Mathilda Research What's up Workshops

  1. Power workshop at Nordes design conference

    Power workshop, Nordes, AHO, Oslo, 1 July, 2017

    Design + Power was the theme of Nordes 2017 design conference, hosted by AHO, Oslo. There was a great line up of keynote speakers, including Dori Tunstall, OCADU, Canada, the first black dean (this was highlighted by Professor Tunstall herself) of a design school. She spoke of the experience of decolonizing art and design conference, and set the red thread for a conference with many interesting contributions and discussions around  decolonization and the inherent necessity of challenging the modernist project of/by design. A question that ran through my head during the conference was whether we are now colonizing the term decolonizing. I was also thinking about how we can consider all human settlement on our planet as colonialism. My colleagues Åsa Ståhl and Sara Hyltén-Cavallius (Department of Design, Linnaeus University) and I ran a workshop entitled ‘How Can We Critically & Creatively Engage with Power Relations in Collaborative Design Research?’. We selected power ‘cruxes’ from the development project BOOST, and together with 25 participants we enacted these in front of a video camera, watched the film, and discussed how power relations, both at the level of the hands-on research situation, and in terms of the institutions and metanarratives that underpin and enable research, can be changed. This was a high risk workshop both to facilitate and participate in, and we were very grateful to participants for generous engagement. We came away with many insights, including the question of how to let silence and non-participation play a bigger role in collaborative research.

  2. BOOST metadesign learning cycle

    This spring we have been engaging in an exciting learning cycle for the project BOOST.

    BOOST metadesign learning cycle, Skype, 27 June, 2017

    BOOST metadesign is based at the Department of Design, Linnaeus University, and conducted by Mathilda Tham, Sara Hyltén-Cavallius and Åsa Ståhl. The three-year-long development project explores needs of and dreams for housing and inhabiting at the intersection of migrants, students and an ageing population in a context of sustainability, and in the region of Småland, southern Sweden. The exploration is mainly taking place through collaborative workshops together with students, migrants and older people (wiser people, super adults, senior citizens, older adults) as well as architects, city planners, representatives for housing societies and municipalities. This will generate scenarios and guidelines directed at decision makers and citizens. To enrich and contextualize the practice, Anette Lundebye and Hannah Jones (Stanford University) have identified a series of practical examples and theory, in the remit of housing and our particular audiences. Specifically, we are interested in intergenerational housing concepts and practices. We set up a Skype learning cycle where practice and theory are shared and discussed and we generate ideas for the next steps. A key theme that we discuss are the norms around housing, ownership, temporalities of a home, the standard of a home, the amount of space privacy requires.


    How can designers free design? Design School Kolding, Denmark, 1 June, 2017

    The Cumulus Redo Conference, Design School Kolding, 30 May-2 June, 2017 focused on ‘redoing’ – design and education, society. The unusually interactive and outwards-facing design conference kicked off with a workshop including all delegates where we, in small groups, identified concrete challenges and some hands-on steps in order to redo. I was proud to be one of the keynote speakers (others included Rachel Cooper, Ezio Manzini). The starting point of my talk ‘How can designers free design?’ was a reminder ‘freedom, freefy’ that for the last ten years have gone off each morning at 8am on my three synchronized digital devices. The first is to remind me that I am free which I, and probably other people too, often forget. The second, ‘freefy’, is to remind me that because I have freedom to move, I also have a responsibility to use it. (By this I don’t mean movement by trains and planes, but moving my head, my thoughts, my actions, my criticality, my creativity to new, and sometimes uncomfortable places and encounters, to probe, challenge, open up and try to be generous.) I argued that freedom can be compared to stretching, and that when we don’t stretch into a full potential, the unfilled freedom space may translate into surrogates like overconsumption. I also argued that design intrinsically is a practice of negotiating freedoms, but that, as we sometimes turn too anxiously to other fields (or when are too cool for school), lose some important potentials for design. The talk ended with Let it Go, a power and freedom ballad of our youngest generation.

  4. BOOST: ‘Future of Home’ facilitation guide

    BOOST ‘Future of Home’ facilitation guide, Spring 2017

    During Spring 2017, Hannah Jones and Anette developed a set of metadesign workshops and a facilitation guide as part of the BOOST metadesign project led by Mathilda Tham at the Department of Design, Linnaeus University. The guide includes: a definition of metadesign and crucial concepts and principles, alongside facilitation guidelines for a set of metadesign tools to lead a ‘dreams & needs’ workshop and a ‘future of home’ workshop. These were used by Sara Hyltén-Cavallius and Åsa Ståhl in a series of collaborative workshops together with students, migrants and older people as well as architects, city planners, building companies, housing associations and municipalities to explore the needs, dreams and visions to inform the ‘Future of Home’ in the region of Småland, Sweden.

  5. Launch of Småland Living Lab

    Labhall, Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden 27. October, 2016.

