Open Call for Creative Practices

‘Ways of Caring - Practicing Solidarity’

International Fashion conference
June 30 & July 1, 2022
Arnhem, The Netherlands

Organized by ArtEZ University of the Arts x State of Fashion
In collaboration with Fashion Revolution

Do you want to contribute to an international fashion conference? This is a call for all critical fashion practitioners that embrace solidarity in their practice.

‘Ways of Caring - Practicing Solidarity’

The conference ‘Ways of Caring - Practicing Solidarity’ explores how to practice solidarity in fashion. In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, we’ve heard many calls for solidarity, a more solidary fashion industry, and more solidary practices of making and wearing. Yet, what are solidary ways of making, wearing and doing fashion? What does practicing solidarity actually mean? What or whom do we need to be solidary with? What does it mean to be solidary with each other, with animals, or with the earth, for example? How should we learn to do so? What should we unlearn? And how can we create the conditions to perform solidary behaviour on the long term? 

The conference starts from a critique on the non-solidary strategies inherent to the contemporary neo-liberal, market-driven society and consumer culture, and subsequently the dominant industrial fashion system. The Covid-19 pandemic again shed light on the limitations and untenability of the industry’s operations. It has – once more – revealed its non-solidary strategies of disconnection, exploitation, alienation, non-transparency, mass-production and -consumption, exclusivity, and its systemic de-humanization, de-animalization, and intersectional inequalities. At the same time, the pandemic has shown the urgency of practicing more care for others, like other human beings, living beings, or more care for the matter and materials that we live with. In this sense, the pandemic reinforced our sense of being interconnected and interdependent, which underlines that we must go beyond individualistic thinking and towards collective action.

In this conference we want to create encounters, open up conversations, and facilitate actual dialogues to collectively explore possible ways of practicing more solidarity in fashion. In close collaboration with Fashion Revolution, we invite platforms, educational institutes, artists, designers, collectives, researchers, performers, activists, healers, farmers, and/or critical fashion practitioners to share and present their visions on how to practice solidarity in fashion, and what that could – should – entail in the future. We value sharing knowledge, exchange and interactions, strengthening relations, collectivity and communities. 

Creative Practice Contributions & Subthemes

‘Ways of Caring - Practicing Solidarity’ is a hybrid conference with a two-day programme: 

● Day 1: an online 24 hour programme streamed from 10 different countries with local partners who curate max. 2-hour sub-programmes 

● Day 2: a live* programme in the city of Arnhem, the Netherlands, curated by ArtEZ x State of Fashion  

The language of the conference is English.  

This Open Call specifically invites creative practice contributions to be presented on Day 2: the conference day that takes place live* in the city of Arnhem. 

* Preferably live on location, but depending on the developments around COVID-19, we may have to switch to online.

We welcome contributions that take on many different forms, such as creative practices, interactive exercises, workshops, papers, manifestations of small-scale solidary systems, or new theoretical or ethical frameworks related to, for example, but not limited to, the following subthemes: 

Solidarity in relation to: 

- systems, and ways of structuring and organizing networks
- forms of exchange and sharing
- practices of making and/or wearing 
- the profession of a fashion designer 
- education and (un)learning practices  
- solidarity economies  
- ways of caring, and wellbeing 
- moral transformation of behavior 
- affect and empathy  
- practices of commoning  
- practicing collectivity 
- embodiment 
- agency 

Special invitation to critical fashion students and young fashion designers

We value a central role for students and therefore also invite critical fashion students and young fashion designers to submit their proposals. We encourage starting and future fashion designers to participate and reflect on: how do you make choices in your work practice that do not fit or go along with the dominant fashion system, and still earn money with your profession? How do you reflect on your profession as a fashion designer with regard to the future? What are you questioning? And how do you work and with whom? How can you contribute to a more solidary future of fashion?

What we ask

- Inspiring presentations of creative practices, related to the conference theme(s). The conference provides excellent opportunities for interactive presentations, workshops, discussions, talks, etc.

- A plan for how you want your practice to be presented at the conference (i.e. talk, workshop, lecture, presentation etc. etc.)

What we offer

- Selected contributions will be presented at Day 2.
- Selected contributions will be shared after the conference through the channels of State of Fashion and ArtEZ.
- Based on what the selected contribution requires, we will do a proposal on how to remunerate the costs.
- All participants will receive an invitation to the conference.
- All selected contributions will be considered for online publication on APRIA, the ArtEZ Platform for Research Interventions of the Arts. (apria.artez.nl)

How to submit your proposal

We invite proposals for creative practice contributions related to the conference theme and sub-themes. All proposals should include:

* A title and word count of max 300 words, written in English (or should be able to be copied for translation purposes);

* Please include visuals to illustrate the idea of your contribution;

* Include all contact information (name, email address, phone number);

* Please add 3-5 keywords to specify the relation to the conference theme;

* If you are a BA, MA or PhD student, please indicate this.

This Open Call has been closed.

Selection Process

All proposals will go through a review and selection process, where the proposals will be evaluated along the following criteria: 1) relevance for the conference 2) accessibility 3) engagement. An intersectional perspective is a plus.

Selection will be carefully made by representatives of the State of Fashion Biennale 2022 curator-team (Not_Enough Collective and Fashion Open Studio) and ArtEZ University of the Arts (Fashion Professorship, MA Critical Fashion Practices, MA Practice Held in Common, BA Fashion Design). A diverse student body will be part of the selection committee.

Important dates

This Open Call has been closed. If you have any questions about the conference please contact: opencall@stateoffashion.org

Review and selection of proposals will be completed before mid-March.

Contributors will be notified before the end of March, 2022.


Organized by ArtEZ University of the Arts x State of Fashion 

Partners ArtEZ: Fashion Professorship, MA Critical Fashion Practices, MA Practice Held in Common, BA Fashion Design, ArtEZ studium generale, ArtEZ Press / APRIA 

Curators State of Fashion: Fashion Open Studio & Not_Enough Collective  

Conference Partner: Fashion Revolution



Open Call for Creative Practices