Tag Archives: Education

LEARN // Leadership, Feminism and Equality in Unions in Canada

 

With International Women’s Day around the corner, I just had to share this excellent resource with you: Leadership, Feminism and Equality in Unions in Canada, a project organised by Linda Briskin, Sue Genge, Marg McPhail and Marion Pollack.

From the project website:

“This project on Leadership, Feminism and Equality in Unions in Canada explores the current climate and attitudes to women, feminism, leadership and equality in Canadian unions through the insights, voices and experiences of women union leaders, activists and staff in Canadian unions.

Undoubtedly unions in Canada have played a significant role in promoting women’s equality. And many share the optimistic belief that organized labour can continue to play a critical part in challenging women’s inequality. Yet evidence suggests that equality issues have still not moved into the mainstream of union culture. Some even point to a backlash, suggested by the decline in women’s participation in leadership, fewer resources for equality organizing, and in some cases, outright attacks on advocates. These are disturbing trends.

Union women fought hard for equity gains over the past five decades.  In the current climate of recession, cutbacks, and austerity, are we now losing ground?”

 

There are links to loads of resources, including this important short film, originally produced in 1981 by Linda Briskin and Lorna Weir – a wonderful historical resource for teaching.

While the project relates specifically to the labour rights movement in Canada, it is completely relevant to union and labour organising globally.

Image source: Leadership, Feminism and Equality in Unions in Canada

Dear Google Images…Thanks!

Garment Workers

Google has adjusted their image search tools with a new “Usage Rights” filtering option. This means users can more easily search for images for both use and reuse, under such licenses as the Creative Commons (CC).

All SA content is fully CC licensed, and while finding CC licensed images before Google made this small change was manageable, I have already noticed a significant drop in time spent looking for that perfect CC licensed photo for reuse in projects.

This is such great news for educators and creators looking to remix content!

Happy searching, making and sharing, friends!

 

Learned via Lessig Blog, v2

Resources // NPR’s Planet Money Makes a ‘Simple’ T-shirt

Planet Money showing just how little the industry has changed.

Planet Money showing just how little the industry has changed.

 

Planet Money:

What would you like the people who buy this t-shirt to know about you?

Doris Restrepo, Garment Worker, Medellín, Colombia:

What is behind the T-shirt: It’s a world.

NPR’s Planet Money has released a five chapter series on the production of a conventional t-shirt. This series is an excellent educational resource and is perfect for ‘flipping’ into a short course on our international fashion system. The videos and accompanying articles would also make a fantastic addition to any of SA’s educational resourcesparticularly the SAGE module where we traced the international production of a hypothetical t-shirt from the farm to the landfill and beyond into it’s second-hand life.

Introducing: Planet Money Makes A T-Shirt from NPR on Vimeo.

Inspired by Pietra Rivoli‘s The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade, Planet Money actually hired the Georgetown Professor as an advisor for this series. Needless to say, I highly recommend the The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy as further reading to help gain even deeper insight into the value chain of a ‘simple’ t-shirt. 

This series is an absolute must for anyone interested in the fashion supply chain as a whole and the political, economic, and social issues that surround the production of clothing.

Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt: The world behind a simple shirt, in five chapters

ATTEND // Kate Fletcher to speak at Emily Carr University – Vancouver, Canada

On January 17, 2013, Kate Fletcher will present at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, Canada, through the TD Speaker Series/Designer in Residence Program.

“Over the last 15 years, Kate’s original thinking and progressive outlook has infused the field of fashion, textiles and sustainability with design thinking, and come to define it. Kate is one of the founders of the ‘slow fashion’ movement and instigator of directional sustainability projects, including Local Wisdom, which has engaged hundreds of people worldwide with the ‘craft of use’ and ‘post-growth’ fashion and was shortlisted for the Observer Ethical Awards in 2010.” (Emily Carr)

When? January 17, 2013 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Where? South Building, Room 301, Emily Carr, 1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island –Vancouver, Canada

This event is free and open to the public but you must register your place online – space is limited!

Click here to learn more.

See you there!

 

 

 

 

LEARN // We Day introduces new teacher resources for pre-16 learners

Just in time for the new school year, Free the Children has launched an updated We Day website, showcasing their lesson plans for elementary and secondary school educators and learners.

Topics include the Millennium Development Goals, children’s rights, clean water, hunger, education and community mapping, among others.

