On May 17, UAL hosted two back-to-back events. In the Pecha Kucha, MA students of Fashion Futures, Textile Design and Service Design following the HEREWEAR program presented their project ideas for the first time to a range of experts from the HEREWEAR consortium. Topics covered included textile re-use, art installations to encourage interaction with textile waste, biophilic textiles, reflective textile components, novel designs with bio-based filaments, the use of seaweed and cuttlefish bone waste to make composite materials, bio-based color for kombucha, services for connecting people with knowledge about repair and reuse, and new business models for fashion brands.
Following the student Pecha Kucha, UAL hosted an Education Round Table with students and educators from the HW community to think about what we can do to prepare ourselves and others for working in the bio-based circular and local textile ecosystem. Much of the discussion revolved around the need for more access to diverse forms of knowledge, such as systems, business, science and so on, to mitigate the danger of students becoming overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenges – every student does not have to solve ALL the problems by themselves. In breakout rooms, the groups came up with three possibilities:
  1. To improve material knowledge across all disciplines by having more opportunities for interdisciplinary material ‘play’ and ‘tinkering’ both in universities and bridging into the community and industry for life-long learning.
  2. Improve access to materials and knowledge of multiple disciplines, through a knowledge-sharing hub, and through strategic partnerships with specialist departments in other universities.
  3. To improve the opportunities and skills for interdisciplinary collaboration – this might take a more radical shift in the way we teach, which currently places emphasis on individual knowledge and independent student projects.