World 27, Enactment i: recipe

Workshop setting: a woodland glade, with participants standing in a circle being addressed by the facilitator, videographer nearby.

Seen the World 27 Enactment i report and want to try it out for yourself?

Great! Follow this guide to have a go.

You’ll be enacting a fictional fashion world in which textile histories are central to the way garments are valued, and ritual events provide opportunities for storytelling and swapping.

This activity is designed for a group meeting in person and takes a few hours. You could alternatively try out elements of the activity individually.

The fiction guiding your Enactment:

In World 27, textile histories are central to the way garments are valued: the greater the number of associated stories, the greater an item’s desirability. Wearers are therefore motivated to keep items in circulation, rather than hoarding them, and ritual events throughout the year provide opportunities for storytelling and swapping.

In the East Midlands of England, a notable exchange follows celebration of the first harvest in August.* At the event, wearers document the latest instalment of their garment’s story and enshrine it in a digital repository as an enduring textile ‘deed’; others then bid to be the item’s next custodian.

* You may wish to substitute your own location and timing.

What you need

You’ll need a few things in place to work through the activity described below:

  • A space to work in, large enough for people to spread out to work individually and to talk in pairs, and with a nice place for the whole group to gather
  • Somewhere to hang your garments up such as a washing line
  • Each participant should bring a ‘story-full’ item from their wardrobe
  • Printed slips with the enquiry questions, one for each pair (download in pdf format / docx format)
  • Pegs to hang the garments on the washing line
  • Digital devices to record audio/video and take photographs, and/or materials for drawing and writing, as preferred
  • Printed fabric labels, each featuring a unique URL for a space on a digital repository such as Figshare (please contact Amy if you would like further guidance on Figshare or acquiring printed labels – we may be able to help with this!). To keep things organised, you may wish to put each label in an envelope (download text to stick on envelopes in pdf format / docx format)
  • A record of which story relates to which unique URL (download our deed record sheet in pdf format / docx format)
  • Needles and threads to stitch the labels into the garments
  • Materials for the wonder-capture activity (follow link for details)
  • Welcome participants to the space.

    Introduce the World and the general idea of the Enactment.

  • Explain the first task: a questioning activity in pairs which gives participants the chance to connect deeply with their garment.

    In each pair, Person A asks: who are you? Person B replies, speaking on behalf of their garment. When they have finished speaking, Person A asks the same question: who are you? Again, Person B responds, speaking as their garment. This process is repeated for five minutes.

  • They then move to the second question. Person A asks: what happens through you? Person B responds as their garment. Again, he process is repeated for five minutes. Note that Person A speaks only to ask the set questions.

    Repeat the entire questioning activity, with Person A and Person B swapping roles. Person B will ask the two questions and Person A will respond on behalf of their item.

    This activity is adapted from The Work That Reconnects by Joanna Macy.

  • Brief the participants on the next task: documenting their garment’s story. Explain that they are invited to record the garment’s experiences, and that the way they frame this story is totally up to them.

    They could tell the story verbally, and make an audio recording; they could make a video; they could write it down, by hand or typed; they could draw it. The story might be short and tightly planned, or it might be long and rambling.

  • Nominate a ‘keeper of stories’ to receive each participant’s story and issue them with a printed fabric label in return.

    The label features a unique URL for a space on a digital repository which will display their garment story. Keep careful records in order to avoid the stories becoming mixed up!

  • Participants should stitch the printed fabric label into their garment, in a position of their choice.

  • Move onto the second part of the exchange ritual: sharing the garment stories orally and offering the items for exchange.

    In two minutes, each participant shares their garment’s story and hangs their item on the washing line.

    Others in the group can then bid to be the garment’s new owner by outlining the life they will give to it in just three words. Alternatively, they can suggest the type of owner that the garment needs, again in just three words.

  • Take some time to reflect. You might like to use the Fashion Fictions wonder-capture activity.

Tell us about your Enactment

Have you had a go at enacting World 27? We’d love to hear how it went! Send an email to Amy with your news.

This Enactment was devised by Amy Twigger Holroyd, building on an Exploration created by Sally Cooke, Charlotte Tupper and a Fashion Fictions contributor, which was in turn developed from a World contributed by Jeannine Diego, using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the authors and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

Image credits: Sanket Haribhau Nikam.

Does this World remind you of something?

I am keen to hear about any historical or contemporary real-world examples – whether individual practices, subcultures or mainstream activities – that this fiction brings to mind.

Please share any such examples using this form. Thank you!

Published by Amy Twigger Holroyd

explorer of Fashion Fictions