It Begins with Design

Textile Exchange Conference Workshop: Fashion Designers are the key for the future of sustainability practices for the fashion and textile industry. They need the training and language to success. This workshop will give them the tools for their practices and their future.

https://youtu.be/oTNvQ1Su738

Art School: In Perspective a paper

Art School: In Perspective Diversity and Access Analysis

Amelia Williams

University of Southern California

Rossier School of Education

EDUC 591 Diversity: Power, Equity, and Inclusion

Dr. Ronan Hallowell

4/22/19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to offer an analysis of private art and design college education addressing diversity, equity and access for students. This analysis will consider how student experience the facilities and curriculum delivery at California College of the Arts, (CCA) with respect to access, equity and privilege principles as presented in this course. “An education takes place in a temporal, social, historical, political, geographical, and ecological context” (Bamford, 2010). Art is an interplay between people and situations, people including faculty, students, family and administrators and situations inclusive of school settings as well as environments of local social and cultural community (Bamford). The education should afford each student the opportunity to equally receive and access the specialized coursework and skills core to art and design education; concept development, visual communication and critical thinking. Subjective discernment and objective assessment imply capability, which can complicate the understanding of equitable expectations of art and design student projects or artifact outcomes. CCA’s arts education is offered equally to students, regardless of their individual circumstances, with respect of socioeconomic status, race, gender, mental ability, motor and mobility capacities (Johnson, 2005). With accessibility for all the expressed goal, ability to participate may impact the experiences and the actual achievable results (Johnson, 2005). For the purpose of this analysis, I will focus on access and equity related to gender, race and ethnicity, physical and mental disabilities and socioeconomic status.

California College of the Arts: A private art and design school

CCA is a 112 year old private non-profit art and design college. CCA boasts a very high diversity ranking for colleges (Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design [AICAD], 2019). I was an instructor for three distinct program divisions at CCA: Design, Visual Studies and the First Year Programming. Within the Design division, I taught for 16 years as a Fashion Design Associate Professor, for 10 of those years, I served as the Program Chair. With campuses in Oakland and San Francisco, CCA hosts 22 undergraduate and twelve graduate degree programs: including B.Arch (Bachelors of Architecture), B.A. in Visual Studies and Writing and Literature, BFA with concentrations in Fine Arts and Design, M.A, M.Arch (Masters of Architecture), MFA as well as the nation’s first Design-MBA. CCA is fully accredited by Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) organizations.

Active art and design education today is shared in drawing studios, computer labs, metal foundries, wood shops, rapid prototyping labs and design ateliers, each specialized studio a curated environment built for optimal learning engagement for exploring key materials and methodologies required for future arts careers.  Art and design education is offered in the United States through a myriad of institutions, at accredited higher education in formalized degree programming at junior colleges, private art colleges and public university programs. Non degree coursework, lessons and skills training can be obtained with focused workshops, online learning and crafts guild studio sessions.

Student Diversity

Spread across the undergraduate and graduate degree programs are 2,000 students instructed by a faculty population of approximately 600 ranked and non-ranked faculty members (AICAD, 2019). The high diversity rating amongst national college ratings is primarily reflective of the diverse student populations, with 38% international students surpassing white student ration of 25%, Asian and Hispanic student cohorts accounting for 15% each, 5% of students identifying as black and the remaining students indicating intersectionality or declining to respond (CCA, 2019).

CCA’s international student population has swollen in the past decade, with international students paying full non discounted tuition costs as well as all course fees within two weeks of acceptance notification, the international student pool is covering much of the course operating costs upfront. International students with F-1 visas are required to provide proof of sufficient financial support, be enrolled full time at an academic institution in order to obtain immigration approval (United States Government Department of State, 2019).  The growth in the foreign alien student body has increased the demand for expanded need with student support and expanded teaching methods to foster studio specific language learning for multilingual students.

Faculty diversity

            CCA’s faculty numbers paint a graphic picture of race and ethnicity whitewashing. White faculty members holding 65% of the teaching assignments followed by 10% Asian and 9% of the faculty not disclosing their race(s) trailing behind. Fulltime male professors hold 65% of the full-time and tenured positions, outnumbering women professors by 20%. Part-time faculty practitioners make up two-thirds of the faculty, of which women deliver 75% of the professional practice coursework across all divisions for one half the pay (DataUSA, 2016). These findings are discouraging and do coincide with national gender income inequity numbers and compiled data of female artist experience (Lindemann, Rush & Tepper, 2016; Strategic National Art Alumni Project [SNAAP], 2013). The research of Joseph Chan, reflective of Donald Schon, shows practitioners are key to improving professional education across curriculum silos, offering students the chance to develop true critical thinking and reflective based practices (Chan, 2010). Hiring degree holding professional practitioners as professors at art and design postsecondary institutions is a widely accepted practice.

