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Social sustainability approaches in electronic textiles crafts communities

Greinke, Berit; Sametinger, Florian; Baker, Camille; Bryan‐Kinns, Nick; Hernandez, Lucie; Ranaivoson, Heritiana

FG Transdisziplinäre Nachhaltigkeitsforschung in der Elektronik

This paper reports on results from the EU H2020 WEAR project, which between 2017-2019 has facilitated sustainable innovation processes in the field of smart textiles and wearable technology. 46 design-technology interdisciplinary projects and start-ups throughout Europe were selected through two Open Calls, and funded to develop creative solutions for a broad range of sustainability challenges within the relevant industries. The paper outlines collaboration between two WEAR teams (KOBA, Touch Craft) as makers and facilitators and their audiences through crafts and practical making of electronic textiles artefacts. In particular, it reports how engagement with communities (as customers and/or co-creators) was used to increase social cohesion and well-being as social sustainability potential. Findings highlight the importance of quality of interaction, in particular, ongoing, in-person exchange, either between crafter and customer (KOBA) or facilitator and crafts community groups (Touch Craft). It further emerged that social cohesion could contribute to finding solutions to environmental and economic challenges, through encouraging local production, made-to-order production and local business development.