Building a Zero Waste Community - Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship 2018
In November 2017 I applied for a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to research how to 'Build a Zero Waste Community'. My research proposal had three strands; Education, Design and Community. I proposed that I visit cities and businesses of best practice in order to develop ideas that could be applied to my own city of Belfast in the north of Ireland in order to develop a more conscious community. After a lengthy application and interview process (by none other than Winston Churchill's grandson!), I was granted the Fellowship. It was like winning the golden ticket (a recyclable one obviously).
I proposed that I visit 4 countries with several cities in between; Zurich, Copenhagen, New York, San Francisco and Vancouver. I have since added Portland and Toronto to the travel list. I will retrospectively post the Zurich and Copenhagen trips in due course here also. The three elements to my research are briefly explained below.
Alongside Jump The Hedges I lecture part time in Fashion Design at NCAD and Belfast School of Art and in Materials & Fabrics at Dublin Institute of Technology. There is huge opportunity to apply Zero Waste thinking and methods to the Design process and it needs to start in Design Education. Within my proposal my aim was to meet with Zero Waste Design Education leaders to see how they are implementing this kind of thinking to their teaching process.
The aim for the Design element was to visit companies that have embraced Zero Waste design and built a successful business utilising it. From companies that make products from recycled materials to businesses that place great emphasis on sustainability I wanted to understand the processes and the journeys taken to be a sustainable business.
My studio in North Belfast is part of a creative collective called The Little America Congress that consists of sourdough baker The Working Kitchen, architecture firm, Oscar and Oscar, artist Dollybirds Art and weaver Olla Nua. My focus for the community element of my research was to understand how zero waste works within a collective environment from co working, co living to eco farming.