6th Holcim Awards 2020/21

177 social gatherings. The project also aims to foster cross-cultural collaborations through the involvement of students from the USA, Europe, and the United Arab Emirates. In so doing, the multidirectional knowledge exchange between participants of different generations and backgrounds becomes the opportunity for self-expression, self-determination, and advancement of pluralism. The project draws its strength in blending two contradictory conditions of our society: the culture of abundance – partly represented by the textile industry responsible for more than 80 billion m2 of surplus garments every year – and the lack of livelihood of displaced people fleeing from conflict and disasters. Main author: Azra Aksamija (1st from left), Future Heritage Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, USA. Further authors: Melina Philippou, Nicosia, Cyprus; Natalie Bellefleur, Lillian Kology, and Johnathan Kongoletos, Boston, USA. Support towards cultural resilience The Holcim Awards jury Middle East Africa found the way the project creates an “out of the box” humanitarian innovation from these two critical social, political and environmental issues to be highly commendable. The jury also appreciated the project’s support towards cultural resilience of displaced communities through the promotion of cooperative-based practices. Introducing cross-generational knowledge exchange, T-Serai acts as a bastion against the loss of the living culture, while offering opportunities for cultural expression, education and vocational training of refugees. All in all, the project outlines a culturally sensitive, socially inclusive, and environmentally conscious approach to humanitarian design. “Upcycling discarded clothes and textiles to support cultural resilience” Azra Aksamija

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