This year the fifth Costume Symposium will be held from Friday 6 – Sunday 8 September at Nottingham Trent University, with the usual format of a day of talks followed by two days of workshops. Speakers and tutors will be announced soon, and registration will open in June.


The fourth Costume Symposium was held at the University of Huddersfield’s Barbara Hepworth Building from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 September 2023. The talks day included an interview with director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, The Beach, Slumdog Millionaire), a keynote session from award-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan (A Room With A View, Mad Max: Fury Road, Gosford Park, Cruella, Mrs Harris Goes to Paris), a presentation by Lucy Sturley on designing costumes for stop motion animation puppets, a panel discussion on the future of specialist costume skills and what are the most urgent questions the industry needs to address, and a talk by Richard Knight, Career Support Manager for Screen Yorkshire, on their work in the region. Two days of hands-on workshops covering a range of costume related skills followed. You can see photos from the event below and read about the workshops here.
Costume Symposium 2023 was presented in association with the University of Huddersfield.
Here is the video from the fourth Costume Symposium held at the University of Huddersfield (1 – 3 September 2023) so you can see what we have been doing.


You can watch more videos from the Costume Symposium: at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (2022), Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (2019) and the City & Guilds of London Art School (2018), to see what we offer, as well as taster videos taster videos from some of our talented tutors: Michele Carragher (Embroidery Embellishment), Toni Bate (Women’s Period Tailoring) and Riina Õun (Handmade Gloves). Watch here.

About Costume Symposium

In 2017 award-winning costume designer Susannah Buxton was invited to speak at a costume symposium for young technicians and designers held at the Opera House in Oslo, Norway.  The experience inspired her to set up a similar event in the UK.  The first UK Costume Symposium was held in London in June 2018, followed by the second at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in 2019, the third at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2022 and the fourth at the University of Huddersfield in 2023..  There will be further events in other parts of the country.

Why we started

Practices which support costume design, such as millinery, corsetry, embroidery and tailoring, are often taken for granted and the results achieved are rarely acknowledged. Costume Symposium events aim to recognise and demonstrate these extraordinary and in some cases endangered skills, and help maintain the high quality of production in every area of the arts and entertainment industries.

Who Costume Symposium is for

Some of the technicians working in theatre, opera, film and television work at home in relative isolation and on low pay. They often have little chance to see how others work. Costume Symposium events will enable them to share their knowledge and enthusiasm, hear from experienced practitioners and try out new skills.

What we do

The first UK costume symposium for young technicians and designers took place in June 2018. It consisted on a day of talks, with a costume demonstration and panel discussion on training for costume makers, and two days of practical workshops in corsetry, embellishment and patination, handmade gloves, men's period tailoring and millinery. The subsequent events at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Bristol Old Vic Theare School and the University of Huddersfield have had a similar format.

Here’s a trailer for a video from the Crafts Council in which Susannah Buxton talks about her career as a costume designer and why it’s important to share knowledge and experience with designers and makers through events such as Costume Symposium.  To see the whole film visit the link at the end of the trailer and scroll down the Crafts Council page.

Photos from costume symposium 2023

Photos of Costume Symposium 2023 © Andreas Sterzing

Thanks to the University of Huddersfield and Liz Garland for their support for Costume Symposium 2023.

what participants have said about Costume Symposium

I found the talks really engaging and highly inspirational, especially Tom Pye’s talk, a combination of set design and costume design and how he creates these stunning worlds onstage and in film and television production.

All speakers were extremely well informed and enthusiastic.

Michele (Carragher) was fabulous.  Her attention to detail was outstanding, even in the way she laid out the equipment we would use.  I thought she had planned it really well and the beetle task was complicated enough to challenge us but simple steps to follow to make it feel attainable.

Again a brilliant chance to network.

It was a welcoming atmosphere where everyone felt comfortable to ask questions regarding their millinery pieces and other aspects of millinery and wardrobe and career development.  Sean was always very attentive and patient.

I learnt so many new techniques.

Organisers extremely friendly, welcoming and easy to chat to.  I attended to find out more about the industry and how to get into it and it answered all my needs.  I have since been in touch with ScreenSkills also.

I rarely get the opportunity to mix with other costume workers. Seeing what other people produce and think about is always inspiring.

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