The Higher Seminars aim to introduce contemporary research and professional work within the field of design, art, media, music and more.
The Higher Seminars consist of lectures around the field of design. Some of the lectures are given by researchers and designers close to home. Others are external to present different methods, know-how and to give insight to discussions across a wide range of issues facing the industry, from sustainability and the human cost of supply chains to opportunities and development in technology.
Throughout the years, a number of seminars have been presented, gathering big thinkers, entrepreneurs and inspiring people who shape the field of arts and design. At times, seminars are interdisciplinary giving the opportunity to cross examine, question and contribute to the development of our own specific fields.
The Higher Seminars primarily target The Swedish School of Textiles' PhD, master and bachelor students of fashion and textile design. However, they are also open and available to all, meaning that anyone can come and listen. If you are not a student or teacher at The Swedish School of Textiles and interested in joining in a seminar, please contact seminar coordinator Saina Koohnavard in advance.
Below, is the schedule for upcoming seminars.
Location and time
When: Tuesdays, even weeks at 13:00-14:30
Where: The Gallery (T154) - ground floor and close to the entrance of Textile Fashion Center, Skaraborgsvägen 3, Borås.
9 January – Erik Gustafsson
"What does the Swedish fashion industry look like? And how do trained designers view the transition from education to working life? These are two of the questions that will be addressed in my lecture. I will share insights from my current research, where I am exploring entrepreneurship within fashion in Sweden from the viewpoint of designers."
Erik Gustafsson is a PhD student at the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Department of Economy and Society, School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. His research focuses on entrepreneurship within the Swedish fashion industry. Through a qualitative study, where recent graduates and alumni from the Swedish School of Textiles are being interviewed, his goal is to better understand how trained designers view commercialisation of their creative output, and what affects the decision to/not to start up an own firm.
23 January – Delia Dumitrescu,
6 February – Ricarda Bigolin
Lecture theme: The Last Collection - Critiquing and performing collections as a critical design practice
Is the ‘collection’ an outmoded way to present design and how does it perform in different contexts? How else might we view the way a 'collection' can be composed in the contemporary context? This research seminar will focus on practice examples including recent projects the interrogate the architecture of a fashion collection through performance as well as it’s composition in relation to materiality, garment reference and archetype and branding. I will refer to examples from research and practice where the way of developing and challenging the format or composition of a collection is interrogated as a form of critical design practice.
Ricarda Bigolin is investigating the performative, sensorial and functional potential of fashion and critical fashion practice. She is a Senior Lecturer and Program Manager of the Master of Fashion (Design) and Honours Year at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Current projects explore the way body performs in luxury fashion via the proposition of a new genre of wearables designed to heighten the experience in different kinds of spaces. Her research is predominantly practice-based and uses expanded strategies to inspire new expressions and ways to practice fashion in and outside of fashion systems. Key practice also includes the collaborative project ‘D & K’ that explores political, social and cultural concerns that affect fashion. D&K was the recipient of the Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge Award (2014) and featured in the now touring exhibition ‘The Future of Fashion is Now’ which debuted at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. The collaborative practice regularly presents work in performance, exhibition, film and publication throughout Australia and internationally.
20 February – Jesper Danielsson
Jesper Danielsson is a BA Fashion Design alumni with a passion for form and function. He graduated in 2013 and has since then worked within creative direction at Adidas on their Advanced Design Team. Today he works as head of design at Houdini.
On his seminar, Jesper will discuss the company’s approach to design through an investigative process. Concepts are reconstructed step by step in order to explore the potential of a material, a process, a silhouette or functional detail. In turn, the need for each element’s existence is questioned in order to reach its innermost core.
With a vision towards owning fewer garments and with garments that can do more, Jesper brings a critical eye to the basic foundations of design that is often taken for granted. After all, designing is not about only moving lines and seams, but also about questioning norms and standards on the journey towards becoming a regenerative company.
Hear more about Houdini’s design philosophy, circular economy and the way to get there on the Higher Seminars.