This is what it’s all about—empowering educators to empower learners. Although the lessons and activities are not published through the Creative Commons, they are downloadable for free in PDF.

Here are some videos on child labour and globalization, presented by Dr. Jonathan White, Professor of Sociology and Political Economy at Bridgewater State University:

Will your students be participating in We Day this year? If not, these lessons will surely inspire them to want to get involved.

Oxfam International // Supporting garment workers through education and engagement

You know Oxfam as a leader in global humanitarian efforts—working toward poverty reduction, advocating and campaigning on behalf of human rights, leading the fight against unregulated international arms trade (all the way to the UN, with Arms Trade Treaty negotiations expected to close in 2012), promoting gender equality, health and education, responding to both chronic and acute social, environmental and economic crisis…the list goes on.

What you may not know is that Oxfam is also committed to supporting systemic change with respect to the labour rights of garment workers internationally through education and engagement.

Here are some of the exciting projects they’ve been working on—all excellent for use in the classroom:

While her name has been changed to protect her family and to ensure her job security (‘Sewani’ is an abbreviated word for ‘seorang wanita’ in Indonesian, meaning ‘woman’), her story is real: “I hope that by sharing this story people can have some image of the workers that are making their shoes. Some image of who we are and what our lives are like. I’m sure our conditions are really different with those who can afford to buy the shoes we make. Who knows, when they understand our conditions, they might speak out for us. We also want to live in better conditions.” (Sewani) Readers can send Sewani questions and leave comments on the blog.

By answering these FAQ’s, Oxfam has empowered educators, consumers, designers and proprietors alike to think critically about their role in the global apparel supply chain.

  • Oxfam Australia has run several successful campaigns in support of decent work, driving change through an online actions centre dedicated to worker’s rights.

Workshop //Sweatshops – 70 minutes

Lesson Plans:

No Sweat – Grade 9 Lesson Plan

No Sweat – Grade 10 Lesson Plan

No Sweat – OAC Geography Lesson Plan

No Sweat – OAC Poli Sci Lesson Plan

Oxfam GB has created a 25 minute assembly designed to educate students on the hidden narrative of labour taking place behind the brand, factory conditions and worker’s rights, cause and consequence of cheap labour and ways to take action. Materials include Assembly Slides, (in PowerPoint) and Supporting Notes (PDF).

Oxfam GB has also created a series of lessons that follow the cotton supply chain in India:

Background information about cotton, trade and India

Photo gallery of clothes production

Lesson 1: Placing India in the world

Lesson 2: Finding out about India

Lesson 3: Where does cotton grow?

Lesson 4: Tracking trade

Lesson 5: Questioning a photo

Lesson 6: Before and after

Lesson 7: Matching captions to photos

Lesson 8: Putting photos in sequence

Lesson 9: Oral presentation

Lesson 10: Ways of working

Lesson 11: Print making

Lesson 12: Fair Trade

Extra material to support your teaching

Moving beyond the classroom, Oxfam GB has partnered with Marks & Spencer to keep clothing out of landfills: “[s]ince 2009, they have diverted over 5 million tonnes of clothing from landfill, and raised £3 million for Oxfam.” (Trewin Restorick, for the Guardian Professional Network)

So, Oxfam is not only a leader in global humanitarian relief, but also in responsible knowledge sharing and cross-sector collaboration with respect to responsible apparel.

Consumer Education

Curb Your Consumption’s Katie Hart, recently asked my opinion on the three most important things consumers need to know, and the difference it would make to the fashion industry if consumers were more educated and conscious about the clothes they buy.

Here are my answers:

What do you think are the 3 most important things consumers need to know?

Consumers need to know and understand their role in, and association with, the social and environmental problems that occur in the lifecycle of a product. In this way, consumers need to take on part of the responsibility for the social and environmental impacts associated with the products they purchase. I don’t see anyway around this. Furthermore, it is crucial that consumers take on this responsibility in terms of their impact in the user end stage of the lifecycle (in laundering habits, for example).  Having said that, it’s equally important for consumers to stay away from feelings of guilt over their purchasing and behavioural decisions, and instead move forward towards feelings of empowerment. How does a consumer gain control, however, when the “best” responsible product on the market only truly represents “the best of the worst”?

