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Illustrations and mood board of people praying

'Precious Future' by BA Fashion Jewellery and Professor Helen Storey supporting World Refugee Day

Written by J Tilley and Helen Storey
Published date 19 June 2020

"This way of experiential teaching touches on the core of what it is we are trying to achieve which is to encourage students to develop unique strength of vision that is adaptable and resilient in changing environments and situations. It has been encouraging and inspiring to see the generosity in the students’ responses on the work of the other." - Bernadette Deddens Course Leader BA (Hons) Fashion Jewellery

In light of World Refugee Day, we're highlighting a new initiative discovered by Professor Helen Storey, in bringing life from Zaatari Refugee Camp into the classrooms and homes of those at LCF in the 'Living Curriculum'. Professor Helen Storey tells us how the idea of integrating these experiences into the curriculum came about and how important it is for others to practice and live through true resilience, reciprocity and varied realities.

'Travelling between LCF and Zaatari Refugee camp on the Syrian/Jordan border these past 5 years has been a time of immense learning for me. Zaatari itself and everyone who lives there are teachers of the most extraordinary kind, showing us what resilience, innovation and sustainability truly are. Before the arrival of COVID-19, the people of Zaatari had already shown me what it means to be in lock down and away from home, for what is now their 9th year and how it is often kindness, generosity and having each-others backs that helps navigate the hardest of times. I have wanted for a long time now, to bring all I have learned back so far to LCF and intuitively have felt that opportunities to create experiential curricular, which can touch as much on life skills, as the gaining of knowledge has felt right.

The first of these projects took place with second year BA (Hons) Fashion Jewellery students and they were required to work within the same materials restraints as Zaatari, ie, to design only with what is around you now. For some, this was a hotel room in China, as quarantine was lived through, for others in their parent’s home, where the kitchen became the studio, the lab the place for experimentation and imagining.

Half way through the project, students were asked to stop – to give up their project – and to allow it to pass to another student, who would take it on, as if their own and develop it, whilst honouring the input of the student who first started the work. Towards the end of the project, the students received back, their now altered work, with the hand of the other upon it and without undoing the work of their collaborator, took the project over the finish line.'

Here we are sharing 3 examples of how this project was lived, by the remarkable students who took part.

Faith-Melody Ramautar and Polina Voynova

P: I tried to realise what is like when all you have left from your home are literally pieces of memories. That is the situation people in the camp found themselves in. The most surprising thing is their resilience that they keep despite anything. That was a starting point for my concept of balance. The developing and swapping part of the project was exciting, especially to see what the other person will create for you. This was the first time Faith and I had worked together in a collaborative way.

The project of my colleague, Faith, inspired me to create something more society related and I looked deeply at the issue of Zaatari. So I came to the thought what home is.

F: I think it's really important having positive and different representations of minorities in media etc. And moving forward by pushing past systematic racism and the stereotypes.

Oliver Banks and Lang Jin

L: I was stuck with designing pills and earring before the swap. Ollie’s work made me consider the positioning on the body and the use of ice to evoke the idea of climate change. I didn’t use real ice in my final designs, but my material choices and textures were inspired by Ollie’s ice ring and air bangle.

O: Through the swap and following, our project looked at an interaction between two or more different wearers. A piece of jewellery that required another piece of jewellery or another person in order for it to become interactive. This moment lead to experimentation of splitting games, having pieces of jewellery that could be worn by multiple people and pieces of jewellery that needed other parts to be complete. A sense of community, sharing and collaboration were key ideas that were tried to hold throughout design processes.

Mingjie Yang and Kiki Li

K: I wanted to discuss sustainability from the perspective that the world is a community, sharing is caring. In communities like Zaatari sharing resources like water, news, food and so on is a way to help each other.

M: I had an in-depth discussion with my partner Kiki on the topic and design direction of prayer. At that time, I was not sure about the direction of development. Kiki suggested why I did not try to associate prayer with objects, such as Say candles, or other objects. Various developments. So I conducted a lot of physical experiments, and finally found that the buttons can be connected during the experiment. As the wax candle buttons melt through the wick thread that holds them to a garment, tiny wire messages within are revealed.

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UNHCR Designer in Residence: The vision for 2020 in Zaatari refugee camp with Professor Helen Storey

UNHCR Designer in Residence: The vision for 2020 in Zaatari refugee camp with Professor Helen Storey

In light of World Social Justice Day, Professor Helen Storey in collaboration with UNHCR Jordan, is returning to Zaatari Refugee Camp as UNHCR Designer in Residence. Continuing to work side by side with those that live there, co-creating projects and solutions to better lives, together. Many people come to Zaatari to make films, although no one ever asks the people that live there, what films they would like to make and what stories they would like to share. For this reason, 2020 is focused on hearing the stories and voices of those in Zaatari, understanding what it is they want you to know about what it means to be them. This year, these stories will be introduced into the classrooms at LCF across 6 courses, working towards closing the inequalities gap between nations.