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THERE AND BACK AGAIN starting from the end

Written by Cathryn Anneka and Laetitia Forst
Published date 27 March 2019

by Cathryn Anneka and Laetitia Forst (PhD students, Chelsea)

Reporting on the Centre for Circular Design’s three days of talks and workshops, 5th – 8th March 2019.

THERE AND BACK AGAIN starting from the end, engaged the research community at UAL and beyond around the theme of designing for a circular economy. Over 3 days, talks and workshops challenged the way we view waste, make materials and define products, services and systems.

Day 1 brought together MA students from across courses at UAL to present their ongoing projects looking at designing for a more circular economy.

“The opportunity to present my work to students and professionals refined my thinking for my MA. It helped me clarify key issues and gave me a much needed confidence boost”

- Kath Lovett, Day 1 MA Speaker

This was followed by a brief presentation by Cathryn Anneka and Laetitia Forst, PhD researchers with the Centre for Circular Design, on their own PhD research  projects looking at mechanical recycling and design for disassembly for textiles. As a keynote to this first session, designer and PhD researcher with Glasgow University’s Adam Smith Business School, Lynn Wilson presented insights from her experience with Zero Waste Scotland and her research on user behaviours for a circular economy wardrobe. This cross discipline perspective on the different actors in a circular economy across cultures and fields, from design to policy making, allowed a better understanding of the complexity and challenges of designing for a circular future.

The afternoon session offered a choice of two workshops by Cathryn Anneka, and Laetitia Forst, exploring ways in which textile products can be redesigned to allow for better recyclability.

Day 2 was held as a special session by the Circular Design Lab (CDL). CDL is a cross-UAL discussion group which aims to create a community of post-graduate students across disciplines and develop an understanding of circular economy concepts that are applicable to current design practices. This session opened the group to a broad audience of students, researchers and industry representatives, and presented interdisciplinary approaches ranging from philosophy with Dr Jamie Brassett's reading of Spinoza through speeds and slowness, to awareness raising in young fashion consumers with Ali Moore and Hannah Carter’s presentation of the ECAP project carried out by the London Waste and Recycling Board and the Love not Landfill campaign.

“It’s equally important to share and dissect what is NOT working and what IS working. Then we can move forward.”

- Gwen Cunningham day 2 speaker

Gwen Cunningham from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute and the Circle Economy programme, then presented insights from working with businesses in the complex systems of textile recycling. In keeping with the open discussion format of the Circular Design Lab, the conversations were carried through with networking drinks.

“The thought provoking case studies forced us to think critically about the whole life cycle of a product”

- anonymous feedback from a day 3 workshop participant

Day 3 started with a Circular Speeds Workshop session looking at how we can design for slow and fast speeds of fashion within a circular economy. The participants were invited to rethink how products and materials travel through time, challenging perceptions of consumption and use habits by imagining ambitious design solutions for the circular economy. The keynote lecture by Prof. Rebecca Earley and Dr. Kate Goldsworthy, co-directors of the Centre for Circular Design, presented results from two international research projects. The Trash-2-Cash and the Mistra Future Fashion projects both use design methods to drive innovation for circularity in textiles.  The conversations were represented in the lively social media sharing sharing and were carried through in the networking drinks around a popup display of the prototypes and results of the two research projects.

Read the full report: THERE AND BACK AGAIN starting from the end report (PDF 1.2MB)


Hosted by: Centre for Circular Design & Circular Design Lab

Organised by: Cathryn Anneka Hall & Laetitia Forst

Funded by: UAL Post-Grad Community, PhD Student Initiative & Chelsea Staff Research Fund

Thank you to all our speakers:

MA Speakers: Kath Lovett - Kejun Lui - Elissa Brunato

Guest Speakers: Lynn Wilson - Dr Jamie Brassett - Ali Moore - Hannah Carter – Gwen Cunningham

Keynote Speakers: Professor Becky Earley - Dr Kate Goldsworthy

Photgraphy: Eleonore Moreau - Unai Mateo Lopez

Additional thanks to all those that helped make this event possible.

Clare Lowther, Helen Paine, Ellie Pitkin, Nick Tatchell and the MA helpers.


There and Back Again - starting from the end received funding from the Post-Grad Community Project Fund

The Post-Grad Community Project Fund makes funds available to UAL postgraduate students (both taught and research) to organise events, projects and cultural interventions that bring together postgraduate students from different disciplines, courses and colleges. There are deadlines each term.