Circular Podcast with Aya Haidar - Katie Treggiden Skip to content

Circular Podcast with Aya Haidar

I’m talking to Aya Haidar. As a self-described ‘mother, artist, and humanitarian,’ her creative practice focuses on found and recycled objects, through which she explores themes of loss, migration and memory. She has studied art at Chelsea College of Art and Design, The Slade School of Art – part of University College London – and School of the Art Institute of Chicago, before undertaking a Masters in Non-Governmental Organisations and Development at the London School of Economics and Politics Science. She has exhibited all over the world, with international solo and group shows in London, Berlin, Jeddah, Paris, Dubai and Turkey – as well as being involved in charity and social engagement projects.

Below is a transcript of our conversation. Find the full episode available to listen on Spotify here.

Katie Treggiden 

I’m Katie Treggiden and this is Circular, a podcast exploring the intersections of craft, design and sustainability. Join me as I talk to Thinkers, Doers and Makers of the circular economy. These are the people who are challenging the linear take, make, waste model of production and consumption and working towards something better. In this series, we’re talking about repair.

Aya Haidar 

I almost see my work as kind of layering on top of it. So I’m kind of layering on top a story on top of the material that already tells a story in itself. I did a whole series of embroideries onto shoes, old used shoes that called The Soleless Series, which were worn by refugees physically carry them across borders and across lands. And so these shoes are worn and torn and thrown at the end of the day, because they have no more use, and they literally cannot be used for that purpose anymore. And so on top of that, instead of throwing them away, I felt like there is another layer to that because these, you know, these are physically carried these people across these journeys. And for me to embroider the image of that journey, on top of it, I think reinforces the story really strongly. I think it adds it adds a layer to it,  itadds a layer to the context.

 

Katie Treggiden 

Aya Hadar was born in the United States of America into a Lebanese family and then lived in Saudi Arabia until she was six when she moved to London. She had a Muslim upbringing and a French education. She studied art at Chelsea College of Art and Design, the Slade School of Art which is part of University College London, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, before undertaking a Master’s in non governmental organisations and development at the London School of Economics. As a multimedia artist with a focus on found and recycled objects, she explores themes of loss, migration and memory. She’s exhibited all over the world with international solo and group shows in London, Berlin, Jeddah, Paris, Dubai and Turkey and she’s involved in charity and social engagement projects as well.

Katie Treggiden 

Thank you so much for joining me today. It’s so lovely to have the opportunity to talk to you about your work. I would love to start at the beginning and ask you a little bit about your childhood, and specifically about how mending and repair showed up in the early years of your life.

Aya Haidar 

I think what preceded all of that was pretty much I guess, my parents journey and what led to my childhood in a way because it informs so much of what happens later in a way. So my parents are Lebanese, they’re both Lebanese. And from 1975 to 1990, there was a civil war in Lebanon and that and in 1982, they left and they went to Jordan, they got married, and then they moved to Saudi Arabia, where they carried on living, I guess. My mother gave birth to me actually in the States, but very soon after, like a few months later, we moved back to Saudi Arabia. So I don’t have any memory of the States or anything like that. So for the first six years of my life, I lived in Saudi Arabia, and then my dad’s job relocated him to the UK, hence why we moved to the UK. We lived very close to where my grandmother lived, we lived down the road from her. And so my upbringing was very much between my mother and my grandmother. My father worked abroad a lot between Saudi Arabia and London, so obviously, you know, you know, they were happily married their whole lives, you know, up until my father passed away recently, but I want to say my formative years, my whole life was, was pretty much raised between my mother and my grandmother, by these two incredibly strong women. And that informs a lot of where I feel like my roots are in terms of not just mending, but craft, it’s so rooted in, well every single day after school, I would go to my grandmother’s house, and every weekend I would spend the whole weekend with her and I spent probably more time with her than I did my own parents but, and with her, I would just sit across the sitting room, across the you know, across the table from her while she knit and sewed and mended things. And she would just talk to me until and tell me stories and whether I was revising for homework or she was just telling me stories from her childhood and she was just the most fascinating woman so for me like mending is so intertwined in my childhood, just growing up with my grandmother.

