24th September 2015
The Resilient Research event explored future opportunities for design research.
The first talk explored ‘the Heartbeat of Cultural Change’ by Dr. Louise Valentine, Head of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship for the College of Arts, Science and Engineering, at the University of Dundee.
Louise talked about the cultural significance of both small to large research projects. In particular the Victoria and Albert Design Museum, which is currently being built in Dundee, Scotland. To allow this new cultural space to flourish, an innovation ecosystem is required and Louise referred to some of the new projects that are popping up in Dundee supported by the University, funding councils, enterprise agencies or government or in some cases led by citizens themselves.
The second talk explored ‘Mastering Mindfulness’ by Chris Connors founder of Modern Consciousness.com. Chris is a creative director, mentor, coach and meditation teacher, with complementary expertise bridging the worlds of design, luxury, wellbeing, trend forecasting and philanthropy. This talk began in an unconventional way with Chris initiating a meditation exercise with the audience allowing them to experience ‘mindfulness’.
This talk explored the term ‘Conscious Innovation’ an approach that encourages practitioners to apply mindfulness and curiosity to explore solutions of issues that go beyond bottom line profit. Chris also talked about curating these outcomes and the examples shared throughout this talk, when collectively combined resembled an inventive cabinet of curiosity for mindfulness.
The heart of innovation lies at the intersection between calmness and chaos and this can be tricky to navigate as our professional practices and personal lives are often intertwined. By making time for ourselves to pause, reflect and re-think both individually but also collectively, we can begin to find our way.
Last week saw the launch of a small research project we are involved in called Creative Transition that brings together staff and students across CCW (Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon) who are interested in notions of sustainability and resilience in art and design education.
The event was called ‘The Keys are Under the Mat’, and it was a day of presentations and discussions between staff and post-graduate students from across the three colleges. The first speaker Ian was from Transition Heathrow, an activist group based in the communities around the proposed runway expansion at Heathrow. Ian described the activity that the Transition group have been involved in and introduced us to the ideas and tools that have been developed by the Transition Towns network.
Andy Merritt from the Farm Shop then spoke about the urban food growing project set up in an empty shop in Dalston, by collective Something & Sons. They are exploring hydroponics, aquaponics and soil based growing and they are a great example of a collective approach to trying out new ways to sustainable urban living.
We have spent some time debating the terms sustainability and resilience amongst the group. The term resilience has been widely used lately, from designers to economists to politicians, and there are many definitions and insights about what it means. Rob Hopkins, the founder of the Transition Town movements has written an article here on resilience thinking and there is even a Resilience Centre based in Stockholm, Sweden, that has a wonderful explanation of resilience with some insightful videos here. (Coincidentally, this Centre is also funded by MISTRA who are funding our new Future Fashion research project).
The Creative Transition project will be continuing the conversation we have already begun across the colleges with some workshops and more events planned in the next 6 months.
Stage 2 BA students held their Fashion Show last week in Brixton Market. The project was called ‘Transition’ and was inspired by the Transiton Town concept of low carbon, resilient communiites and approaches. A whole host of different creative textile reponses to the theme of transition were paraded through the wonderful indoor market.
We will be trying to capture some of the projects and their themes being explored by some of the students.
More images are on Mel Bowles’ flikr
Images: Mel Bowles
Here at TED we have been very interested in the Transition Town movements that have been emerging all around the world, where local communities are working together to build a low energy future to live and work in and to encourage a more sustainable life. The second year textile students here at Chelsea are working on their next project which is titled Transition.
The first Transition Town was founded in Totnes in Devon and there are now several London boroughs that have also joined up. Brixton has now become a Transition Town and several TED members have been involved in initiatives there including Clara Vuletich, and the textile collective she is part of bricolage, who had a temporary space in Brxiton Market last year.
The historic indoor market in Brixton has been transformed over the last year and had a ‘community facelift’. Artists and small businesses were given empty shops for two months and there is now a thriving market of restaurants, cafes, theatre groups and independent boutiques.
The project will end with a fashion show of the textiles and garments produced and the show will take place in Brixton Market on Thursday March 31st. We will be following the progress of the project, which will also be documented on the Chelsea Textile Student blog.