Virginia Heaven - Columbia College Chicago

Virginia Heaven

Associate Professor


Virginia Heaven is an Associate Professor of Fashion Design at Columbia College Chicago where she teaches design, fashion history and curatorial studies. Heaven's Undergraduate degree is in Fashion Design, and her Master’s Degree is in Andragogy (Adult Education). Heaven teaches in the Fashion Design major within an adult education paradigm in the knowledge and belief that students learn best when they co-author their own education. Education is her third career her first was as a costume designer for BBC television, the second and ongoing is as a curator, where she has worked for many years with historic and ethnographic dress collections. Heaven has consulted on exhibitions in many museums nationally, including the Smithsonian Institution, the American Museum of Natural History and the Chicago History Museum. Heaven's research interests include, fashion as an impetus for social change. Heaven's focus in the classroom comprises the demystifying the design process, research and development of ideas, and the contextualization and relevance of the history and theory of dress as it applies to cultural history and design. Heaven worked internationally for ten years as the director and curator of the Haifa Faisal Collection of Saudi Arabian Traditional Arts. Her praxis based on her experience, knowledge and achievements in her profession and fields of study are an example of how active practitioners are better placed to bring enhanced value to education. In July 2019 Heaven was appointed to the position of Curator of Costumes at the Chicago History Museum.

Instructional Areas

History and Theory of Fashion, Design Process, Foundations, First Year Seminar, Curatorial Studies

Creative Practice and Research Interests

Curatorial Projects including History of Fashion, and the cultural relevance of fashion and apparel as reflective of social movements.


B.A., Textiles and Fashion Middlesex University 1979
M.A., Educating Adults DePaul University 2008