Joanna Zara

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Approach to teaching

Joanna’s teaching interest is grounded in her work developing the entrepreneurial skills of Arts students at undergraduate and post graduate level. Because of her specialist background she is often called upon to design learning materials with a particular focus on the financial modelling essential to business/practice planning and strategy.

Sound understanding of key concepts such as cash flow, profit and pricing helps students make informed decisions – and indeed empowers them to reject the status quo and develop new models and new ways of measuring value.

Joanna’s own creative practice helps her develop empathy and trust when tackling what is, for some at students at least, an area that they have struggled with in the past. Equally her financial background means she can provide support to students who wish to work at a more advanced level in this area.

This work is always a dialogue: through listening, learning and discussion she works with students on their own specialisms and aspirations. She helps them model their practice, business or career using robust concepts to underpin their plans and translate their innovative ideas into reality. Her knowledge and experience of financial planning and strategy underpin her ability to know what to leave out, as much as what to include.

This sometimes involves introducing concepts that might be described as “threshold concepts”. Meyer and Land (2003, p.1) describe these as “knowledge that requires see(ing) things in a new way and is often (Perkins, 1999) conceptually difficult, counterintuitive or alien”. Central to Joanna’s own approach is the use of images, graphics, analogies and student-led discussion to depict such concepts (as well as data and analytical processes) and in a variety of ways that are accessible to students with a wide range of abilities in this area.

Joanna has extensive experience as a module leader in Business and Professional Practice for Fashion, Textiles, Fashion Communications and 3D Design & Craft since 2006.

She has worked closely with the School’s Learning Technologies Advisers to pilot increased use of blended learning, online timetabling and online reading lists in School of Art.

2020 – present

Redesigned and delivered teaching and learning on Professional Practice modules for BA 3D Design & Craft to be 100% online, in response to impact of COVID-19

2015-16 Redesigned final year F&T BS module delivery to streamline teaching and assessment for increasing student numbers whilst still allowing students broad scope for creating a bespoke personalised project brief. Student on this module won the New Business Award at Graduate Fashion Week 2015 and 2016

2011 worked with a BA Fashion Design & Business Studies colleague to design and deliver British Council funded business planning workshops in Morocco. These promoted entrepreneurship through a collaboration between final year undergraduates at CMA (Fashion Design) and ESITH (Fashion and Textiles Production) in Casablanca.

2005-2007 designed, led and delivered optional 2nd year module (“Valuing Your Creativity”) for the then “School of Art & Design” at University of Brighton, focused on developing basic business skills. This involved working with students from a broad range of art and design disciplines including Music and Visual Arts, Architecture, Visual Culture, Fashion and Dress History, Printmaking, Interior Architecture and Fine Art Painting.

2005-6 implemented the transformation of Fashion & Textiles and Design & Craft Business Studies modules into combined blended learning modules with 100% online assessment.

External Activity

Current: Joanna is an active member of Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce. She has delivered workshop sessions on behalf of the Chamber and is a member of their “Creative Hub” working party, and the newly formed (2021) “Net Zero Champions” network. She encourages UoB students to engage with the Chamber and has liaised with the Chamber CEO to create opportunities for students to attend workshops and meetings on a free “taster” basis.

2006 – 2008: Board Member of ETA (Empowering the Artist) (non-profit)

ETA offered training and professional development to visual artists and craftspeople in the South East.

Education/Academic qualification

Unknown, Bachelor, BSc(Hons) Mathematics, King's College London

30 Sept 198030 Jun 1983

Award Date: 30 Jun 1983


  • HG Finance
  • Business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Strategy
  • NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
  • Fashion, Fashion Design, Fashion and Culture, Fashion and Identity, Pattern Cutting, Creative Pattern Cutting
  • Textile design
  • 3D Design
  • Craft


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