Katie Treggiden 

So lovely to have that sort of that memory of time spent with your grandma and all those stories that sort of, you know, people often talk about objects, they repair, having stories, but actually the very act of mending it sounds like was imbued with stories of your sort of parents heritage and backgrounds.

Aya Haidar 

I think it comes from very interesting places that I’ve only really come to realise recently because my parents fled during the war and they had to literally leave everything behind this notion of repair is something that is maybe not necessarily of choice but out of necessity. And my mother is very frugal. I think because she had to leave everything behind the sense of like not wasting anything is so much part of her and she definitely passed that on to me. And with my grandmother she only passed away a couple of years ago at 99 and right through her whole life, I mean until the day she died, she I think is a generational thing for sure you know have been born in 1920 you know, I mean and in Lebanon like I don’t think it was a choice thing. I don’t you know  life then wasn’t as disposable as it is now and you know you mended things and you know, you knitted a jumper and then if it got too small the next year you pulled it all apart and you reknitted it in a different size. And that’s what you did is you know, wool was not disposable. You remade and you made and  I remember actually distinctly we still asked her even at 99 to mend our clothes using her hand. I think it’s the handspun sewing machine and actually there’s a very beautiful story to this. She had this Singer sewing machine that she won at the age of six, she went to a little tea party, and these women were like passing around this bowl of sweets and she took a sweet, she puts it in her little bag and she went home and she was only allowed to eat it later. So she unwrapped it and you know, and sweets and sugar and stuff was obviously, it was a big treat. And so she opened it and then she saw inside the wrapper that she’d won a Singer sewing machine from Germany or from God knows where from Europe and, they shipped it to Lebanon and she got it and always used that same machine. She brought it with her to the UK, all of that and she, up until honestly, until she was 99 she would mend all our clothes using that same handspun sewing machine. She really stuck to her ways in that  she didn’t have a microwave,  everything was done by hand. She cooked everything by hand, she mended everything, she made her own clothes, she mended our clothes.  To be brought up with someone like that as a principal figure, I definitely credit her for that influence in my life.

Katie Treggiden 

What an amazing story I love that. So your work focuses very much on found and recycled objects and you explore themes like loss, migration and memory. We’ve talked a little bit about mending but what is it about those sorts of found and recycled objects that opens up the narratives that you’re working with.

Aya Haidar 

Those objects, whether they’re bits of cloth or old shoes,  inherently in them, there’s a story before I even begin to work with them. They hold something because they’ve been on a journey, because they’ve been touched and held and been of use in some way. And so they carry a story with them. And so, for me, I almost see my work is kind of layering on top of it. So I’m kind of layering on top, a story on top of a material that already tells a story in itself. I did a whole series of embroideries on two shoes, old used shoes that called The Soleless Series, which were worn by refugees physically carry them across borders and across lands. And so these shoes are worn and torn and thrown at the end of the day because they they cannot they have no more use, and they literally cannot be used for that purpose anymore. And so on top of that, instead of throwing them away, I felt like it they need, there is another layer to that because these, you know, these are physically carried these people across these journeys. And for me to embroider the image of that journey, on top of it, I think reinforces the story really strongly, I think it adds a layer to it, a layer to the to the context, you know.

Katie Treggiden 

Yeah, that’s a, it’s a really beautiful body of work that.  The first example of your work I ever came across was Recollections. And these just for anyone who’s not familiar with them are photographs of various sites in Beirut that you’ve printed on to linen and then ornamented or almost sort of repaired the bullet holes in these buildings with what Glenn Adamson describes in his book, The invention of Craft as coloured bandages, can you tell me a little bit about that body of work and the role that repair is playing there.

