Conceptualization of a Virtual Reality-based New Product Development Process for the Apparel Industry R. K. Jayamali De Silva, Phoebe Apeagyei, Thashika Rupasinghe Virtual Reality (VR) technologies have revolutionized New Product Development and continue to change lives by providing modern methods to fulfil consumer needs. VR is being practiced in many manufacturing industries despite limited applications in the apparel context. It is believed that digital technologies will enhance product development capabilities in apparel manufacturing in response to clothing needs that have become personalized in terms of aesthetics and functionality. VR tools that are robust and reliable have been urged by the apparel industrialists to cater for growing consumer demands. This study investigates new product development activities with existing VR- based applications from the apparel industry perspective. Purposive sampling methods resulted in the qualitative analysis of interview data from academics and practitioners. Key challenges in application of VR technology in apparel product development have been raised and addressed. Coding structures using RQDA were created to summarize and conceptualize future opportunities that propose VR applications of the apparel industry. This study is relevant to various stakeholders; it presents a theoretical basis for academics and practitioners as well as serves as a guide for developing novel apparel product development systems with appropriate computer-enabled tools, in order to optimize new product development cycles. The outcome of this study presents a concept map utilizing the aforementioned codes. It is contended that VR technologies will be an enabler for change by enhancing consumer responsiveness and lives A material feminist study of women-led comedy as a site for gender disruption within Fourth Wave Feminism(s) Natalie Diddams My research aims to discover how women-led comedy is functioning in the contemporary moment as a way of understanding and disrupting gender norms, building solidarity and empowering women within the Fourth Wave feminist movement. Using the philosophical concept of Affect, I’m interested in how comedy can facilitate the passage from one experiential state of body to another, and how far this is capable of affecting a real change in gender roles. I’d like to present my findings from a series of women-only comedy workshops and performances that I’ve led in Yorkshire over the past 18 months, where I witnessed what appeared to be transformative feelings of intensity amongst participants and audience members, who felt able to confront gender oppression through comedy in ways they could not in their dayto-day lives. I am fascinated by the dialogue that flowed following those moments of intensity, which seemed to enable connections between private pain and stories of women’s oppression that circulate within our society and that have been made widely available to women through social media in the Fourth Wave feminist movement. My research is in its early stages. I think it is has the potential to be life changing: both in terms of our burgeoning understanding of the affective potential of comedy for women and also in terms of the individual experiences of participants and audience members that have engaged with it.
Transforming the road to leadership - Mentoring female placement students through the first phase of the career pipeline. Caroline Evers In response to the ongoing trend of fewer women ‘surviving’ and progressing to senior management positions in UK businesses and the lack of female role models for young professionals entering the workplace, this research aims to develop a mentoring intervention that will empower and develop commitment from female workers to navigate and overcome the challenges of gendered workplaces. Considering how women’s life courses become gendered, the capacity of human beings to change and how gendering is described according to Bourdieu, this research will explore how female placement students’ career expectations and aspirations are defined by their habitus, capital and field, and changed by mentoring they receive at the first stage of their career pipeline. An action research approach will investigate how female placement students navigate the challenges of their first workplace, the gendered barriers they face and the strategies they adopt, and how mentoring empowers them to overcome and succeed in these contexts. Considering the effects the gendered disposition (habitus) has on their career aspirations and how the workplaces look as gendered fields – I will observe the effect of a mentoring programme aiming to build resilience, confidence and self-belief. Observing how they navigate these fields, the strategies they adopt or implement and, ultimately, how their dispositions change or not, as an outcome of the mentoring programme. Using a critical incident technique, I will benefit from gathering data from actual experiences of the students as they experience the work placement and contribute to gender theory, organisational theory and Bourdieu’s question of reflexivity. Whole Systems Thinking for Circular Economy Design Practice Sara Li-Chou Han, Nick Hall, David Tyler, Phoebe Apeagyei To develop the changing role of designers in the circular economy, we investigate the concept of Whole Systems Thinking (WST) in design practice. Designers’ practices were examined not just from the product orientated perspective, but by taking a more holistic systems thinking approach. Individual case studies of environmentally motivated fashion design are presented, that each displayed differing levels of positive impact based on their breadth of design activity, and whether a wider systems-based design approach was successfully incorporated. The methodology employed a review of literature relating WST, and combined this with primary data from semistructured interviews. Interview data from ethical fashion brands and designers identified barriers to the wider adoption of circular economy fashion strategies. Current techniques employed to bring products to market and effectively communicate their wider features and benefits to consumers were interrogated to establish where gaps in knowledge lay. Designers taking a systems based approach are more congruent with the circular economy model and the wider skills and attributes that enable such approaches. Academic implications of the research include the establishment of Whole Systems Thinking in the training and development of a new generation of designers, to improve and enable positive design decisions. Originality lies in developing circular fashion approaches that draw from and improve upon existing strategies to create sustainable innovation and systemic change.