CCA has a very high racial diversity demographic yet a clear gender imbalance.  Women account for over 55% of the student population, men hold 42% and the trans, intersexual and asexual students are totally at 2% of the school’s student numbers (CCA, 2019). Todays’ art student population (SNAAP, 2013) is predominately female. Fields of study remain gender-ized, with men filling architecture, interaction and industrial design programs and women students filling the fashion and interior design courses.

Sexual orientation and inclusion

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its high levels of inclusion, awareness and acceptance. All peoples and their lifestyles are championed at CCA as stated in the college’s organizational mission and reoccurring strategic five-year goals (CCA, 2019).  The actual statistics are unavailable beyond self-reporting of faculty, students and staff.

Diversity coursework

            CCA coursework directly addresses access and equity by requiring all undergraduate students complete two upper division diversity studies courses. Visual studies seminars introduce students to minority group communities and their lived experiences of oppression, societal constraint and dominance. Studio coursework engages students with art and design techniques and applications further supporting understanding of diverse populations. Faculty teach from lived experience and design sociocultural theory directly into their course learning outcomes as they share the issues affecting the marginalized groups the coursework introduces. The courses are co-developed with a diversity subcommittee to ensure that barriers to equity and understanding have been thoughtfully embedded into the course materials so student will gain understanding of dominance and privilege across subordinate communities. Prior coursework addressed intercity art, design for disabled and disenfranchised populations, architecture for transient occupation and mental help computer alert systems.

Facilities and Students

 CCA’s campuses boast wide open spaces and specialized studios for a vast array of programmatic learning. General use studio rooms attempt to support multiple studios and programs yet have proven inadequate for most courses due to lack of lighting, sound control and external environmental incursion. The campuses run 24 hours a day, with classes between 8am and 10pm five days a week. By mid-term, the stress and volume has increased measurably. By final presentations, the campus is heavy with pressure. CCA’s counseling services are stretched thin between the two campuses and the growing demand to support the college population by addressing stress and mental health.

Mobility and motor skills

With accessibility for all a clear goal of CCA’s education, actual ability and capability to participate does impact learning experiences as well as achievable results.  Expectations of equitable outcomes are often in conflict with learning offerings.  ADA compliance and universal design is evident in public areas on both campuses, however in many studios, the footprint design does not support the course use needs inadvertently creating potential hazards for students and faculty, especially those with physical disabilities and mental health issues.

Consideration of motor skill ability with regard to physical abilities or disabilities needs addressing to establish understanding of base line curricular competencies required of specialized studios. Ability to demonstrate the safe use tools and machinery is key for demonstrating program learning outcomes.

Multilingualism and learning accommodations

The studio instruction delivered by professional practitioners, is typically three pronged with visual, demonstration, written and audible instruction which well supports all learners in obtaining the course learning goals. Success in the art and design studio courses is achievable for most learning difference students as well as linguistic minority students. Learning accommodations are overseen by the student services team who support both the student and the faculty in the oversight of student success. For the multilingual learner, industry centric language and specific terminology can be extremely complicated to assimilate. Jargon heavy language is introduced and demonstrated in studio in order to model practical language use for linguistic minorities and native speakers alike. Studio faculty teach with a variety of visual and auditory aids, diagrams, demonstrations and shared language materials. The student success tutors offer extensive written language support.

Vision and hearing impairment

The student services offices are capable of offering support on multiple academic levels. Accommodations are available for students with mental health, physical and learning disabilities as well as mobility issues are available at CCA for the requiring students. Support is offered for the hearing impaired with note takers, academic tutoring and classroom sign language assistance. Supporting the vision impaired student is more difficult within the daily art studio setting, as instruction as the coursework and deliverable outcomes require visual acuity and responsive delivery of demonstrated skills, thus vision needs are addressed individually.

