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Empowering persons with disabilities globally through arts-based engagement

30 Jan 2024

Shows & Exhibitions

Students learn about expressive textile artworks, and tailoring and creating fashion prototypes to cater to different needs of PWDs during ten-day service trip in Danang.

SFT and DAU students apply practical skills acquired through lessons and co-created unique expressive textile artwork with CORMIS member.

The Show is first-of-its-kind featuring co-designed fashion planned, executed, and modelled by CORMIS members. Reimagines who can be a runway model and celebrates PWDs, in anticipation of eliminating stereotypes, one catwalk at a time.

Recipient Ms Đặng Thị Bé expresses herself through co-created fashion outfit with Toby Chan (left), Moon (middle) and Mavis Hung.

Visit to CORMIS

Fashion can transcend trends and be a tool for empowerment.

25 PolyU students teamed up with 10 persons with disabilities (PWDs) from the Centre of Research and Community Inclusive Support (CORMIS) of Vietnam and 10 students from Danang Architecture University (DAU) in Da Nang, Vietnam to co-create 10 expressive textile artworks and fashion prototypes with heartfelt stories. These creative works were showcased at a fashion show on 12 January at DAU.

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This activity is the learning outcome of a service-learning subject of SFT called “Community engagement through expressive textile arts and fashion” and a collaborative effort of SFT, PolyU’s Service-Learning and Leadership Office (SLLO), CORMIS and DAU. The aim of the activity is to reduce the stigma of PWDs and increase their self-confidence, and allow  students of the two universities to show their support to underprivileged groups through expressive textile arts.

Dr Jin Lam, Assistant Professor and Subject Leader said: “Clothing is a basic human need, and people living with disabilities should have access to fashion that excites and empowers them. This is the first cohort of the outbound service-learning programme, kick-started with students from different disciplines who attended fashion and textiles design lectures, participated in intensive hands-on sewing and crafting training, and took part in online training and meetings with DAU students. The students and participants concluded the trip with an amazing and emotional catwalk show. I was grateful to witness all the students and participants expressing their individuality and personality through the co-design process.”

“It's supportive, it's collective, thanks to PolyU and DAU students. We're coming together to show that we're like everyone else. The programme shows the non-disabled community that PWDs are here and deserve to be in the same space. We're proud to contribute to our own future,” said Ms Phạm Thị Hà, a member of CORMIS.

The programme and the show are featured in Vietnam Television (VTV), the state broadcaster.

At PolyU, service-learning is an experiential learning pedagogy that integrates community service with academic study and reflection. This outreach programme is an incredible opportunity to showcase the innovative potential of co-creation and accessible fashion, and enhance public awareness of social inclusion in the global community.

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