As part of our ongoing international research collaboration with Kyoto University of Art and Design, we have initiated a new project blog. The multi-disciplinary research project Belonging & Belongings investigates how people express their identities through a mix of fashion and communication technologies. What makes people feel they belong to a certain group of people, and how do their belongings (physical and virtual, garments and media) express this belonging? So far we have done a series of pilot studies in Japan and the UK. In the coming year we are continuing the investigation in more depth and work towards a magazine, a book and an exhibition.
This project is a collaboration with our dear friend Dr. Daijiro Mizuno, who is the director of the Critical Design Lab at the University of Art and Design in Kyoto, Japan. Daijiro is one of the few people in the world with a PhD in Fashion Design Research. As his work has been significantly informed by Cultural Studies, it has many connections to the more Technology and Media related Design Research we do at STBY. Discussing our work together with Daijiro, we realised that although we do a lot of ethnographic research on how people use portable technologies and what this means to their daily lives, we seldom look at this in relation to the way they dress (their sartorial appearance as Daijiro calls it). In turn Fashion Design Research mainly looks at people’s sartorial appearances, without taking into account what they actually carry around in their pockets and what this means to the way they express their identities. We jointly initiated the project with Daijiro to further explore the inter-relations between our different Design Research fields. We have found that there is a lot to learn. The ongoing project has already helped us to broaden our view on mobile subcultures in urban environments.