About the exhibition

Laundry is a mundane, habitual and highly routinized social practice. At the same time, it is an inconspicuous act of resource consumption that occurs in the private and domestic realm. As a collective activity, it annually uses up massive quantities of finite resources such as energy and water, and in the process, contributes towards greenhouse gas emissions, global warming and climate change. Beyond resource consumption, laundering can also be linked to synthetic microfibre pollution in aquatic environments.

The Laundry Pile exhibition looked beyond the mundanities of doing the laundry and explored clothes washing in the context of environmental impact and evolving material culture. It brought together a range of work from a small group of activists, researchers and designers who have explored laundry and its associated practices from a variety of different perspectives. Th exhibition displays work relating to three core themes: Design, Materials and Cultural Narratives.

The Laundry Pile has been curated and organised by Jade Whitson-Smith (Lord), Emma Ridgy and Lizzie Harrison It emerged through conversations between the curators about their common interest and work in laundry and clothing.

About the researchers

Dr Jade Whitson-Smith (Lord) is Acting Departmental Lead in Teaching and Learning, Department of Fashion and Textiles at the University of Huddersfield. Whitson-Smith (Lord)'s research focuses on the way garments ae used in our everyday lives, within the context of environmentally desirable behaviours. Prior to working at the University Jade has delivered textiles workshops for high profile clients such as Global Cool, Yorkshire Water and the Everything Must Go exhibition held in London's Oxo Tower.

Emma Rigby's research and teaching explores fashion design as an interconnected relationship between social, material and environmental contexts. Rigby's doctoral reserach used clothes laundry as a medium through which to examine how fashion design, resource consumption and sustainability are tied into social practices.

Lizzie Harrison [University of Bristol] is a consultant, researcher and project manager focusing on sustainability. Harrison has set up a run several enterprises in fashion and textiles, gaining a broad experience of managing businesses, from challenging current industry systems to developing strategies for more connected production operations. She has also consulted with a variety of private sector and third sector businesses as well as developing teaching approaches for sustainable design with universities, schools and colleges across the UK and work as an expert and community partner on a number of research projects.