Tuesday 17th January 2023 (chair/facilitator: Prof Richie Moalosi)

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08.00-08.10 UK time Opening
08.10-08.40 UK time (19.10-19.40 Australia time) 01. Presentation by Dr Ricarda Bigolin (20 mins) + Q&A and discussion on potential future collaboration (10 mins)
08.40-09.10 UK time 02. Presentation by Dr Patrick Isherwood (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (10 mins)
09.10-09.40 UK time 03. Presentation by Jonny Prest (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (10 mins)
09.40-10.10 UK time 04. Presentation by Elizabeth Burton (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (10 mins)
10.10-10.40 UK time 05. Presentation by Dr Hye-Won Lim (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (10 mins)
10.40-11.10 UK time 06. Presentation by Dr Pammi Sinha (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (10 mins)
11.10-11.20 UK time  Closing

Thursday 19th January 2023 (chair/facilitator: Dr Kyungeun Sung)

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08.00-08.10 UK time Opening
08.10-08.40 UK time (19.10-19.40 Australia time) 07. Presentation by Dr Daphne Mohajer va Pesaran (20 mins) + Q&A and discussion on potential future collaboration (10 mins)
08.40-09.10 UK time 08. Presentation by Kayleigh Parkes (20 mins) 
09.10-09.40 UK time 09. Presentation by Dr Mary O’Neill (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (10 mins)
09.40-10.10 UK time (10.40-11.10 CET) 10. Presentation by Dr Jagdeep Singh (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (10 mins)
10.10-10.40 UK time (11.10-11.40 CET) 11. Presentation by María Voth Velasco (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (10 mins)
10.40-11.10 UK time  12. Presentation by Dr Patrick Elf (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (10 mins)
11.10-11.40 UK time  13. Presentation by Sally Gaukrodger-Cowan (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (10 mins)
11.40-12.10 UK time  14. Presentation by Dr Eunsuk Hur (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (10 mins)
12.10-12.20 UK time Closing

01. Upcycling as precarity and invention in historical Australian clothing and material practices

Dr Ricarda Bigolin, RMIT University, Australia 

This research explores origins of upcycling in clothing and material practices in historical Australia, bringing forward relationships between colonisation inherent as foundations of globalisation. Fashion emerged as a complex industrial system based on steadily growing unsustainable and untenable production systems as part of colonisation. Australia was settled as British colony in the later part oft the  18th century, intended as a military prison and during which the countries’ original inhabitants were systematically disposed from the land. Clothing practices were imported in as part of the colonisation of Australia,  remoteness to Europe meant various practices emerged to prolong and reinvent life use of clothes. Global events such as colonisation, world wars and depressions establish the origins of upcycling as practices of precarity and invention. This research asserts upcycling  offers potent ways for us to understand enforced modes of previous use, provenance and socio political conditions that make it a necessity. Click here to watch the presentation video.

02. Upcycling solar panels: waste modules as a silicon source

Dr Patrick Isherwood, Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology, Loughborough University, UK

The current state-of-the-art for end of life solar modules involves basic recycling through removal of aluminium frames and external electrical fittings such as junction boxes, followed by crushing of the remaining composite and using it as glass cullet. Since this is contaminated with polymeric materials, metals and silicon it is typically considered a lower-value product, and is usually used for applications such as building filler material. This results in the loss of otherwise valuable substances such as silver, copper and silicon, as well as glass from the front panel. In a typical solar module, the silicon cells are by far the most valuable part. Methods for deconstruction and successful separation of the various components have been developed, but many of these methods are uneconomic and often fail to successfully separate out and improve the quality, and hence value, of the silicon in particular. Economic means for extraction and reprocessing of silicon could lead to a truly cradle-to-cradle recycling and manufacturing process for solar cells, minimising the longer-term need for production of silicon from natural raw materials and reducing or eliminating the associated carbon emissions. Click here to watch the presentation video.

03. Generating exciting ideas to create more impactful research communications 

Jonny Prest, Seed Creativity, UK

This slightly different presentation explains generic challenges in research communications and suggests how to create impact through effective research communications with case studies focusing on climate research. Click here to watch the presentation video.