    A year after the idea of a Småland Living Lab was born, we designed and facilitated a multi-stakeholder one-day workshop to synergise knowledge and interests, and generate concrete ideas for projects in the remit of sustainability in Småland. The 41 participants went through a day of cooking, thinking, talking, mapping, making and forging new connections across: local authorities, NGO’s, researchers, industry, cultural sector, craft, small-hold farming and more. Now we are exploring the rich material that came out and preparing it for a next stage of funding applications and living lab’ing.

  6. Acclimitize Moderna Museet

    Acclimatize Journal, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 20. October, 2016

    How can I be a drama queen in the world? is Mathilda’s contribution to Acclimitize Journal.  Moderna Museet, Stockholm have created the online exhibition on climate change with contributions from scientists, artists, thinkers, sustainability activists.

  7. Metadesigning Futures

    Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, London, 18. September 2016

    As part of London Design Festival and Creative Matters: A New Forum for Creative Futures (15 – 18 September 2016) –  the metadesign research team invited to the event: Metadesigning Futures to celebrate several decades of research from the MA Design Futures programme at Goldsmiths. With the on-going question of how creativity is harnessed in the world, and how designers can play a more effective role in change? the participants (a mixture of experts, including graduates, lecturers and researchers who have developed and/or applied aspects of metadesign to their work,) engaged in playful speculation about possible futures through a series of short talks and workshops. Mathilda and Anette facilitated the ‘Bisociating New Futures’ workshop – a playful and rapid exercise to tease out fresh and possibly surprising new concepts as an alternative to collective brainstorming.


  8. Curious Design Change workshop

    Curious Design Change Workshop at Linnaeus University, Sweden, 16. October 2015.

    To launch the design research platform Curious Design Change that Mathilda leads at Linnaeus University, Sweden, we designed and delivered a transdisciplinary workshop. The 30 participants included researchers from the fields of design, literature, gender studies, archeology, economics, history, informatics, and some externals — energy authority, municipality, business incubator. The workshop took place in the huge wood and metal workshop in three consecutive sessions on: Curiosity (mapping research interests and possible synergies), Change (possible strategies for implementation) and food for thought (making an organic lunch with a local chef). The question guiding the session was ‘what is the potential of our collaborations?’ and to explore what new and exciting transdisciplinary research may emerge between design and various fields such as gender studies or …  Imagine a new field called:Intergalactic gender expression!

  9. Designing with the other 90%

    Cumulus Johannesburg, 22-24 September. 2014

    In September 2014, the Cumulus conference Designing with the 90%, took place in Johannesburg. The conference proceedings are now available on-line. They include Mathilda Tham’s paper Off-centre – a call for humble lessons for design which offers a critique of and a creative response to a Western centric and anthropocentric worldview in design and design education.

  10. Nordes Design ecologies

    Nordes Design Ecologies. Stockholm, June 2015

    Mathilda is co-chair, with Martin Avila, Håkan Edeholt and Bo Westerlund, of Nordes conference Design ecologies – challenging anthropocentricism in design which will take place at Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, in June 2015.

    This will be an exciting event with a mix of contributions from visionary scholars and practitioners, on the themes of sustainability and politics, economics, technology education, and even some wildcards.


  11. Routledge Handbook for Sustainability and Fashion


    Routledge, London, 2015

    Routledge Handbook for Sustainability and Fashion, which Mathilda has co-edited with Kate Fletcher, is now out. With the bold ambition of setting the research agenda for fashion and sustainability for the next ten years, the book comprises chapters from a broad range of key scholars and practitioners in the field of sustainability/fashion, including John Thackara, John Ehrenfeldt, Lynda Grose, Ann Thorpe, Otto von Busch, Joanne Entwistle. Mathilda’s chapter Futures of futures studies in fashion draws on a framework for peace building to explore new pathways for sustainability endeavours in fashion.

  12. Oxford Design Charette

    Oxford, St Hilda's College. 26 August, 2014.

    In August 2014 the staff at Department of Design, Linnaeus University, Sweden gathered in Oxford for two intensive learning days in preparation for the launch of two new degree programmes, Design + Change and Visual Communication + Change , in 2015.  Mathilda and Anette facilitated a design charette which  enabled the staff to go through the six terms of the three years of the degree programmes in one intense day!

    A key insight was how valuable an immersive process without disruptive show-and-tells can be. The staff engaged in a series of mini-projects, involving mapping, role-play, making and more, staying inside the process all day long. Instead of formal presentations of project results, each term ended with a quiet moment of ‘graphic harvesting’ of experiences through means of drawing and writing.