Socioeconomics at art school

            Art school is expensive. Lower socioeconomic status families are often priced out of art and design education due to the high educational costs. Private art schools ranks in the top 10% of US private institutions (Bradley, 2013). CCA is in the top 8% of art schools, with no in-state discounts and the typical discount/scholarship package caps at $20k (College Factual, 2018), art school is an extravagant choice for many. Tuition scholarships and student loans do not cover housing costs nor transbay transportation, leaving CCA students with annual bills of over $60k for their art school privilege.

Recommendations:

The math on an art school pencils for few but the very wealthy.  As the costs of postsecondary education in the United States rises annually, students and their families are faced with considering education as a return on investment decision, balancing future income with job insecurity, the reality is that art school is becoming luxury few can afford. Art and design education can address privilege, as the power privilege affords allow participants the potential to shape reality and future societal norms (Johnson, 2005). CCA needs to address the inequity in their faculty ranks…swiftly. CCA’s trustees and development program can work to improve the access to quality resource materials through corporate donations, lending libraries and upper division scholarships. Expanding scholarship and discounting (loans) availability for upper division students will increase graduation rates.  The college must work to ensure that the junior college articulation agreements are accessible to better support all SES level students in obtaining high quality art and design education so that all lived experiences can be incorporated in designing the future. Access the alumni to support the current students with profession focused workshops. This will help alleviate the white elitest dominance prevalent in the art world today. Expanding art education affordability will expand equitable access for all emergent artists dreaming of their future creative careers.

 

 

References

Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), (2019) Retrieved from:

            https://www.aicad.org/schools/california-college-of-the-arts/

Bamford, A. (2010). Issues of global and local quality in arts education. Encounters on  

            Education, Vol. 11, Fall, 47-66

Bradley, N. (2013). Don’t go to art school. I.M.H.O., Medium.com. Retrieved from:

https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/dont-go-to-art-school-138c5efd45e9   

Chan, J. (2010) The use of practitioners as part-time faculty in postsecondary professional

           

            education. (2010). International Education Studies, 3(4). doi:10.5539/ies.v3n4p36

California College of the Arts (CCA), (2018). Retrieved from: https://www.cca.edu

CollegeFactual.com (2018). Retrieved from: https://www.collegefactual.com/colleges/california-

            college-of-the-arts/paying-for-college/financial-aid/

DataUSA.io (2016). Retrieved from: https://datausa.io/profile/university/california-college-of-

            the-arts/

Johnson, A. G. (2005). Privilege, power, and difference (2nd Ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Lindemann, D.J., Rush, C.A., & Tepper, S. (2016). An asymmetrical portrait: Exploring

            gendered income inequality in the arts. Social Currents, Vol. 3(4) 332-348. doi:

10.1177/2329496516636399

Strategic National Arts Alumni Project. (SNAAP) (2013). The uneven canvas: Inequities in

                        artistic training and careers. Annual Report, Retrieved from:            https://eric.ed.gov/?q=Strategic+National+Arts+Alumni+Project&id=ED574454

United States Government Department of State (2019). Exchange Visitor Program.

Retrieved from: https://j1visa.state.gov/programs/college-and-university-student/

 

 

Diversity: Power, Equity, and Inclusion Toolkit: Art School: A perspective of art and design college

Principle: Inclusion and equity are promoted when:

Assessment

How is this principle (not) observed? 

Recommendation

How can this principle be implemented?

Practitioners reflect on the role they play in power and oppression in their professional practice and challenge others to do the same in effort to remove barriers created by privilege and power.

ASSESSMENT •   This was observed when…

•   Meetings were called to discuss…

•   An emphasis was placed on…

•   Students were not always reminded to…

REcommendation: 1.    Define broadly the constructs of diversity, equity, access, and equity.

2.    Discuss regularly the importance of diversity and inclusion.

3.   Engage in reflective practices to ensure biases and prejudices are kept in check.

Practitioners analyze how to address and overcome issues of class and socioeconomic status and work to promote equity and access for oppressed groups.

CCA:

1.Adjunct Faculty across campus are often unaware that required supplies/materials/books expectations add to student financial stress –

2.Lower SES students are often not ready for the weighty supply costs in each studio course. This directly impacts student engagement and project outcomes and inaccessibility for the oppressed groups.

3. College should establish a pre course supplies listing for syllabus w course fees that could be rolled into FA grants.

4.Scholarship and loan grants are averaging 20k reducing the tuition by a little less than half, yet not inclusive of supplies/living expenses.