04. Using traditional textile techniques to upcycle, promote slow fashion and focus on individual well-being

Elizabeth Burton, Birmingham City University, UK 

Intercultural sharing is constant and often unconscious throughout our daily lives, and hand crafts are the physical embodiment of culture and cultural sharing. Previous research suggests consumers are becoming aware of the impact fast fashion has upon the environment and mental health therefore the slow fashion movement has grown. This research explores the link between upcycling preloved garments using the traditional Japanese stitch resist dye technique “Shibori” to promote well-being. The main three themes researched will be (1) shibori (2) social learning (3) well-being. Primary research is applied in the form of observation and a focus group – these will bring a personal and collective perspective to the impact the stitch resist technique has upon the participants whilst undertaking the creative process. Secondary sources include online lectures held by a Shibori tutor as well as subject relevant books and journals. This effective textile technique is created using two approaches to revitalise whilst building a learning community where slow fashion is at the heart of the creativity. Click here to watch the presentation video.

05. Cultural craftivism: ‘Jogakbo’ participatory project 

Dr Hye-Won Lim, University of Leeds, UK

This presentation introduces the Korean traditional textile craft technique, ‘Jogakbo’, which is based on upcycling, and proposes to organise student workshops to create a collaborative art piece utilising the technique. Click here to watch the presentation video.  

06. Upcycling research to date

Dr Pammi Sinha, University of Leeds, UK

Dr Sinha provides the summary and highlights of a variety of projects that she has worked on regarding upcycling and sustainable fashion and textiles. Click here to watch the presentation video.   

07. Pulp and rag paper upcycling

Dr Daphne Mohajer va Pesaran, RMIT University, Australia 

This presentation examines rag paper making as a a method for upcycling. Click here to watch the presentation video.

08. Upcycling implement for dialogue

Kayleigh Parkes, Coventry College, UK 

The presentation showcases fashion upcycling workshops and research project with students at Coventry College. Click here to watch the presentation video.

09. Upcycling (Mobile) Station Handbook

Dr Mary O’Neill, De Montfort University, UK 

For those of us who live in affluent economies over consumption is a way of life. We are encouraged to spend, spend, spend, on increasingly short life products with inbuilt obsolescence. You could argue that this has the benefit of sustaining our economies and creating jobs, however this economy comes at great costs, and these costs are most often felt by people who do not experience the benefits. The Upcycling (Mobile) Station Handbook is a global collaborative initiative with Kevin Kimwelle designed  to harness the skills of the creative community to find alternatives to damaging waste disposal and pool skills and resources that will be shared with community groups most impacted by unregulated and dangerous waste disposal. The project aims to disseminate ideas and technologies to enable those communities most impacted by the proliferation of the waste and to equip waste pickers and community groups with the skills to convert waste material into high quality products that will generate income. This project is Influenced by the thinking of philosopher E.F. ‘Fritz’ Schumacher, who published Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered in 1973 and is deemed by The Time Literary Supplement to be one of the 100 most influential post WWII books. Click here to watch the presentation video.

10. An overview of my academic research on upcycling

Dr Jagdeep Singh, Lund University, Sweden

In this presentation I will highlight my academic research on the topic of resource upcycling so far, various research methods employed in this research and planned future research activities. Click here to watch the presentation video.

