Interdisciplinary blog

Ethical Fashion

Multidisciplinary Research Week 2013- Success

May 7, 2013
by Alison Simmance

The University of Southampton sprang to life during the 17-22nd March when over 1050 attendees joined us for the 3rd annual Multidisciplinary Research Week.

This year’s week long celebration was built on the best cross-disciplinary science and arts from the University of Southampton’s staff and students with a packed programme of talks, hands-on science demonstrations, exhibitions, debates and a film screening. We were also joined by key external speakers who brought insights into policy applications and cutting edge research in relation to our University Strategic Research Groups.

See the full programme here.  The energy and intellectual alchemy of the week certainly inspired ‘ideas worth spreading’ and far exceeded our expectations. Thank you to all our speakers, demonstrators, supporters, volunteers, digital champions, sponsors and attendees for enabling this annual cross-disciplinary event at the University of Southampton to be a huge success.

The week in numbers– see the statistics from MDR Week 2013 below or in the MDRWeek 2013 Final Statistics Flyer.

Blog posts about all our events at #MDRWeek will be coming shortly! Watch this site for news.

Did you miss MDR week 2013?

See all our multimedia outputs online now!





Did you miss TEDxSouthamptonUniversity 2013?


  • 23 events (incl. 2 exhibitions and 1 interactive art session) from 17-22nd March 2013.
  • 1057 actual attendees (approx. 10% external).
  • First TEDx at the University of Southampton- tickets sold out; new website; IBM sponsorship; 15 speakers; >1000 hits so far on YouTube.
  • Prof Mohan Munasinghe– Vice Chair of IPPC/Nobel Prize Winner 2007 (BBC Radio Solent Broadcast & future collaborations).
  • First formal celebration of the World Water Day 2013 (150 attendees).
  • >70 people attended the ‘Litmus Project: Science & Poetry Exhibition’.
  • >120 people attended ‘Question Time: The Brain & Society’, (incl. 40 6th Formers)
  • 15 people created an eco-friendly bag from 60th Anniversary campaign banner material at ‘Be a Green Shopper’.
  • Collaborations: UoS Science & Engineering Festival, WSA, WUN, IBM, Google, Marwell Wildlife, three 6th Form Colleges.

First year that social media was used!


MDR Week 2014- Your Views

We are now already planning next year’s research week and welcome any suggestions for a possible theme on this. If you have an interesting cross-disciplinary project/initiative or idea and/or wish  to get involved in other ways then please contact us:


Full details available at:


Share your experience with us on Twitter #MDRWeek @Multisoton


MDR Week- Blog no 2: Ethical Fashion Futures – An Oxymoron?

March 12, 2013
by Eleanor Tighe

Join Emma Waight and Eleanor Tighe for the lively debate on Tomorrow’s shopping: sustainable consumption in retail & ethical fashion’ on Thursday 21st March. An insight into this exciting and multidisciplinary research field can be found below.


Ethical Fashion Futures – An Oxymoron?

By Emma Waight and Eleanor Tighe



On Thursday 21 March, post-graduate researchers Emma Waight and Eleanor Tighe will be presenting the outcomes of their recent event ‘Ethical Fashion Futures: Changing Habits in Retail’. This small event bought together students, academics and industry professionals to discuss prevailing social and environmental issues involved in clothing manufacture.

The day kicked off with a talk from Charlie Ross, of the Offset Warehouse who got us to think about clothing supply chains at their origins. She raised the controversial issue of cotton production, drawing attention to the huge stress mass cotton production places on public goods, drawing on the example of the Aral Sea. We then flicked over to the end of the supply chain, and consumer practices with Emma Waight, making a case for ‘repair, re-use and re-sell’. Tania Phipps-Rufus a lecturer from Hertfordshire University then drew the morning to close, drawing attention to the legal debates surrounding what constitutes an ‘ethical fashion’.

The afternoon’s discussions were centred on high street fashion at site of production. Dr. Kanchana Ruwanpura, senior lecturer in Geography and Environment here at the University of Southampton highlighted the problems inherent in ‘Codes of Conduct’ corporate practices, drawing on the example of Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Dionne Harrison, Business and Capability Director of the ethical retail consultancy Impactt, UK, introduced the ‘Benefits for Business and Workers’ approach, which works in partnership with six UK retailers and the UK Department for International Development, to improve working conditions at sites of production through cuts to waste and enhanced dialogue and human resources management. Eleanor Tighe then presented some of her research findings on the clothing industry in Bangladesh, looking at the role of apparels production in national development strategy and the challenges faced by organisations attempting to improve relations in this field.

The day was then rounded off by a summary and discussion by Dr. Jeffrey Bray, senior lecturer in Marketing and Retail Management at Bournemouth University. Dr. Bray opened up the table to a great discussion on the foundation of an ethical fashion, and indeed how something which by definition relates to trends, can at the same time be sustainable?

The event was truly multidisciplinary in its approach with speakers from backgrounds in fashion, human geography, law and retail management. This in turn attracted a wide range of participants interested in international development, corporate social responsibility (CSR), business management, sustainable design and retailing. Fashion and clothing is a global industry which we are all engaged in as consumers, at the very least. Who is the average clothes shopper and what do they care about?

Multidisciplinary Week has given us a platform to disseminate outcomes from a day of lively discussion. Come along on Thursday to pick up these debates.




For the latest news and events about the Multidisciplinary Research Week 2013, visit our Multidisciplinary Research website:

or follow us on Twitter @MultiSoton #MDRWeek