Lecturer / Senior Lecturer
Course Leader - Footwear Design
Job advertised in The Times Higher September 19 2003.
Shoe design has been offered as a degree course at De Montfort University since 1966 and last year Louise Kirk, a graduate of the course, was appointed the new course leader.
After finishing her course, Ms Kirk took a postgraduate certificate in education in art and design.
She then went into the footwear trade, working for two companies in Essex for a couple of years before going freelance. That gave her the opportunity to create a wider range of women's shoes, including wedding designs and an array of heels.
The footwear design course, part of the faculty of art and design, has 55 students across the three years, and numbers will rise to 67 in the next academic year.
Ms Kirk accepts that teaching footwear design often induces mirth, and some people even question why it merits a degree course. Her response is that it covers a wide range of topics from the craft aspects through to marketing and market research.
"If you don't know your market, then no one is going to buy your shoes," she said.
Top British footwear designers such as Jimmy Choo are very popular in the US and the Far East, Ms Kirk said, and it is her aim to help De Montfort graduates break into the big league.
Nike and other manufacturers have already recruited some of the course's most talented students, and their work has been rewarded with wins at the recent graduate fashion week.
Next month, Jimmy Choo will be given an honorary degree at De Montfort.