Recommendation:

•  Encourage industry “gifting” scholarships of tools/materials to support student learning

•  Establish regulated/programmatic approved supplies lists when course descriptions are listed for registration allowing students to “save” or gather requisite supplies in advance.

•  Establish resources lending libraries for supplies/tools

Practitioners strive to remove barriers to equity based on race and ethnicity when designing learning experiences and remain cognizant of how their own race and ethnicity impact the learning environment.

Typical of art and design education, it inclusive, embracing and engaging of any/all cultures/races/ethnicities in the classroom/studio learning environment.

Faculty and Student : diversity inclusion: populations balance the college’s mission and claims of diversity inclusion. 

Mission: “California College of the Arts educates students to shape culture and society through the practice and critical study of art, architecture, design, and writing. Benefitting from its San Francisco Bay Area location, the college prepares students for lifelong creative work by cultivating innovation, community engagement, and social and environmental responsibility.”

Values: “We promote diversity on our campuses by improving access and opportunities for underrepresented groups, and we see this endeavor as vitally enriching for everyone.”

Diversity goals: “A central theme of CCA's five-year strategic plan is to “cultivate diversity” by accomplishing the following three goals through a series of initiatives.”

1.Increase racial, socioeconomic, and global diversity among students, staff, faculty and trustees

2.Develop our pedagogy and curriculum to reflect social and cultural diversity

3.Build a campus community that support and values diversity.

Recommendation:

•  Faculty workshops to help broaden faculty understanding of various cultural behavior effects to better support the international student population growth: direct eye contact, personal space, conversational mannerisms, etc.

•  Student Workshops for cultural awareness and behavioral normative expectations for post class. Mandatory for all students in interdisciplinary school learning environments.

•  Remind students how best to present themselves according to expected hiring and presentation norms

•  Address the divisional concerns with respect to the growing international student population, how that changes the demographics within the college, divisions and programmatic coursework.  

•  Address shift in student needs: housing, in class learning/transportation

•  It is important for students to feel inclusion from a like faculty team. Work to expand equity across hiring for classroom and staffing a the college to ensure inclusion

Practitioners maintain gender equity mindedness in order to combat barriers in professional and educational settings

CCA:

An underlying bias exists for men over women as seen in faculty hires and preference for the masculine fields of Architecture, Animations, Interaction Design, Graphic Design and Industrial Design over Fashion Design, Interior Design, and Textile Arts was continuously noted.

Evidence of gender inequity is evident with the statement in the five year plan as related to:

·       trustee, faculty and student populations and assignments.

·       scholarships, physical course space assignment, gallery assignment etc.

·       More male full professors but fewer adjunct 65% vs 25% and the percentage switches for female hires with more adjunct female professors.

Recommendation:

·       Engage in reflective practices to ensure biases and prejudices are discussed, understood and addressed.

·       Report out for transparency and refined practices

·       Consider the “masculine” subjects and their student populations (ie. architecture vs interior architecture).

·       Work to engage cross pollination between through interdisciplinary coursework to encourage exposure outside of expected course trainings within masculine or feminine subjects.

Practitioners are mindful of how multiple identities influence experiences in professional settings and try to plan learning experiences in consideration of the whole individual, not just one aspect of the individual’s identity.

CCA: intersectionality is expected, though not verifiable through surveys or hiring records. There is little conversation about hires or students outside of the statistical surveys for the accreditation purposes.

Mix exists everywhere and is celebrated. One faculty member: can be multiple hiring responses: muslim/ lesbian/ persian/ vegetarian/ lefthanded/ gluten-intolerant/ mother and wife etc.

Recommendation:

·       Practice what is spoken as practice inclusion.

·       Establish best practices lists and engage stakeholders at all levels for buy in and implementation

·       It is important for students to feel inclusion w like them faculty. Hire for skill and diversity

Practitioners combat stereotypes created by traditional male and female gender roles and facilitate spaces that consider the experience of LGBTQIA+ individuals as well.

CCA Faculty: ISSUE: Meetings were called to discuss need for sexual orientation balance across staff/faculty/trustees and administration. However legally this cannot be ask nor culled for during searches for “perfect” candidates.

·       Bathroom assignment was addressed for each building 4 years ago with the addition of single occupancy rooms.

