Resilience + Resistance

Starting at the end and working back to the beginning of last night’s seminar on Resilience + Resistance at UAL: Chelsea. The thought that resonates most is the variety and diversity of the understanding and use of the two words; the applicability of each word to different contexts and disciplines across the academic spectrum of the arts and beyond; the elasticity and flexibility of the ideals; and the different takes and the commonality across the colleges academic focus, projects and pedagogy. Closing the discussion Prof. Ezio Manzini highlights that

“Diversity is the key to resilience. If we are diverse, we are resilient.”

Hearing academics from various backgrounds and disciplines, we begin to understand more about the relationship between sustainability and resilience: resilience within the education platform, the political bigger picture, within teaching tools and technology, the economic landscape, empathy and beyond, as well as the resistance that is faced within the same areas.

Resilience in Textiles

Two strands were obvious, the physical idea of resilience and the emotional aspect. As designers/makers of course we have a particular interest in the physical aspect, from a materiality point of view. But the two seem intrinsically entwined. Is the material resilience in the construction, the fibre, the physicality of the textile or in the attitudes of the user.

Creative resilience and the ability to see an object as something more than its function, to strip it down to its core elements. To see the impact socially, physically and politically. To understand the true resilience of a product is to understand its material composite. To comprehend the life of the material beyond your use. When an object is no longer useful, is it useless?

The culture of resilience – physically and emotionally, could be an understanding of the value of creativity beyond object making and crafting. Understanding the value of the time spent, the materials touched, the cultural connection to the material object, the cloth, the piece. The passive learning, the untested learning, a deeper level of understanding. Is our culture resilient in this material global context? Does education make us more resilient, or more resilient on learned specifics, memorization and learnt skills? Does our lack of emphasis on individuality and non-academic learning make us less resilient?

Adaptability is resilience. Establishing frameworks, models and system that disrupt and rethink the current models is resilience.

Does improved technology and high quality tools promote resilience or stunt us? Are we less able to adapt and bend as a result of our reliance on specialized tools? Are we less willing to be disruptive?


The Event Line Up:



David Cross – Resilience, Resistance and sustainability

Dr Thanasis Velios – Linux: a resilient open system

Charlotte Webb – The Work We Want: resilient economies of digital labour

Dr Katrine Hjelde – Resistant resilience: preparing students for life after University

David Buckland and Professor Chris Wainwright – Cape Farewell

Dr Edwina Fitzpatrick – Course Leader MA Fine Art/ Course Leader MFA Fine Art, Wimbledon College of Art

Kristina Kotov – An autonomous, collective, educational research/making space in Lithuania

Professor Rebecca Earley – Teaching Textile Resilience

Shibboleth Shechter and Mariana Pestana – Proposals as tools for engagement and change

Angela Hodgson-Teal – Empathy as resilience

Dr Marsha Bradfield – The Marketplace of Ideas

Professor Ezio Manzini – Response in relation to Cultures of Resilience


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