University of Salford project highly commended at national sustainability awards

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

A stand-out Salford project championing sustainability has been honoured at the prestigious Green Gown Awards.

The Collaboration: Learning and sharing together project has been Highly Commended in the Next Generation Learning and Skills category at the awards which took place virtually earlier this week.


The project

Collaboration: Learning and sharing together

The environmental impacts of the fashion industry are enormous, and Fashion Image Making and Styling (FIMS) students were set the ‘Caring Sharing’ brief which addresses this and empowered students to have the confidence to stand up for the issues they believe in. The brief also equipped them with the capabilities they need to progress sustainable solutions within the fashion industry.

Students worked together in groups of 8 or 10 and were tasked with creating a full ‘look’, with zero-waste and ethical environmental consciousness at its core. Their work was exhibited for a month as part of ‘Go Green Salford’ and showcased everything from trainers with the soles carved into patterns to spread the message, to patchwork blankets made from boiler suits from oil rigs, and luxury sculptural dresses made out of plastic waste. The students also re-created the iconic Louis Vuitton logo as a green party collaboration. 

One group took it to the next level, making mini magazines and contacting a local school, teaching schoolchildren how to reconnect to core skills such as sewing and dying, and spreading the environmental message beyond the University. 

The University was also shortlisted in the same category for the Extinction Rebellion Takeover, where Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology and Design Manchester 2019 joined forces with Extinction Rebellion’s Art Group. The event saw a day of debates and practical workshops, focusing on current environmental topics and how creative thinkers can make a difference.

Christine Ratcliff, Course Leader in FIMS, said: “We are over the moon to have been Highly Commended at the Green Gown Awards. To receive this external acknowledgement the first time we entered is amazing, especially against such tough competition from so many other entries!

“I am so happy that our students are being recognised for trying to make a difference. They worked so hard on this zero-based project and by doing so they became ambassadors and spokespeople for action. We know that the industry is looking for graduates that actually care and act - who know their facts and are passionate about the planet they live on and make work that has depth and meaning.

“It’s beyond important that the young people we teach understand and engage with environmental and sustainable issues, and see it at the heart of everything they do. This is serious, we cannot ignore the facts and we have to act now. In our teaching we can embed the brevity of the seriousness of the climate crisis from the start. Young people are the future, and it is through them we change hearts and minds and set examples for others to follow.

“We come away from this project knowing that every student did amazing work and achieved so much. But it does not end here, it lives on with the work our students continue to do - and there is so much more to be done!”

Bec Bennett, Head of Environmental Sustainability, added: “Our team were delighted to be involved in this important new focus of the FIMS course. We delivered a guest lecture at the start of the project to give students a background to sustainability and to underpin the brief with facts and statistics. We also incorporated the exhibition into our annual colleague & student engagement programme: Go Green Salford.

“It is brilliant to see the students engaging so much with sustainability through this project and our other shortlisted project from the school, the Extinction Rebellion Take Over day. I was privileged to see some of the students’ reflections in their sketchbooks, they really did show a powerful impact. Being Highly Commended in the Green Gown Awards was much deserved recognition for this project!”

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