6 March – Petra Dokken
No story, nothing… A saying in the aboriginal culture, meaning exactly that, without a story you cannot answer the questions defining us as humans. Who am I? Where am I going? Is there a meaning to it all? These are questions asked in Greek mythology as well as contemporary pop culture. My name is Petra Dokken, I have worked as a journalist, writer and storyteller all over the world for more than 15 years. Lucky enough to have met with very successful, wise and creative people – in fashion, travel, media, business, art, architecture... I have researched and experienced. Interviewed, listened, observed - and daydreamt (very important for my own creative process!). And I have learned that everyone has an interesting and unique story to tell. But it seems we need to find the courage to be ourselves to live and tell our own stories. Start with the truth, and someone will listen. Trust me (even in fiction there is always the truth). Working from the inside out, from stillness to movement, expanding the most personal to a wider universal circle. In a novel, an Instagram post, a Hollywood movie, a project description, a song… This is the work and the power of story, and of storytelling. Every time.
20 March – Ida Klamborn
Ida Klamborn is a designer and founder of her own brand with the same name. She graduated from Swedish School of Textiles in 2013 from the MA Fashion Design program. Since four years she works from Stockholm with the brand and other projects on the side.
Ida will talk about her own experience of starting a brand from scratch, the importance of collaboration and focus on showing what’s behind the scenes. She encourages the listener to be a part of the seminar and to feel free to ask questions.
12 April – Hussein Chalayan
By pushing boundaries, introducing new mediums and new contexts, internationally renowned and critically acclaimed fashion designer Hussein Chalayan has throughout his work continuously invited the viewer to the language and relationship of body and space. His collections convey the curiosity of transformation, technology and cross-disciplinary approaches incorporating urban architecture, geometric structures and contemporary interiors. All to explore the potential and power of the idea.
Hussein Chalayan graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in 1993, starting his own label the year after. He has since then been named the British designer of the year in 1999 and 2000, appointed as creative director of TSE NY in 1998 and of Puma in 2008. In 2015, Vionnet chose Chalayan as a member of their creative team. He has recently been appointed professor of Fashion at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.
4 May – Lea Nordström, Kvadrat
Kvadrat is the perfect example of how the industry meets the art world.
For this final seminar, I would like to present the Danish textile company that I am so proud to be a part of. I will tell you how this 50-year-old company stands true to its design values and heritage while we always keep an eye on the future needs of our clients and the environment.
I will tell you all there is to know about the people, the culture and our passion for Textiles, Colours, Art, Materials and Technology.
I will share our core purpose and introduce you to our way of thinking and working with designers, suppliers and collaborations with external partners. Especially, how a group of textile designers, textile engineers, a PhD researcher and one anthropologist leads the research and product development from start to finish.
The final Higher Seminars of this semester introduces the internationally renowned textile design company Kvadrat. Since 1968, the company has been leading in the field of textile innovation, producing contemporary high-quality textiles. We are pleased to welcome technical manager and alumni Lea Nordström who will discuss Kvadrat's philosophy and its commitment to continuously push the boundaries of aesthetic, creative and technological advancement in textile design.
3 October – Yuko Watanabe
Lecturer Yuko Watanabe is The Swedish School of Textiles' new Artist-in-Residence from Bunka Gakuen University. Her seminar will focus around traditional Japanese textiles and garments; their history and source of inspiration for many artists and designers throughout the years.
The seminar will also focus on the current challenges and issues of textile production of today; issues that Watanabe suggests original and traditional methods could help solve. By visiting traditional textile producers in Japan, Watanabe has researched methods of applying traditional textiles to contemporary design.
17 October – Moa Kärnstrand and Tobias Andersson Åkerblom
In the western world, there is often a discussion of democratisation of fashion, of how the cheaper clothing lines make it possible for all people to dress fashionably. The latest trends are available to customers in a rapid speed. Yet, there is a downside to the clothing industry. In 2013, the worst industrial incident of our time occurred killing 1129 people when a clothing factory collapsed in Dhaka. Since then, the process for change has gone slow. Even today, life-threatening factories, deadly poisons and child labour are discovered. How can this go on?
Journalists Moa Kärnstrand and Tobias Andersson Åkerblom study the post-war clothing industries in Sweden, from Borås to low-wage countries in Asia, to tell the story of the people who pay the true price of cheap fashion. Their book Modeslavar is the story of an industry with much to hide. The truth behind the large clothing companies is exposed as well as the consequences of a business model that aims to chase the world's lowest prices. In addition to that, Kärnstrand and Andersson Åkerblom give examples of fashion companies striving for change with ideas about what a sustainable clothing industry of the future could entail.