Aya Haidar 

So that body of work I went around Beirut and actually then I took the series more broadly around other parts of Lebanon but I took photographs of these derelict buildings, some of them are inhabited, but you can see the true cost and the true effect of the war that it’s had on the on the on the bricks and on the walls. And a lot of them have these you know, bullet holes through them and these scars that from the wars that Lebanon has been through.  I took photographs of these buildings and like you said printed them on linen and then embroidered over them and for many of them I filled in the cracks and the bullet holes with multicoloured embroidery threads and for me it’s coloured bandages. This way of describing I think, is such a beautiful way and when when he wrote that it was it felt very apt and it was just a very poetic and very beautiful way to look at it. For me it was it was about filling in these voids these holes, these holes that are scars that are remnants or traces of something that is is very dark and something that is, yeah, dark from the past and filling it with something colourful and in a way embellishing it, something that, people do, or at least in my experience with my family that they find ugly, not just ascetically, but ugly in the sense that it is, it reminds them of something horrific and something that is terrifying. And something that needs to be remembered, yes, but but also something that affects them still very much emotionally, because it’s their childhood, it’s everything that they’ve lived. And so for me, it’s about embellishing it, and filling in these cracks with these beautiful colourful threads. But then in a way, it’s also these colourful threads also highlighted because these bullet holes, and these cracks also cannot be forgotten. Because the problem is, and you go back into a cycle where you cover it up and you know, you replace these old buildings with these beautiful new buildings that we have. And in some way the new generation forgets what it’s been through. And it’s important to have these as reminders as well. So it’s kind of a play, not a play, but a balance of the two where in one way, you’re kind of trying to beautify and repair and mend with these colourful bandages. But then also, it’s also drawing your eyes to it and highlighting how many there are and, how close together they are and how close they are to windows and doorways. And you know, and so for me the ways in which these embroidered coloured bandages feel it almost feels like you’re completing this building that you’re pasting over them, but with something that is drawing your eye to them and not repelling it.

Katie Treggiden 

And I think that idea of repair, not necessarily being about restoring an object or a building to what it was. But actually the repair being another layer in its story is really interesting, and one that keeps coming up in the podcast, actually. So there’s now theme across all sorts of different sort of perspectives on this subject. Now those might be sort of metaphorical repairs, as it were, but you’ve also led youth workshops for refugees from countries experiencing conflict such as Somalia, and used craft as a way to help people sort of process the traumatic experiences that they’ve been through, can you talk a little bit about how craft helps to repair the crafts person, in a way.

Aya Haidar 

I think, with my experience with crafts, and when I’ve certainly done workshops with people who’ve suffered trauma, it’s definitely works towards more of an emotional repair. And because craft is a durational process, it’s not something that is instant and quick, it’s something that is slow, and considered and thoughtful, you know, every pull of the thread, you have to keep, it’s repetitive, and you have to keep going over it to be able to come to something, you know, it’s not like making a mark on paper or painting and where it’s instant and quick, it’s something that really does take a long time, a lot of patience, and it’s incredibly solitary and individual. So you are for me, in my experience, you are left with your own thoughts a lot and you and is very solitary and you are working on your own and yes, you can have a collective conversation and work as a group. Yes, you can. But the actual act of crafting and embroidery is one that is is very individual, you know. And so I think through these workshops, we’ve had the one with the Somali refugees, or more recently, I’ve done you know, I’ve done workshops with Syrian refugees, or various diasporas or groups.  It’s very interesting to see how how the impact of sitting down and concentrating on something very slow and something that is handmade can actually pull out in someone and then obviously the conversations that come out from it, it’s very real, very honest and very raw. Usually typically the groups that I work with will all be women because for the most part there would be Muslim women and so they would stick to an all female group. And so what comes out in these conversations are very yes, a very honest,  so a lot of very honest exchanges of their personal experiences while they’re crafting. I think because you’re doing something where you’re not having to, you have to concentrate to a certain extent, but because it’s repetitive and you’re just doing it your mind can switch off from that a little bit and you  flow in what you talk so there is this, this really beautiful kind of this healing or this almost like I don’t know what the words would be, but it’s like, yeah, I guess it would be almost like therapy in a way or by we’re all kind of doing the same activity, and we’re all working on the same thing, but everyone is sharing something different.

Katie Treggiden 

It’s incredibly calming, isn’t it? I find when I’ve only recently started sort of mending and sewing as a result of writing my dissertation about mending, I thought, you know, I better learn some hand skills to go with all this head knowledge. I’m naturally a very hectic, high tempo person. And I was amazed by just how quickly it calmed me, slowed my breathing, and it’s a really underestimated thing, I think dealing with, you know, even normal levels of stress, you know, let alone the trauma that the people you’re working with must have been through.

