Upcycling: Here the banners of the university anniversary become bags and pencil cases

In 2021, the University of Kassel celebrated its 50th birthday. In the anniversary year, large banners in a colorful anniversary design announced this special event at all university locations. But what actually happens to the PVC tarpaulins afterwards? They have now been given a second life.

Nadja Porsch, head of the Textile Study Workshop at the Kunsthochschule Kassel, came up with the idea: In her seminar "Plan B - Influence of Fossil Raw Materials on Processing Technology and Possibilities for the Circular Economy", students designed and sewed beautiful things such as bags, laptop sleeves, pencil cases and much more from the anniversary tarpaulins.

Before getting down to the practical work, they looked at fossil raw materials in the textile industry. Nadja Porsch explains, "In the seminar, we considered what alternatives are available and what renewable raw materials can be used to make textiles." In the second part of the seminar, the students then designed products that were optimal in terms of production and raw materials, were made from waste and had no more than four joints (e.g. seams). This is where the banners came in. First, the material had to be cut to size so that as little waste as possible was produced. Then sewing was done with a leather sewing machine. "By producing things from the anniversary banners, the students were able to acquire knowledge and skills that they will need in their future careers," says Nadja Porsch.

The Textile Study Workshop is one of 13 teaching locations in the art academy that are open to all students across all courses. This is where teaching, research and experimentation take place. From material developments to textile product innovations, students can round off their individual competence profile in the form of lectures, seminars, etc.. For this purpose, so-called "teachers for special tasks" with scientific and design know-how are available to investigate current topics together with the students. Nadja Porsch is one of the "teachers for special tasks". She also studied product design at the Kunsthochschule and is passionate and dedicated to her work. "In the textile study workshop, we have room to experiment. Things can definitely go wrong there, then we keep trying until it fits," she enthuses.

The University of Kassel focuses on sustainability, in research and teaching, but also in operations. The newly founded Kassel Institute for Sustainability is driving sustainability development in research and teaching. The Green Office, opened in 2022, on the other hand, is the central coordination point for sustainability in operations and on campus.

Here you can find more information about which improvements with regard to sustainability have already been implemented at the University of Kassel and which projects are still planned: www.uni-kassel.de