Emily Carr DESIS Lab
Student Directed: SOCIAL INNOVATION HAPPENS FROM THE BOTTOM UP. THE EMILY CARR DESIS LAB EXEMPLIFIES “BOTTOM UP” WITH STUDENT DIRECTED, A SERIES OF RESEARCH WORKSHOPS THAT ARE DEVELOPED AND HOSTED BY STUDENTS.
Student Researcher: Melissa Rossi, BDes 2017
Faculty Partner: Hélène Day Fraser
Habitual? was the third in a series of workshops conducted as a part of MAKING (A)MENDS, a project that explores our perceptions of value as it pertains to materiality, cultural context, and notions of identity. The project invites people to re-engage and re-value worn goods, through traditional techniques of making and mending. MAKING (A)MENDS aims to offer spaces where participants can consider their relationships with clothing.
Unlike the previous workshops which focused on skills building, Habitual? was an open-ended inquiry into the unique relationships we have with clothing. It began with a performative activity that explored gestures associated with wear, and finished by inviting participants to re-new an old garment.
An opening dialogue asked participants to identify passive/habitual vs. intentional/empowered actions and relationships. We imagined how this might manifest in gestures associated with wear. These gestures were written on cards, and distributed among the group. Participants were asked to select an article of clothing and perform the gesture for 10 minutes, using any of the tools or materials available to them.
Performing the actions for longer that was seemed feasibly comfortable opened up an opportunity to consider these actions in relationship to our personal experiences with clothing – offering the opportunity to discuss the role clothing has on our social and psychological experiences. We began to identify internal dialogues we might otherwise be unaware of. Many participants had moments where their seemingly passive gesture was made intentional by some form of intervention. They chose to disrupt the gesture as an exercise of agency, which goes against the often prescriptive actions associated with wear.
Participants had a moment to discuss their experiences while working on repairing or re-newing an item of clothing they brought with them. Although all of our experiences are deeply personal and subjective, we can relate in the moment to the activity at hand. In this case we connected ideas and philosophies by sewing together.