our active involvement as a lab in shemakes, an important two-year European-Union-funded project under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
Shemakes goal and method
The goal of shemakes is to empower future female innovators of the sustainable fashion industry through inspiration, skills and networks. More specifically, working as a community, shemakes provides innovative learning paths for girls and women of various ages, andconcrete business support and connections to assist female entrepreneurs. A final element is the inspiration provided by the network’s advisors, gurus and ambassadors.
This is a three-pronged approach because we recognize that there is no single, magic formula and we need to operate on multiple planes to break down systemic gender constructs that inhibit many women’s ability to get ahead in the industry.
Part of the solution is to create opportunities and environments that enable women to move into roles of increasing power. This connects directly to the essential role of what this project calls “labs”, which are physical spaces for textile experimentation. These might be fablabs, incubators, research institutes, cultural associations or co-working spaces. In these safe spaces, we develop and test new ideas, carry out learning modules, hold workshops addressing gender issues or female entrepreneurship, and learn how to produce textile differently, with new machinery, methods or simply attitudes.
We recently joined an open call and got selected to participate in two aspects of the project:
WP2 – LEARNING PATH
2.4 INNOVATION PATH (together with WAAG)
- Empowerment of young individual women innovators (25 years up/Fabricademy alumni), and to strengthen and improve the network as a whole;
- Increase the perceived value and employability of the women innovators in the T&C Sector
This Task addresses women innovators aged 25 and up. It focuses on the possible ‘routes to job’ that are open to the women who have been through an alternative professional training, ranging from self–built to more traditional career paths. Led by WAAG together with IAAC and MAKE and extending to four additional transfer Labs in phase two, work is based on a series of interviews with key stakeholders in that area: women innovators and their expectations, institutions that have an influence on gender policies, businesses who want to or have recruited women from different background education and all stakeholders who believe that diversity is key to drive change in the society at large. This leads to a set of hypotheses of ‘job routes’ that can then be tested with relevant Advisors as well as feeding into the work of Task 3.4
WP3 – INNOVATION SERVICES
3.3 LAB TO LAB (with IAAC/FabLab Barcelona)
Lab-to-lab projects are open research spaces to foster collaborative research across labs. They reinforce cooperations between partner labs and create a research-playground to better engage with the transfer labs.Within shemakes, the research focus on the topic of WOOL. To explore the topic of wool in all its complexity, the project partners have created 3 lab-to-lab projects that investigate three different angles or facets to activate research on wool on the extended shemakes labs ecosystem. The distribution of projects follows the 3 notions of TCBL- Place, Design, Make: community mapping, natural dyeing and DIY tools for wool production.
Wool has a rich and deep history. Many techniques have been used from the past century. Various cultures and places are sharing this resource. Quality differs according to the type of species. Nowadays, traditional techniques are facing the risk of being lost, some part of the wool is still burnt in huge amounts, while wool post-consumer waste is poorly valorized. Local communities are numerous wishing to reshape local value-chains around wool, from farmers, spinners, weavers, designers, makers, waste management and up-cycling centres.
How can women be agents of change in moving towards sustainable and ecologically sound textile agriculture and reviving or maintaining cultural practices that benefit biodiversity, regional identity and the local economy?
Shemakes.eu is a two-year European-Union funded initiative (Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement No 101006203) with a consortium of ten partners in seven countries. With the expansion of the network to include twelve new labs at the halfway point, the project now covers 16 countries in the EU and associated countries.
For more information about shemakes, please see the website www.shemakes.eu and follow on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @shemakes_eu).