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Interweave: Exploring society through technology, tools and textiles

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Jo Morrison

Digital Projects Director

Jo Morrison, Digital Projects Director at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, gives us a sneak preview of Interweave, a free one-day event offering an insight into the impact of materials and technology.

I’m currently in the throes of sending artwork for the Interweave programme to the printers and hoping there isn’t a glaring mistake in the copy.
This is just part of the preparation for Interweave; a free one-day event that will be held at London’s world-renowned Victoria and Albert Museum in November which explores how technologies, tools and textiles are influencing far-reaching changes in society.
One of the materials that has had a significant impact on UK societyNew materials, tools and technologies have radically reshaped communities. For instance, materials such as jute, nylon, cement and iron have significantly impacted upon UK society, and today’s nanotechnologies, energy-harvesting materials and digital communications networks will transform everyday experiences in the 21st century. As part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Science 2011, Interweave explores some ways in which people have adapted to radical change, and looks to future challenges for UK society.
In order to explore this area, I’m bringing together a group of leading designers, social scientists, engineers, and curators – whose work I greatly admire – to share some fascinating insights from their research. As well as colleagues from Central Saint Martins, there will be informal talks from Microsoft Research Cambridge, the V&A and Arup, and hands-on workshops with students from Queen Mary, University of London and design consultancy PostlerFerguson, who are in-residence at the museum. My co-director, the V&As wonderful Leanne Manfredi, will even lead a bespoke ‘walkshop’ in the galleries.
The titles of the talks alone are compelling, for instance:

  • How Living Technology Will Radically Change the Way We Design Our Everyday

  • Convergence of the Real and Virtual in the City

  • The V&A’s Collection Through Technological Change

Textile researchThe subject areas include computational biology, digital technologies used in textile design research, and some findings from the V&A’s Decode exhibition, held in 2010. The event offers an opportunity to learn how social science research methods are used directly in the design of materials and products, plus varied ways in which important and complex current issues are being explored in the UK.
While these themes may appear extremely specialised, my hope is that by presenting them in an informal and friendly way, people will be equally fascinated and challenged by the work. The day is aimed at all interested people, and I see the ideas and energy of the Interweave audience as being key to the success of the event – whether they wish to actively participate or have a more contemplative experience.
In fact, I hope the day will be an insightful, dynamic and convivial adventure – so, all curious people are welcome!

Interweave : Exploring society through technology, tools and textiles will be held at the Sackler Centre, Victoria and Albert Museum, London on Thursday 3 November 2011 from 10:30am to 5pm. All sessions are free but booking is required. Visit the V&A bookings and information service or call 020 7942 2211.

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