  13. Mapping Design – across all times and everything

    Workshop, Department of Design, Goldsmiths, University of London, 6 February 2013

    Mathilda facilitated a workshop with the BA Design first year students, as part of their contextual course Ecology and Design. In the workshop we explored how objects of design are influenced by, and influence difference aspects of society and over time  – a really big scale outlook on design, based in the materiality of and our relationships with everyday objects. We used Stewart Brand’s model of civilization, with six layers from the very slow, ‘nature’, through ‘culture’, ‘governance’, ‘infrastructure’, ‘commerce’ to the very fast, ‘fashion’ as a starting point, adding a continuum from ‘positive’ to ‘negative’ impact. We plotted the model on the floor of the big workshop space, placing objects we had brought in where we thought they best fit. Then we used string to explore links between different objects and layers. This was a process of negotiation and provoked challenging discussions. Did the clock origin from culture or governance? What is its contribution to our lifestyles today? And what about sneakers?

    Brand, S. 1999. The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

  14. Global Leadership Award for the apparel sector

    Award ceremony at the Architecture Museum in Stockholm, 30 January 2013

    Mathilda, in her role as Associate of Sustainable Fashion Academy, Sweden, co-moderated the award ceremony and panel debate Global Leadership Award at the Architecture Museum in Stockholm. The award was presented to DEFRA and WRAP for their important work on the Sustainable Clothing Roadmap and Action Plan in the UK. The panel debate, which was part of the award ceremony, featured the Swedish Environmental Minister, Lena Ek, Helena Helmersson, Head of Sustainability at fashion giant H&M, and prominent guests from the UK, including Jennifer Decker of WRAP, the Baroness Lola Young, parliamentarian in the House of Lords. Here many important issues were raised and even some pledges were made.

  15. Fashion in the Anthropocene

    Konstfack, Stockholm, 17 January 2013

    Mathilda delivered the lecture Metadesign and Fashion – How can we mobilise design sensibilities for sustainable products, systems and paradigms? at the Anthropocene seminar hosted by department of Industrial Design, Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm and organized by Martin Avila. The seminar explored design’s role in the anthropocene – “the human age”, our current geological period. Other speakers were Garry Peterson, Professor of Environmental Sciences, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Jakob von Heland, Filmmaker and consultant on human ecology and resilience. You can see Mathilda’s lecture here.

  16. Slow and Fast Fashion

    LCF, London, 27 November 2012

    The new and richly illustrated The Sustainable Fashion Handbook edited by Professor Sandy Black and published by Thames & Hudson was launched with a talk by the editor at London College of Fashion. Mathilda has contributed with the chapter Slow and fast fashion – Towards honouring the fashion moment in environmental strategies for fashion. The text discusses scenarios for new ways of engaging with fashion, from producer and user perspectives, and draws on empirical research from the Lifetimes project (with Dr Kate Fletcher) and Mathilda’s own PhD project Lucky People Forecast. The book includes texts from leading experts and thinkers in the field, including Dr Kate Fletcher and Professor Otto von Busch and interviews with and statements from key actors, such as Vivienne Westwood.
    Tham, M. (2012). Slow and fast fashion – Towards honouring the fashion moment in environmental strategies for fashion. In Black, S. (ed.) The Sustainable Fashion Handbook. London: Thames and Hudson.

  17. Green Shades of Shame

    Vestoj, Paris, summer 2012

    A new issue of Vestoj – The Journal of Sartorial Matters is out, on the intriguing and important subject of shame. Mathilda has contributed the paper The Green Shades of Shame which explores the role of shame in a lack of engagement with sustainability in fashion, and generally. The paper argues that shame is part of the very construction of fashion itself, and even that society needs fashion as a condensed zone of shame. It calls for a more nuanced discussion on fashion and sustainability which fully embraces the complex individual and societal motivations that contribute to making fashion.

    Tham, M. (2012). The Green Shades of Shame. Vestoj – The Journal of Sartorial Matters. Issue 3.

  18. Stockholm + 40

    Stockholm, 5 march 2012










    Mathilda is presenting her proposal to change the paradigm of consumption to Swedish ministers today, as part of Stockholm +40 (40 years on from the first UN environment conference, held in Stockholm in 1972, and 20 since Rio). It’s being webcast here starting at midday UK time, but obviously all in Swedish. She’s on after Johan Rockström from the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

  19. Languaging Fashion and Sustainability

    Nordic Textile Journal, University of Borås, Borås 2010

    Mathilda contributed a paper to the Nordic Textile Journal’s special issue on communication. Her piece explores the potential of language and a process of languaging as powerful design interventions that can be auspiciously directed at the paradigm level of a system – in this instance the fashion system, with the aim of achieving more a sustainable fashion industry. The article critically and creatively synthesizes and builds upon some of the researcher’s previous work, in the realm of fashion and sustainability, and metadesign.

    Tham, M. (2010). Languaging fashion and sustainability – towards synergistic modes of thinking,
    wording, visualising and doing fashion and sustainability. The Nordic Textile Journal, Special Issue
    Fashion Communication. 1/2010. 14-23.


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