Reality, Reciprocity, Resilience
Scoping a decolonised process of designing for cultural sustainability with refugee communities.
This report discusses ‘Reality, Reciprocity, Resilience’, a participatory practice research project led by Dr Francesco Mazzarella, with the aim to investigate and value the lived experiences of London-based refugees and asylum seekers in relation to the themes of cultural sustainability and community resilience. The research intended to rethink and address the diverse needs and aspirations of refugee communities and find ways to honour their diverse cultures. It also intended to overcome cultural appropriation practices undertaken by fashion brands, and decolonise dominant design practices.
The report discusses the outcomes of ethnographic research, storytelling sessions and co-creation workshops that led to understanding the lived reality of refugees, mapping out ways to build resilience within the local community and collectively framing a vision for a sustainable future. As a result, the project contributed to amplifying the refugees’ voice and agency, re-examining research methods and advancing a cultural sustainability agenda within a fashion and textile industry context.