Just announced: a call for contributions to a new edited book about design and nature! We welcome many types and formats of pieces and many different perspectives. More details below…
Why The context of this book is the threat to vital earth systems, as exemplified by climate change, ecological toxicity, and biodiversity loss. Human activities are driving the deterioration of natural systems. Technology, policy, new business models – even changed behaviours, are not enough to reverse the deterioration. Instead, new – or rediscovered old – relationships between humans and nature are required. Design, a powerful extension of humans, needs ecological insight. This book is being made, boldly and explicitly to create change.
What Organized as a dialogue between nature and design, this book explores design ideas, opportunities, visions and practices for relating and uncovering how design can engage with the natural world. Ideas and practices carving out the relational, context-rich territory of ‘design and nature’ are still at an embryonic stage. The book aims to sketch out–feel out a new discipline for design, a new way of designing, a new ethic and new ways of integrating design with nature. Ultimately, this book aims to offer new ways of seeing the sustainability imperative and thereby seeks to address a convergence of crises in ecological, socio-cultural, and economic systems while finding potential for design actions including those outside design’s traditional comfort zone. This includes challenging the complex relationships and narratives of our world, from economic growth imperatives to patriarchal worldviews.
How This edited work seeks to imaginatively build ways of knowing about design in relationship with others, including: scholars and practitioners outside of design, voices outside a dominant global North, the very young and old, and other-than-humans. It does this by presenting texts, visual essays and design responses from a wide variety of sources including natural science, visual arts, nature philosophy, poetry, design theory and practice. The contributions explore design engaging in the world, not standing apart from it and in so doing describe a deeply interconnected view of people and nature based on experience of participating in the world through life, responsibility and context. Each contributor is invited to be explicit about their own position, and to offer an agenda for work ahead.
For whom The primary audience for this book is design academics, and the secondary audience includes practicing designers and design managers, creative directors. Because of the general nature of some of the content, it will also be interesting to a lay audience that is curious about our human-made world and its relationship to nature. The book will be published in black and white. Full contributions will range from 1500-3500 words, depending on the type of contribution. We will invite all contributors to take part in activating the book, through its process of becoming, and when it has been published.
Kate Fletcher Professor of Sustainability, Design, Fashion, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, University of the Arts London.
Louise St Pierre Associate Professor of Design, Emily Carr University, Vancouver, Canada.
Mathilda Tham Professor of Design, Linnaeus University, Sweden.
Key dates and process
10 November, 2017 Deadline for submission of abstracts.
Please send us an abstract of 400-700 words, and include imagery as relevant. Please specify the type of contribution you are intending to make – i.e. case study, visual essay, poetry, as well as the perspectives you wish to take, and the geographical location from which you write. We ask contributors to explicitly position themselves in their narrative, and also to contribute to an agenda onwards for practice, education, research.
8 December, 2017 Authors are notified whether the contributions are selected for the book.
The selection of contributions is based on the quality of proposals, and arriving at a volume with diversity of themes and perspectives. For the period of writing the full submission, contributors will be invited to participate in small writing circles with other contributors. This is to support writers, create networks, and to foster cross-pollination between contributions.
20 March, 2018 Deadline for full submission of contributions.
Spring 2019 The book is published.
Please send abstract or questions to the editors. We look forward to hearing from you.
The day-long Craft of Use event at London College of Fashion marking the culmination of the latest phase of research on the Local Wisdom project, passed by in a whirlwind of performance theatre, presentations, interactive workshops, sound installation, discussion and poetry by the remarkable Sabrina Mahfouz written for and on the day. The writer and design thinker John Thackara commented about the event that, “It felt as if a huge, immobile mass (the inevitability of growth and destruction) was creaking and cracking as if ready to fall away…”. And for Avner Offer, Chichele Professor Emeritus of Economic History at University of Oxford, it was “deeply satisfying… to be immersed in so much joy. Beyond expectations: an oasis of creativity and concern.”
A summary of the day will be available soon. And the Craft of Use book will be published by Routledge in 2015.
It’s been six electric years since the Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys was first published and to mark this anniversary Earthscan from Routledge has released a fully updated Second Edition with new content. I continue to be humbled and grateful that the book has found such resonance with so many of you working and thinking and transforming sustainability ideas in the context of fashion and textiles and by the knowledge that the book is in use in commercial design studios and the key text in seminar rooms around the world. [Read More]
In early October I will take part in a two day seminar on fashion and sustainability organised by Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki, Finland. More information is available here. If you are in the region why not join me and a diverse group of international speakers to explore some of the interconnected issues around fashion, natural integrity and social relationships?
In sustainability there is no such thing as a mass answer, but instead a mass of appropriately scaled, creative, dynamic, emerging and engaging answers. A new video from the Puma Sustainable Design Collective held earlier this year collates a series of evening talks (including one by me!) which shows this diversity. Called ’50 Ways of Working Sustainably’ the video aims to generate a deeper understanding of the relationships between the products and systems we design – their social, ecological and economic impacts. Hosted by Dr Jonathan Chapman (Reader in Sustainable Design at the University of Brighton), with key speakers including Dr Kate Fletcher (Reader in Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion), Fiona Bennie (Dragon Rouge) and Nick Gant (University of Brighton). [Read More]
Local Wisdom, the ongoing fashion research project exploring the ‘craft of use’ has added more tales of stories and images of resourceful and satisfying use of garments spread across twenty two categories… with more to come over the next year. [Read More]
Back in 1997 I started to write regular features on sustainability themes in fashion and textiles in a magazine called Eco Design, the journal of the now disbanded (and much missed) Ecological Design Association. Eco Design was first printed in the early 1990s and reflected the radical, grounded and alternative scope of early ideas of design and sustainability. It was a maverick publication and it contributed in no small way to the community and ideas that shape the way we understand the interplay between sustainability and design practice today. [Read More]
Join us for the launch of my new book (co-authored with Lynda Grose) in Carnaby Book Exchange, London on 22 May at 18:30 where I will be in conversation with Patrick Laine, Director of Corporate Partnerships, WWF-UK.
By Kate Fletcher and Lynda Grose. Published March 2012 by Laurence King (London).
Sustainability is arguably the defining theme of the twenty-first century and the issues it presents to the fashion industry are broad ranging, including labour abuses, toxic chemicals use and conspicuous consumption. This book examines how sustainability has the potential to transform both the fashion system and the innovators who work within it. [Read More]