Aya Haidar 

Absolutely. I mean, on a, you know, on a different level, but with me, like day to day, so in the day, I take care of my three children, or six and under. And, you know, with the homeschooling and, you know, cooking three meals a day and tidying up and taking them out and doing all like crazy, it’s just a crazy, hectic, very physically taxing job. But then in the evenings when they go to bed at seven, seven to 1am that is my studio time. And a lot of people say that, how do you, how can you put in a whole shift in the evening, you’re not shattered? But like you said, I find it incredibly, it’s just a different way of working.  I think, because it’s so repetitive and so it’s calming, it’s not it’s, you know, it’s very almost meditative. You know, you’re so focused on something so it’s so intimate between you and whatever you’re embroidering, it’s so personal as well and so , that kind of calming element of it is very, very true.

Katie Treggiden 

I’m trying a few different ways of supporting the podcast this time around. So we’ll be back after a short break. And thank you so much to everybody who helped to make this season happen.

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Katie Treggiden 

No, I think meditative is a good word actually to describe that. Now you’ve touched on some of the sorts of different identities and different jobs and different hats that you wear. So I would love to dig into that a little bit more. You’ve described yourself as a full time mother, artist and humanitarian. And as you mentioned, you were born in the States into a Lebanese family with a Muslim upbringing, you lived in Saudi Arabia, and then London, but had a French education. You’ve studied at art schools in London and Chicago and yet, you’ve also got a master’s in non governmental organisations and developments from the London School of Economics. You work as an artist and within charities supporting refugees. So I’m fascinated to know how mending shows up differently, I guess, at the intersections of all these different identities that make up your whole.

Aya Haidar 

It’s interesting, I think the use of the word mending is an interesting one in this context. Whereas I would liken it more to patchwork quilting, maybe because I find it with a patchwork quilt, you’ve got all these little bits of fabric that don’t really belong to each other, they kind of they’re just like little scraps, but then you put them together, and they form like a much bigger, incredibly coherent, beautiful whole. And in a way, I feel like all these exactly how you described. I mean, it’s a bit of a bit of a mouthful to even describe it. But they’re all very, very different. They all kind of led to the other and they all kind of work in harmony together a bit and they all come together, not because they’re broken so they don’t need to be mended. But they just kind of fuse together and a never ending amount that you add to it. So there’s like this kind of, it’s just this quilt that just keeps growing and growing and growing and it’s always bits of scrap fabric that just keeps adding to it. So that’s Yeah, just considering that’s kind of what I would liken it to.

Katie Treggiden 

I love that analogy, that’s really beautiful and the kind of richness and the stories and the narratives that you get with a with a patchwork quilt handed down through families. I love that analogy. But do you find that sort of mending or craft or repair shows up differently in different parts of your life? Or is it the constant that runs through it?

Aya Haidar 

I don’t see my practice mending in a way I see  myself as a storyteller nd I think my medium is through craft. I think there are elements that you can look into it as mending in that it’s kind of you’re mending certain communities, or you’re mending, you’re finding outlets for certain stories. In that sense that could be mending because people need to tell these stories and so for any kind of repair for it to happen, whether it’s societal or emotional or individual, familial, whatever it there needs to be that process. And so in that sense, I would see it as mending. But then you do have artists that physically mend holes in jumpers and things like that where Yeah, so I, that’s the only distinction but in terms of, I think conceptually, yes, it would be mending because I work a lot with communities, there is a lot of rupture in those communities and there is a lot of things that are broken. And in a sense, I feel like my practice, well I would  like to think that my practice offers a path where certain things can be mended. One example is my recent residency at Deveron Projects in Scotland, where I worked with Syrian refugees and integrated them into local Scottish community and there were so many differences and so many separations between the two, but through this kind of social practice and actually what came with it was the sole-less series, there was so much repair, and so much mending, not just for them as a community individually, but also together as a collective.

