By Cathryn Anneka Hall and Laetitia Forst
Exploring Circles is an interest group in which we approach the theme of sustainability through the lens of design practice. Hosted by UAL's Centre for Circular Design PhD researchers Cathryn Anneka Hall and Laetitia Forst, its aim is to bring together a community of post-graduate students from across UAL with interests in sustainability, circular economies and in design as a tool for positive change.
After the big event in the spring term with the There And Back Again series of talks and events, the spring term Exploring Circles sessions were broken up into three distinct activities offering varied formats and perspectives around the theme of Materials and Creative Processes. Our main focus is, as always, on how we can explore new and more sustainable ways of being designers in an increasingly complex world with integrity and creativity.
The first session on the 25 April gave students across UAL the opportunity to explore the Sustainable Angle material collection in the intimate setting of their West London studio. The selection of materials showing the most up to date innovation in sustainable fibres, from organic cottons to bio-leathers created out of food waste. The collection is usually presented at the annual event Future Fabric Expo. This special showcase took place as part of the Open Studio programme during Fashion Revolution Week. Postgraduate students were able to apply for a funded ticket to visit the studio and meet with the Sustainable Angle team.
To make the most of the expertise offered by the Centre for Circular Design, the second Exploring Circles summer session was designed as one-to-one Circular Surgery. Ahead of their critical research papers or ‘in the process’ projects, 14 students were given slots, with Cathryn and Laetitia, to present their work and ask questions regarding the sustainability issues. This was an opportunity to create a rich exchange of ideas and shine a sustainable/circular light onto a range of projects.
Students from across all the colleges at UAL attended, in which a London walking experience to create a sense of place, or desirable and sustainably short-lived footwear made from paper, to name but two of the brilliant projects, were discussed.
In the last session for this academic year we were honored to welcome Prof. Emeritus Kay Politowicz. Kay is a designer and researcher and co-founder of Textiles Environment Design, now the Centre for Circular Design. In recent years she has been working with Swedish scientists on developing a biodegradable paper cloth as an alternative to fast fashion materials. She presented her life’s work in relation to the creative challenges that young designers face when approaching sustainability issues and shone light on the variety of exciting opportunities this offers.
These three sessions were a perfect way of closing the year, bringing the community that has been built around Exploring Circles together in a closer way than before. We are very excited for the events that will come next year and look forward to meeting the new cohort of sustainable designers as well as welcoming back those who will still be at UAL.
Come and meet us at our first autumn session at 2pm on the 21 October 2019 in the CCD office!
Centre for Circular Design, Chelsea College, E Block, Room E113
Exploring Circles is an interest group supported by UAL Post-Graduate Community and hosted by the Centre for Circular Design