging and enabling technologies. I was recently selected for the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre Researcher to Innovator programme which led directly to my current work with UK Textile businesses to establish collaborative regional eco-systems that provide shared resources and technical support from specialists and technical bodies to promote positive change through improved access to the expertise they need. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Education, A learning architecture: how PLM drives innovation in the curriculum and pedagogy of fashion business education , The University of Huddersfield

Award Date: 22 Aug 2019

Master of Education, The University of Huddersfield

Award Date: 29 Jun 2012

Bachelor of Science, UMIST

Award Date: 12 Jul 1991

External positions

External Examiner , Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)

31 May 201830 Aug 2022

Areas of expertise

  • LB2300 Higher Education
  • TS Manufactures
  • H Social Sciences (General)


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