In the context of choice, consumers might feel forced to choose between people or planet: People: [social (ex. human rights), cultural (ex. artistic traditions and language), political (ex. corruption), economical (ex. micro-finance), etc.] and Planet: [environment (genetic modification, chemicals, petroleum dependant materials, carbon footprint, environmental impact, biodegradability, etc.), animals (cruelty free, vegan, etc.)]  Consumers are beginning to feel like they can’t have it all—that when they make one good decision, like supporting a cruelty free product, in the context of animal rights, they have endorsed the use of a completely toxic chemical, that hurts both people and planet (take PVC, for example). Consumers need to know the truth, and the truth is that they can have both— it is possible. People are a part of this planet. They cannot be separated, and should not be separated at any stage in any products phase of life. ‘Cradle to Cradle’ design theory embraces this relationship, with respect for “all the children, of all species, for all time” (McDonough and Braungart, 14).

Both consumers and designers need to understand that, when dealing with a corporation, profit will always come before people and planet, so long as the market designer allows. SA supports the theory that designers have to be good enough to create profit without compromising people or planet. Again, it is possible.

Both consumers and designers need to not only understand  the crucial role they play in determining the impact within the lifecycle of a product, but also understand that they don’t necessarily have access to the information needed to make properly informed decisions on the actual social and environmental consequences of that product.

Both consumers and designers need to know that they have a choice. The choice for the consumer is to consume less and demand better. The choice for the designer is to learn more and do better. In doing so, they will each have taken on part of the responsibility for the social and environmental impacts associated with these products and taken responsibility for the social and environmental impacts associated with the products they purchase in terms of their impact on the user end of the lifecycle.

What difference will it make to the fashion industry if consumers are more educated and conscious about the clothes they buy?

Consumers play a crucial role in transforming the fashion industry; without them on board and engaged in the process of transformation, responsible products will ultimately fail. The consumer is the user, after all. If they are not happy, they will look for something else—something better. When consumers become more educated and conscious about the clothes they buy, they become empowered and seek out products with more confidence. SA believes that designers have a responsibility to be more educated and conscious, a responsibility to design something else—something better. Once educated on the issues, consumers can help facilitate change through their purchasing power as the end user.

The customer is King. The customer is the one who sets the rules. The customer is the one who can have an impact on any company.” (Designer Peter Ingwersen, Noir)

To learn more about Noir and what Ingwersen calls “social ethics” click here, and watch the short Documentary for Illuminati II: From the Heart of Africa.

Image Credit: Noir Illuminati II via Inspire Me Please

Winners Announced! Fashioning the Future

Miriam Rhida

Miriam Rhida

I’ve got some exciting news to share with you! On November 25th I won the “Systems for a Sustainable Future Award” in the Fashioning the Future international student competition. This competition is run through the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion. There were 5 winners in total, each representing five separate categories, with forty finalists over all. I’m excited to have had the opportunity to showcase and share my graduate research, and this website.

 

Emma Rigby

Emma Rigby

Zoe Fletcher won the Enterprise & Communication Initiative for a Future Fashion Industry Award (Highly Commended: Ruby Hoette and Julia Crew)

Varun Gambhir won the Role of Materials in a Sustainable Fashion Industry Award (Highly Commended: Karina Micheal)

Mary Hanlon won the Systems for a Sustainable Fashion Industry Award

Miriam Rhida won the Design for a Thriving Fashion Industry Award (Highly Commended: Eleanor Dorrien-Smith and On Ying Lai)

Emma Rigby won the Water – The Right for All Citizens of this Planet Award (Highly Commended: Anne Prahl).

 

 

International competitions such as the Fashioning the Future awards offer students the chance not only to showcase their work, but to benchmark themselves against other students in their field at the international level.

Please visit the Centre for Sustainable Fashion to check out the details of the competition, and the full list of finalists! For more images, check out this photo gallery from The Guardian.

On Ying

On Ying

Also, if you are in London, be sure to stop by London’s City Hall and London College of Fashion to check out the highlights from the 2009 awards. Here are the details:

FASHIONING THE FUTURE AT CITY HALL, 19 November – 4 December 2009
Highlights of the 2009 awards to be showcased at London’s City Hall, with thanks to the London Sustainable Development Commission.
Open to the public, free of charge.
Greater London Authority, City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA

FASHIONING THE FUTURE AT FASHION SPACE GALLERY, 16 November – 11 December 2009
Highlights of the 2009 awards to be showcased at London College of Fashion.
Open to the public, free of charge.
London College of Fashion, 20 John Princes Street, London W1G 0BJ

 Congratulations everyone! And thank you for your support!

 

Images via The Guardian