11. Turtlehorn ways of upcycling, thousand ways of trying

María Voth Velasco, Turtlehorn, Germany

María Voth Velasco, designer of the sustainable streetwear brand Turtlehorn, graduated at Maastricht Institute of Arts in 2020, in collaboration with diverse universities and research institutes, linked to sustainable and circular driven enterprises and organizations. We live in a world looking for change, feeling obligated as a fashion designer to have the mission to make a change towards a positive development for sustainability in our futures. As we may know, the fashion industry is one of the most harming industries in our planet. And hence, it suffers from these consequences. Above all, there are noticeable global warming and extinctions of species on a ‘pluriversal’ breaking system. Therefore, the restructuring of many systems is needed. Here we start by reforming a linear business model to a more circular one, focusing on smart upcycling techniques. What is important in a circular-economy business model is not only to aim for a maximal sustainability target, but also to find a balance between ecological and economical purpose. Thus the integration of social aspects plays an important role for the design practice. In order to reach certain circular, sustainability goals, it is necessary to research, examine, and re-design our past, present and future, and not just design in an anthropocentric way driven by economic interests. As such, a human development approach based on awareness and education is necessary. Thus, there are challenges for a so-called ‘social’ fashion designer. Some may ask, ‘What is the aim with annual fashion collections, workshops, and research?’ ‘Which concepts, developments or collaborations are the most reasonable to extend and why?’ This presentation strives to answer these questions. Click here to watch the presentation video.

12. Upcycling as postgrowth approach? – The Potential of an International Upcycling Collective to Grow Impact

Dr Patrick Elf, Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR), Middlesex University, and Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), University of Surrey, UK; and Dr Andrea Werner, Middlesex University, UK

The environmental benefits of upcycling are far-reaching and include the minimisation of the volume of discarded materials and waste being sent to landfill, the active reduction of the need for (over)production and, consequently, a reduction of pollution. Whereas the environmental benefits are well-documented, how upcycling activities can be both encouraged and scaled remains widely unknown. In this research, we draw on semi-structured in-depth interviews with micro-initiatives that are part of an international upcycling collective consisting of 24 independent jewellers across 10 countries – each operating in their own communities and in different cultural contexts. Micro-initiatives are likely to be part of a sustainable/degrowth future and are commonly more embedded in communities (see e.g., Geels 2015). This project explores, among other things, the motivations of members to join the collective, the interactions of members, the benefits and (current) limitations of the collective – both for the individual members and for wider environmental/social impact, and the learning for the collective that derives from it spanning different cultures and countries. The research thus provides rich insights into how such upcycling collectives work and how they might model good practice. It will draw some conclusions as to the potential of micro-initiatives to advance upcycling in the fashion sector and shed light on strategies that follow growth-of-impact instead of growth-for-impact approach. Click here to watch the presentation video.

13. Upcycled artworks using agricultural textiles and other waste

Sally Gaukrodger-Cowan, De Montfort University, UK

Sally is a multidisciplinary artist who works with upcycling agricultural textiles and other upcycled materials. Agricultural polypropylene string and other agricultural textile materials are designed for durability, strength and longevity. Polypropylene string does not biodegrade and this gives opportunity for upcycling and creating artworks which are re-imagined, regenerated and repurposed. In the UK although there is more awareness of recycling agricultural textiles, there is still a room for improvement. By creating upcycled artworks a greater awareness of sustainability is gained and new skills are shared through making and experimentation. Artworks created raise awareness of sustainability and other issues. Using colour and shapes to represent the good, the bad, and the indifferent of sustainability. Click here to watch the presentation video.

14. Do It Together (DIT) fashion upcycling and community upcycling practices 

Dr Eunsuk Hur, University of Leeds, UK

Over the past few decades, several researchers, designers and artists have advocated circular economy and slow-fashion practices by promoting upcycling and sustainable consumption while engaging with local communities. However, the scale of workshop practices has often been limited, and designers and upcycling communities have often faced challenges when fostering upcycling activities, because members commonly have different levels of skill and capacity and differing expectations of upcycling design. This presentation offers case studies of three co-design upcycling workshops. The first targeted inexperienced upcyclers with no upcycling design experience. Modular textiles were offered in this Do It Together (DIT) workshop, and participants created a modular fashion design that was easily assembled and can easily be disassembled in the future for remanufacturing and upcycling so that it can begin its next product lifecycle. The second workshop was led by members of the Repair Café community, and the researchers helped community members with repair and upcycle activities. The third workshop was led by an upcycle fashion designer who facilitated upcycling fashion from old discarded garments. This presentation will cover the initial research findings from these three workshops and discuss the key characteristics of and future directions for upcycled fashion practices identified from these case studies. Click here to watch the presentation video.