·       Students are judged for engagement and skill application and faculty for skill transmission and teaching

·       Personal pronouns were implemented 5 years ago into all syllabus, but not within all classroom settings.

Recommendation:

·       Define broadly the constructs of diversity, equity, access, and equity. Such a hard ask...how does one deal with this that then does not further add to the discrimination?

·        Discuss regularly the importance   of diversity and inclusion.

·        Engage in reflective practices to ensure biases and prejudices are kept in check.

·       Be cognizant of use of pronouns and preferred names vs assigned names and birth pronouns

Practitioners design learning experiences that do not exclude individuals who are linguistic minorities; they provide opportunities for written, visual, and auditory sources in other languages.

CCA:

Typical of art and design education, it inclusive, embracing and engaging of any/all cultures/races/ethnicities in the classroom/studio learning environment.

Mission: “California College of the Arts educates students to shape culture and society through the practice and critical study of art, architecture, design, and writing. Benefitting from its San Francisco Bay Area location, the college prepares students for lifelong creative work by cultivating innovation, community engagement, and social and environmental responsibility.”

Values: “We promote diversity on our campuses by improving access and opportunities for underrepresented groups, and we see this endeavor as vitally enriching for everyone.”

Diversity goals: “A central theme of CCA's five-year strategic plan is to “cultivate diversity” by accomplishing the following three goals through a series of initiatives.”

·       Increase racial, socioeconomic, and global diversity among students, staff, faculty and trustees

·       Develop our pedagogy and curriculum to reflect social and cultural diversity

·       Build a campus community that support and values diversity.

Recommendation:

•  Work study tutoring for language support both written and verbal was offered with limited hours on both campuses to support the multi language learners – however stigma often prevented students from taking advantage of the support.

•  Written instructions and verbal instructions offer same instructions in same ordering.

•  Provide glossaries offered for specialized words/phrases.

•  Demonstrations are focused on skill

•  Faculty ensure lesson align with readings/trainings to help support language fluidity

•  Where possible, have translated tools available

•  Studio coursework is delivered in verbal English with back up of demonstrations, written materials and often short tutorial videos.

Practitioners apply sociocultural theory into the development of optimal learning experiences and environments.

CCA: As related to project briefs and exposure:

·       Offer expanded opportunities to explore beyond familial “local” norms – field tripping to cultural neighborhoods to see first hand

·       Required investigation and comparative thinking in project reflections

·       Broad conversation in classroom and of required reading exploration is part of Learning Outcomes required in the Diversity coursework required a the Undergraduate level: 1 seminar course and 1 studio course outside of chosen major to ensure expanded understanding of sociocultural variance

Recommendation:

•  Faculty workshops to help broaden faculty understanding of various cultural behavior effects to better support the international student population growth: direct eye contact, personal space, conversational mannerisms, etc.

•  Student Workshops for cultural awareness and behavioral normative expectations for post class. Mandatory for all students in interdisciplinary school learning environments.

•  Remind students how best to present themselves according to expected hiring and presentation norms

•  Engage guest lecturers/subject matter experts to share sociocultural experiences to stimulate curiosity.

•  Expose student groups to non normative learning environments with field visitations and offsite research training

Practitioners consider disability rights (e.g., ADA) when creating learning environments.

CCA:

·       Industry expectations versus machinery

·       Industry expectation vs physical motor and mechanical skills: Office of Student Services advises on accommodations. Often in discussion with program chair in determining what/if/how physical accommodation can be offered.

·       How to navigate skills requirements at mastery levels: tools, work spaces: for physical issues:

o   height of work surfaces

o   wheelchairs to computer lab desks

o   elevator access/lack of there

Physical footprint of classrooms often unsafe for exit once classroom “work” began in studio. Egress is complicated by over-subscribed courses and limited machinery access and availability.

Recommendation:

Additional understanding of square-foot per student inclusive of their machinery/tool/surface space needs should be accommodated for in each program/studio learning space. ADA compliance for safety for all students is mandatory. (EX: Fashion design students need a 6 ft square foot space for 3D development and a 3ft by 4ft wide table surface for classtime process.

Practitioners assess current policies regarding learning and mental disabilities in their educational setting and work to address any apparent inequities.

CCA Office of Student Services

·       IEP/504 access in college setting

·       Students must go to college student services offices

·       Students often are ashamed and do not bring accommodation letters until too late

·       Adjunct/non full time faculty are not often aware of how to grant accommodation actions even if paperwork is presented in skills based learning environment

·       Student mental health is an issue. At the UG age, students are often first diagnosed with bi-Polar and or other mental health disabilities. Counselors are not on both campuses daily.

