MakeFashion Edu is achieving something great in education. As Director Carrie Leung explains, “Kids that normally wouldn’t touch tech are now using tech as tools, and kids that normally don’t see themselves as creative, are now seeing themselves as more creative.”
Find out more about this event and MakeFashion Edu here: http://www.makefashion.ca/edu/tucson
Ask almost any teacher or administrator and they can tell you how challenging it is to start a new school program, but beyond that, how challenging (and often controversial) it is to integrate technology into the classroom. Add to that the mounting cuts to arts and creative programs deemed non-essential to improving test scores and thereby the school’s funding, and you’ll have an idea of what programs like MakeFashion Edu are up against, despite the fact that the idea of teaching kids to be innovative, tech-savvy problem solvers has a lot of support both within and outside of schools.
There is a lot to be learned from this documentary feature about this struggle and how these changemakers made this program a reality in Tucson, AZ that culminated in a tech fashion show in January of 2019. They have supported similar programs and events in Shenzhen and Calgary with more to come.
Girls in Tech - “It’s no longer a boy or girl thing, it’s just, ‘We have a story, we want to create this, and this is cool!’”
Local organizer Twila Busby talks about how, “MakeFashion brought together craft, the sewing, the traditional, with some technology, and along with the traditional—kids are saying ‘oh my Nana sews’ … and now I can touch her sewing machine.’” This is to emphasize not only the students connecting with their family on a meaningful level, but also how this program is a welcoming entry point for girls to become comfortable with using technology as a tool. There’s an imaginary line between technical tools like sewing machines and 3D printers both in conception and as gendered objects, but we can see how easy it can be to erase that line in the minds of girls. These young designers learned to code, use LED lights and other electronic tools and products once that opportunity was presented in a welcoming way.
The team behind MakeFashion Edu, the producing non-profit org, SteamHead, and film maker Michael Shaw are members of the Cultivative network, and we’re happy to share this project and support them here.