Voice From the Field

Voice From the Field

NAME: Rowena Chiu        
SCHOOL: Abbotsleigh School, Sydney
COUNTRY: Australia

The International Year of the Reef 2008 is about raising awareness among people from all walks of life about the importance and value of coral reefs and threats to their sustainability. As a Design & Technology student, I undertook a textiles project making haute couture garments to help promote and raise awareness about coral reef destruction. I have always been very passionate about textiles, therefore I wanted to combine this strength with a useful environmental cause for my major project. I particularly chose to focus on coral reefs due to the lasting impact the reefs have had on me since childhood. I found the contrast between my memory of a vibrant and colourful reef and the present bleached reefs disturbing, and to have increased to a point where I believe it should be everyone’s responsibility to do what they can to try and stop their decline. I believe designers have the responsibility to use their skills to create items that help promote the conservation of these precious ecosystems.

I wanted my project to be an avenue for raising awareness of the need to conserve and manage this important natural resource, allowing my message to engage a new and different audience. I targeted the youth in particular as they are the ones responsible for the environment’s future, and may not yet be aware of the dangers in which coral reefs and the communities associated with them are facing. I also hoped my garment would be much like a real life coral reef which is aesthetically pleasing, capturing the colours and textures found on reefs so that people can appreciate their beauty.

It has been very pleasing to see the impact my project has had on those around me. I have successfully increased awareness amongst my friends and my general school environment. Personally, I have also learnt a lot more about coral reefs and I hope to continue my interest in coral reef conservation once I leave school. 

To share your own story or experiences please contact info@icran.org