·       Recommendations:

·       Timing: for showing of skill mastery

·       Training: for access for all, yet mastery vs proficiency divide becomes issue at sophomore level.

·       Making the hard decisions for students to continue if learning issues are holding them back for success in coursework and future careers.

·       Support in motor skills (but again, if expressing a level of competency of target motor skills is part of the course requirements, how is it possible to accommodate for that?)

·       There needs to be a counselor on each campus 5 days a week to support the faculty and staff with oversight and prevention.

Practitioners evaluate how mobility issues may influence the learning environment and then work to address any barriers in order to facilitate equity and access for individuals who face mobility issues.

CCA: Office of Student Services

While the classroom setting ‘seems” to be accessible. There are issues and barriers for equity for students with mobility issues.

·       carrying projects through doorways/hallways

·       accessing the one elevator with buttons w projects

·       pin up on walls

·       craft on artifacts

No elevators on Oakland campus where First Year programming, FineArts and Animation course work is held.

Recommendation:

Motor skills are hard to subtract from the work requirements.

It is arguable that extra time can help or that support in the form of skills delivery help can be accommodated for in work practice but how to do so in the studio classroom setting? This is a conundrum that baffles the art and design education facilities to this day. Very hard to determine how to include students with mobility and motor issues in certain coursework: glassblowing, sculpture, fashion, textiles.

Practitioners analyze how to promote learning for individuals with vision and hearing impairments within their professional practice that may not be equal in transmission but equitable in outcome.

CCA:

·       Translator/note taker: anonymous but supplied to supplement student work: Complicated by the room configuration/build.

·       Sound barriers and lighting issues with open walls created student impacts

·       Shared studio lighting is impossible during evening courses

Recommendation:

·       Notetakers/sign support is in place, however the nuance of demonstrations is often lost in “translation” and faculty can not often slow the demonstrations due to the physical nature of the medium learning (glass, ceramics, metal, watercolor demos etc)

·       Improve lighting in studios and classrooms with task lighting for all students

·       Screentime/shared presentations

·       extended demos for support learning/skills training

Practitioners constantly assess themselves and their work environments for opportunities to counter disparities and facilitate improved, more inclusive, and more equitable access, experiences, and outcomes for diverse learners.

CCA Growing number of “self-diagnosed” dyslexic students in the recent years than begs the question of whether students were in fact suffering from the disability, a disability or were simply horrible readers/spellers. Students wrongly believe they will not engage academic coursework at art school…

Recommendation: Already syllabi remind students of accommodation availability through the student services department and that faculty will make accommodation in concert with the office to ensure equitable learning for each student.

Most students do not “bother” or follow through.

 

Milan: Textile Exchange Conference: United by Action: Accellerating Sustainability in Textiles and Fashion

Textile Exchange held it’s annual conference this year in MIlan, Italy’s Fashion and Textiles Capital. As a Board member, I joined over 800 industry members for three full days loaded with wonderful speakers and leaders sharing the newest thinking for sustainability practices for the textile and fashion industries. The MiCo center located in the downtown sector of Milan welcomed the guests into exhibition spaces, plenary meeting rooms and breakout rooms that easily accommodated the conversations that were had.

Topics that were front and center revolved around the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals and their pending deadline for implementation in 2020. Already many were working towards best practice approaches for raising the bar in the battle for offsetting the global environmental impacts that are looming.

Discussions were had regarding reuse, recycling and renewal as well as standards for practice integrity and certification. Governmental representatives spoke about navigating the intricacies of recycling and waste materials management and distribution and the impacts of renew and circular economies on the economies of global as well as local businesses. The potential for new business models led conversations at round tables, lunch tables and from the stages.

The conversations were lively and forward facing. The mood was upbeat for the first time in a very long time. There was an overall feeling of potential opportunity and it over powered the doom that sustainability topics dragged along in years past.

Acknowledging that the supply chain teams, their sourcing partners and fibers/materials people were well represented at the conference, the call was put forth for companies to bring their design teams to the table. For team education as well as for innovation in conversation, thinking and action.

I look forward to the conference next year - in Vancouver, B.C. Canada!

Source: https://textileexchange.org/