Western consumers want to believe that they can have a new coat every winter and do a good deed by donating clothes to needy recipients in the developing world through the simple discourse of charity recycling. The reality is, of course, more complex and more murky than many would suspect.
UCL anthropologist Dr Lucy Norris has spent the last five years researching textile recycling as part of Waste of the World, an academic research project investigating global flows of waste including textiles, food, ships and nuclear energy.
For the end-of-project event, Waste of the World has collaborated with a group of artists and designers to present a public exhibition that tells the textile story. The exhibition is co-curated by Dr Lucy Norris and artist Clare Patey, and produced by arts organisation Holy Mountain.
Visitors are invited to bring an unwanted item of clothing and to follow its journey as it is sold for reuse and recycling across the world. Invisible global waste economies are brought into public view, as do the people involved and the impact that these businesses have upon their lives.
Accompanying the exhibition is 'Talking Rubbish - a Saturday afternoon programme of talks where researchers, designers, filmmakers, business entrepreneurs and third sector leaders engage with the issues raised and their implications for the way in which we think about our old clothing as well as wider issues around waste and recycling.
Related website: www.thewasteoftheworld.org