A GLOBAL NETWORK OF LOCAL COALITIONS TO DECENTRALISE FASHION KNOWLEDGE
CREATION AND SHARING
"To witness the destruction of cultural diversity, is to face a radical reduction of roads into the future. (…) When confronted with all those regions that have been silenced, the task of listening becomes the task of giving back a place in the present, of hosting and emplacing what has been eradicated."
(Rolando Vázquez 2018)
The Global Fashioning Assembly (GFA) is a global network of local coalitions from different parts of the world that aims to decentralise knowledge creation and sharing regarding fashion, engender solidarity across multiple lines of difference and activate self-representation, self-activation and self-determination based on 'nothing about us without us' —through conversation, through the relational, communal and coalitional and through a radical act of listening across difference.
In October 2022, the Research Collective for Decoloniality & Fashion (RCDF) initiated the first GFA22, which was hosted by 12 coalitions in 14 countries, across 6 continents, over a period of 3 days, for 36 hours. Following the sun as it moved from one time zone to the next, the hosting was passed on from New Zealand to Kazakhstan, Pakistan, South Africa, Kenya, Croatia, Netherlands, Egypt, Morocco, Wales, Brazil, Ghana, USA and Peru.
Its multi-stakeholder programme, combining online and offline formats, was created collectively through monthly online meetings over the period of one year. Each local programme was self-determined, activated and represented, involving local stakeholders, communities and audiences in a combination of local languages and English. Programmes ranged from conversations, screenings and workshops to performances, visits and crafts practices, both online and offline, addressing topics around museum collections, artisan knowledges, decolonial creative practices and critical research. In-between hosting sessions, one-hour Sharing Councils offered crucial opportunities for participants to be deeply present and listen intentionally to each other, to speak with each other, rather than at each other.
Intended as a biennial, the GFA is a recurring event aimed at building trust and sustainable long-term relationships between communities from different parts of the world. Inspired by around-the-world assemblies sparked by the grassroots-to-global possibilities of the digital, self-determination at every level of decision-making, content selection, organisational planning, and audience reach ensured that who is speaking, and in what forms these exchanges are happening, disrupts the unequal and exclusionary gatekeeping of conventional academic conferences. Beyond content and geography, systemic changes demand changing the framework by participants hosting the gathering, rather than the gathering hosting participants.