Conversations to Redress a Fashion Disaster: Decolonial Critiques to Fashion’s Climate Urgency Response

Sandra Niessen, 26 September 2019

For three days, starting 4-6 November 2019, the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht will devote time and attention to the most pressing problem of our age: climate urgency.

The Van Eyck Academy is a well-reputed multiform institute whose facilities for fine art, design and reflection are the envy of every artist and it opens its doors as widely as possible to engage participants in its stimulating programmes. During the Climate Urgency Marathon in November, artists will examine their roles and responsibilities. The Research Collective for Decolonizing Fashion has been invited to curate the Monday, 4 November programme on fashion and climate, Conversations to Redress a Fashion Disaster: Decolonial Critiques to Fashion’s Climate Urgency Response. The RCDF has been granted a 3-month residency, with access to all the facilities of the Academy, to facilitate preparation of the event.  

It is a challenging and exciting assignment. Certainly sustainability, including climate change, weighs heavily on the mind of everybody associated with the fashion industry (see the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action). Coloniality, on the other hand, is an all but forgotten ingredient in the mix. The task of the RCDF is to bring this crucial issue to the fore. We are in a whirlwind of meetings with students, discussions with experts and literature research in libraries.

I will be filling one month of the residency and my term has just begun. During the course of the next weeks, I will be writing blogs to share with you how we are giving shape to our programme. The first next step will be to construct the November 4 agenda with the other RCDF members involved in the Van Eyck programme (Angela Jansen, Toby Slade, Erica de Greef). Stay tuned.

In the meantime, don’t forget to put 4 November on your agenda. Come to the Van Eyck in Maastricht and take part in Conversations to Redress a Fashion Disaster. It is open to the public and will be conducted in English.

To whet your appetite for more, chew first on this useful reference on decoloniality:

G.T. Reyes, ‘A Pedagogy of and Towards Decoloniality’.

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