Note! Room: C203 (Balder) Time: 14:00-16:30
31 October – Malin Bobeck
My work revolves around exploring new ways of interaction. Through my interactive, light emitting textile installations I invite people to experience new environments and ways of interaction.
I weave textiles with a combination of traditional textile material, optical fiber and conductive yarn. To make them come alive I connect them to micro computers, LEDs and sensors.
I use my textiles as a base to build unknown worlds that let you escape the reality for a while.
My process reaches from concept building, interaction design and constructing the textile to the physical building of the installation.
During my talk at Swedish School of Textiles I will present the path I took after I graduated in 2014. I will showcase some of my work and go through the current project I’m working on. I will share the points I found most important in being brave enough to do your own thing and my best tips on how to do it.
Go to Malin Bobecks website.
14 November – Hanna Wittrock
Lecture theme: Morality, Myth Making and the Magic in the World of Fashion
Even though fashion has been a topic of research for more than a century, it is not yet fully understood. On the one hand, fashion is perceived to be a motor and an expression of modern society. Fashion is associated with progress, individualism and economic development. Occasionally it is also tied to more general, beneficiary, non-profitable values, such as pluralism, democracy and tolerance, as well.
On the other hand, fashion is regularly believed to bring forth negative effects such as superficiality, immorality and excessive consumption. A recent example of a morally charged debate in the world of fashion is that concerning the photographer Terry Richardson who on numerous occasions has been accused of sexual exploitation of models.
Fashion is intimately linked to modernity and industrial mass production but it is equally associated with magical thinking and tradition. And while habitually accused of deceptiveness, it is also understood to be one the most effective channels of communication.
The views are equally split when it comes to the current status of fashion. Some argue that fashion is no longer dictating the norms of appearance. According to this view it is up to each and everyone to create an identity through stylistic, consumer based choices. Others claim that fashion has penetrated every social sphere so we no longer can think outside fashion.
To state that fashion is one of the most ambiguous, morally charged and mythical phenomena of the modern world is in other words not an exaggeration. In this lecture social anthropologist Hanna Wittrock will focus on fashion as a site of (im)morality, magical thinking and myth making. A special emphasis will be placed on the moral dimension of the expressions of fashion. How “free” is fashion in its communication? How can we understand the relation between phenomena such as cultural appropriation and aesthetic cannibalism, on the one hand, and artistic freedom and pluralism, on the other? Why is fashion so intensely morally charged? And why does it matter to us as consumers or designers? Hanna will approach these themes by discussing both particular expressions of fashion and the principle of fashion, more precisely the fashion cycle.
28 November – Omforma
What does the design industry mean to all of those who work in it? That is the main questions a group of designers decided to investigate to be able to answer. They found an industry, divided by gender, that discriminates against age and ethnicity and is characterised by a power elite with similar background, values and aesthetic consensus.
The work of Omforma (English translation: Reform), targets designers, politicians, companies, organisations and institutions that work within the design field. The association is also addressed to others who want to know how structures of power can affect a small industry or business. Omforma aims to investigate and develop the conditions in the design area. The project has conducted a study of the working situation for designers based on diversity and equality and initiated initiatives to address inequality.
Today, Omforma is a nonprofit organisation. It was founded in 2016 as a logical continuation of their study that came out the same year. Their work involves politics, research and conversations, focusing on making people's working life in the design industry more feminist, anti-racist, intersectional and inclusive. Omforma wants to bring about social change for the profession, and ultimately for the users of the products that are the result of our practice.
"Before our studies, there had never before been proper research about working conditions and power structures within the design area. We wanted to study the active designers' perspectives on these matters as well as inclusion and exclusion within the profession. We took help from researchers and democracy experts to analyse our data and to get an overview of the industry"
12 December – Prof. Clemens Thornquist
Lecture theme: Applied Art and Fine Design
Design is most often grounded in studio-based and case-based approaches where products, scenarios and situations are re-considered, subsequent to the equally often taken for granted applied character of design as a field.
As an alternative to this approach in I will argue for the significance of basic research in the development of design skills and design thinking. It means that together with developing design skills through e.g. integrative studies and participatory projects, basic design research focuses on the explorations of definitions and methods – the ontological and logical foundations of design as an academic discipline – for the sake of developing the field of design itself.