Transmission in Motion Seminar (2020-2021): “When Designer Meets Academic – Theory and Practice of Smart Clothing” – Lianne Toussaint (Utrecht University) and Pauline van Dongen (Eindhoven University of Technology”)
When fashion designer Pauline van Dongen and Media and Culture scholar Lianne Toussaint first met within the context of their PhD projects on wearable technology in 2013, both had little knowledge of each other’s work and practice. During this TiM session, Van Dongen and Toussaint will present the results of their collaboration ever since and discuss how they mutually inspire each other with their respective design and research practices. How can academic debate and theory influence the work and career of a designer specialized in smart clothing, and vice versa? Does theory as it is taught at art/fashion school differ from how it is presented and used within academia? What does a design perspective have to offer to academic research within the field of Media and Culture Studies?
The first part of the meeting consists of a short presentation of the work and background of both speakers, followed by a Q&A. The second part will take the form of an open conversation between Van Dongen and Toussaint around topics such as embodiment, new materialities, agency and intentionality of design, data ethics and research through design.
- Van Dongen, Pauline & Lianne Toussaint. (2020). In Touch with the Now – Stimulating Mindfulness through a Smart Denim Jacket. ArtEZ Platform for Research Interventions of the Arts (APRIA), 1 (1), (pp. 112-119) (8 p.). https://apria.artez.nl/in-touch-with-the-now/
Lianne Toussaint is a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Media and Culture Studies of Utrecht University. Her research focuses on wearable technology, and relations between the human body, technology and garments. Based on her PhD research (2013-18), she wrote the dissertation Wearing Technology: When Fashion and Technology Entwine.
Toussaint received a Fulbright Visiting scholarship in 2015 to conduct research on fashion and technology in New York City. She publishes on the topic of fashion, the body and technology in both peer-reviewed international journals and a popular academic context. Her most recent research project ‘Caring Clothing Tech’, focuses on the wearability of protective garments for healthcare professionals. See https://www.uu.nl/medewerkers/LToussaint1
Pauline van Dongen is a fashion designer specialized in smart clothing and textiles. With her design studio, she develops alternatives for fashion by exploring how technology, such as electronics and smart materials, can add new value and meaning to clothing and can enhance the way we experience the world around us. Her studio received international recognition with projects such as the Solar Shirt, Phototrope and Issho. Pauline also received several nominations for her work: she was selected by Forbes for their list of ‘Top 50 Women in Tech Europe’ (2018) and as ‘MIT Innovator under 35 Europe’ (2017).
With her vision and through a hands-on, ‘material aesthetics’ approach she emphasizes the value of the physical, sensory experience of clothing and its nurturing qualities. This is central to her PhD dissertation entitled: A Designer’s Material-Aesthetics Reflections on Fashion and Technology with which she received her doctoral degree from Eindhoven University of Technology in 2019. Besides running her own design studio, Pauline is a member of the advisory board of the ‘ArtEZ Fashion Professorship’, of the Dutch initiative ‘New Order of Fashion’, and of the program board of ‘CLICKNL’.
*Image credits: Issho by Pauline van Dongen. Photography: Sharon Jane D.