Unravelling the Myth of Universalism
Guest Lecturing at the London College of Fashion
We were asked to speak at the London College of Fashion, as part of a panel formed to address the question of ‘how can we integrate global perspectives and nuance within the fashion industry, and beyond?' After which we had been invited to lecture the 2nd and 3rd year students on the same subject.
In true And Beyond style, we approached the brief very differently.
Firstly, while the rest of the panel spoke about the need to address the lack of nuance, we suggested that the issue was not a lack of nuance, it was our ontological inability to recognise nuance. That instead we should interrogate the systems of knowledge that present themselves as universal truth, giving rise to the fallible logic that 'incorporating nuance' is the solution rather than addressing the fundamental paradigms of the system itself.
It is from these paradigms, this way of knowing the world, that our modern day crises stem, which makes the idea of inclusion seem, at this point, like an invitation to a seat on the deck of the Titanic. Continuing with the notion that we need to include, incorporate, or integrate nuance into anything, will ultimately be the death of nuance.
Rather than stand in front of the students and unilaterally lecture at them, we used this opportunity as a participatory experiment, introducing the idea of 'incorporating global perspectives' as a personal Practice of Plurality.
We designed and held a 'safe' container to reflect, explore, play, and listen; to get the concept of ‘global perspectives’ and plurality on an embodied level, in order to apply it intuitively. This included exploring our own edges, identifying these reductive narratives within ourselves ~ where they start to feel unintelligent within our own bodies, observing and leaning into where they begin to grate against our own existence; and exploring different ways of knowing and the perspectives of non-human & temporal actors.
After such high engagement and positive feedback from students, we are delighted to been invited back a number of times to design and facilitate modules for different courses and year groups.