Category: Grand Challenge

followthethings.com CEO wins Royal Geographical Society teaching award

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Photo credit: Nicola Thomas

Good news. On Monday, CEO Ian was awarded the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) ‘Taylor and Francis Award for Excellence in the Promotion and Practice of Teaching and Learning of Geography in Higher Education’.  He was nominated for the whole ‘follow the thing’ appreciation of the the social relations of trade and its application across school, university and wider public pedagogies. The ‘et al’ in his name signifies his permanent, heartfelt appreciation of everyone involved in the project over the years, and those who may join it in the future. As he explains:

“I am very happy and humbled to be given this award. My research began in the classroom where I miserably failed to encourage students to be interested in what was happening in other parts of the world. I was desperate to find a way to show how their lives were connected to those of the people and places we were studying. Finding out how some of our things are made, in some of those places, was the answer and that’s how the ‘follow the thing’ idea originated in Kentucky in the late 1980s. Since then, I’ve really enjoyed developing ways to help students follow their own things, to think empathetically about their relations and responsibilities to others in the process, and to play, have fun, make mischief, be activist with their findings. I’ve learned as much as I have taught as we have done this together. I’ve been constantly surprised by what I have learned from the students who have taken my modules and worked as interns on the followthethings.com project. Being ourselves is a massively collaborative effort. I truly appreciate everyone’s contributions.”

This work continues -> next we’re working on our ‘follow the things’ Subvertisement project in Finland with Eeva Kempainnen – researching and adding 10 new pages to our website – running our free Fashion Revolution ‘Who Made My Clothes?’ course that starts on 26th July, and opening the Museum of Contemporary Commodities at the RGS(IBG)’s Pavilion Gallery on London’s Exhibition Road from 24th – 27th August. Please join us.

Fashion Revolution call for papers at RGS(IBG) annual conference

We’re involved in running a session at the Royal Geographical Society (Institute of British Geography) annual conference this summer whose aim is to bring academic fashion experts into dialogue with the Fashion Revolution movement. We’re asking how fashion research can contribute to what is becoming a worldwide movement for a more ethical / sustainable fashion industry in the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in April 2013. We’re looking for academic research from any discipline that can contribute to Fashion Revolution’s five year planning. Here’s what we’re doing. Please get in touch with Ian, Lousie and/or Alex to discuss any ideas. The deadline for abstracts is Friday 12th February.

– Call for papers –

Scholar activism and the Fashion Revolution: ‘who made my clothes?’

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Abstract

The collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex on April 24th 2013, which crushed to death over 1,000 people making clothes for Western brands, was a final straw, a call to arms, for significant change in the fashion industry. Since then, tens of thousands of people have taken to social media, to the streets, to their schools and halls of government to uncover the lives hidden in the clothes we wear. Businesses, consumers, governments, academics, NGOS and others working towards a safer, cleaner and more just future for the fashion industry have been galvanised.

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Next week: we’re in a shopping centre talking clothes

We’ve been working on one of 12 ‘Grand Challenges’ that the University of Exeter runs each year for first year students. The idea is that academic staff introduce first year students from across the university to the Grand Challenges of the 21st Century, through some hands-on learning and with the help of visiting experts (who students refer to as ‘real people’, in my experience).

Challenges this year include Climate Change, Global Security and Mental Health, and the one that we’re running is on Fashion ethics after the Rana Plaza collapse. 

There are four ways to find out more, to get involved, and to follow us next week:

1) Our blog

All the background information we’ve put together to prepare for this challenge. The Rana Plaza collapse and its ripple effects, and how we’re trying to appreciate and work with these ripples in the space of Exeter’s Guildhall Shopping centre, where we’re be occupying 2 disused shops and its main square for 4 days next week.

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Click image for blog

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How to make & play Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Ethics Trump card game

In November last year, we made and played a Ethical Fashion Trump Card game that we were developing for the Fashion Revolution Day Education Pack.

Its aim is to encourage its players to think about their clothes and fashion ethics, a topic that’s more important than ever after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 24 April last year.

It’s a playful way of encouraging some serious discussion about who and what we are wearing.

Here, we want to showcase the new FRD pack – which was published yesterday –  and to provide a match report that will give you an idea of how the game can be made and played in your classroom, home, shed … wherever you play cards!

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‘Made in Bangladesh’ clothing label collection

We’re setting up our ‘What (not) to wear’ fashion ethics Challenge at the University of Exeter at the moment.

As a starting point, we’re collecting photos of ‘Made in Bangladesh’ labels from people’s clothes (our clothes, too). Here’s what we have so far.

One set is found: a gallery of photos that people uploaded to the photo-sharing site flickr. Click the thumbnails or link below to see all 18.

Nine West Stretch 2P Made in Bangladesh  Brand New  $30"Made in Bangladesh"...Made in BangladeshMade in BangladeshMade in Bangladesh !
Bought a t-shirt, noticed its Made in Bangladesh. I love my Bangladesh.Hanes, t-shirt. Made in Bangladesh.Coles Mix Clothing still made in BangladeshLevi's, 513 jeans. Made in Bangladesh.#0010 - Rockstar Games cap - Made in Bangladesh
fashnspire.comIMG_6131Hope your not exploiting my brothers and sisters @bobbyhundreds is made in #bangladeshBoy Scouts of ...where?Anvil - Himsa
Team SpiritBrice Made in BangladeshAnd the another one is made in #bangladesh

The second set is new:  label photos we’ve asked for and put together on our ‘What (not) to wear’ website.

We’d like to add more. Could you help out by doing your own fashion audit and sending us your  ‘Made in Bangladesh’ labels to add to the page?

Send us your photos via @followthethings or followthethings@yahoo.com

Thanks!

New for 2014: our Fashion Ethics ‘Grand Challenge’ at Exeter University

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog since the ftt Awards Ceremony in December. We have been busy on another project, at the University where we’re based, introducing First Year Students to the challenge of to how to help develop a more ethical fashion industry, in the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in April last year.

We’ve been putting together a website for the Challenge, but it’s open to everyone to use, comment on, and get involved in.

Please do so via the website (click the screen grab below) or get in touch with us via followthethings@yahoo.com, @followthethings or our Grand Challenges Facebook page.

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“You carry the stories of the people who make your clothes”

Because of our involvement in the commemoration of the Rana Plaza factory collapse through ‘Fashion Revolution Day’ (and its ‘Who made your clothes?’ theme), and the University of Exeter’s ‘What (not) to wear?’ ethical fashion Grand Challenge, we’ve been collecting films and other resources designed to engage consumers with the hidden social relations in their clothes, the lives in their things.

This short film, just published on YouTube, and it’s ‘behind the scenes’ sequel are fascinating, we think.

‘Handprint’: the film.

Behind the scenes: the making of ‘Handprint’.