Katie Treggiden 

Yeah, that’s really interesting And I love the idea. One of the things I love about this podcast is I get to move far beyond the kind of literal interpretations of the themes I’m exploring. So I love the idea of this sort of almost metaphorical mending or mending of communities rather than the sort of literal, and I am talking to artists who literally mend things, but one of the reasons I was so keen to talk to you is because of this kind of different perspective on it, which I think is really interesting. You’ve said that your work is politically and socially engaged, but not necessarily political. And unpick that a little bit and understand the difference between politically engaged and political.

Aya Haidar 

Yeah, so for me, with all my work, I’m not interested in the bigger politics. I’m not interested in what Israel did to Lebanon and what Palestine did to Israel and what Syria is doing to American and Iran, I’m not interested in the geopolitics of it. I’m interested is unpicking the stories that go on heard, the stories that are silenced, anything that kind of falls through the cracks. And when you have these interpersonal revelations that come out, whether I’m working with mothers and children, or fathers or community, you know, broader community groups, what comes out are these incredibly personal raw stories that you know, of mothers having to choose between their children when they’re having to cross borders, or, most recently talking to a Syrian mother, who was on one of those dinghies, you know, crossing the Mediterranean. And because the baby was a tiny, tiny baby, and because the baby was screaming, it was cold, and it was hungry, and it was a baby, trafficers grabbed the baby out arms and flung it over the boat because police patrol boats were coming so put the whole boat risk. Someone is sharing and entrusting you with these stories that otherwise would not have come out because this woman cannot speak English. This woman is in a foreign country cannot speak English and she’s telling me the story snd for me I’m not interested in who made her flee Syria, or what, do you know what I mean? It’s a mother, who had a baby, her baby taken out of her arms and thrown into the sea, so that the whole boat doesn’t get caught by those patrol police. This is a story that anytime I’ve told it gets reshared and reshared and reshared because it needs to be and these kind of stories, these personal stories are the only way to humanise the situation. People don’t just think these refugees coming into UK, this is a mother and this is a child and these are very personal stories that you will remember. You know, I forget statistics and things like that, that I see on the news. But when somebody is sitting across the table from you, and I’m hugging my baby, as she’s telling me the story, it’s harrowing, and it’s shocking. It’s something I will never forget, never amongst dozens and dozens of other stories that I’ve been told. And so with my work, why I think it’s politically engaged is because it engages in stories and issues that are rooted in politics and social issues or political issues, but it’s not about the politics of it, it’s about the human element of it.

Katie Treggiden 

Yeah, almost the consequence of those sort of geopolitical situations. What do you hope the impact will be of sharing those stories?

Aya Haidar 

I mean, for me, if anyone asks me, what do you think is good or what do you think is a success in your work, in my work? It’s about creating an arena for discussion without a doubt. It’s not about selling work. It’s not about people saying I love your work or I loved your show. It’s not about that. It’s about creating an arena for discussion. It’s about people leaving the show with more questions than they had coming into it. It’s about engaging people in conversation. It’s about people who are not absolutely, not aligned in my opinion, but coming out of and wanting to have a conversation about it. So this for me is really, really important. Anything any good art, in my opinion, engages people and raises questions, uncomfortable questions and creates debates around the issue.

Katie Treggiden 

I think we’ve got so much need for certainty, haven’t we, these days, everything’s black or white and this team or this team team. And I think you know, another way you’ve described your art as a catalyst for thinking, and I think that getting comfortable with uncertainty, and as you say, kind of coming away with more questions than you went in with, I think it’s, it’s an uncomfortable place for people to be but I think it’s so important because the reality of these situations is they’re nuanced, and they’re complicated, and, you know, it’s not as simple as these are the good guys, and these are the bad guys. So yeah, I think that’s really, really powerful. Obviously, my interest in repair comes from a sustainability point of view, but I actually think this stuff is utterly intersectional. You know, I think anti racism and feminism and environmentalism all kind of have to happen together and I don’t think we can solve the climate crisis without kind of solving social justice issues. How do you think work like yours can help us to sort of navigate and understand these things? I mean, migration is one thing that’s only going to increase as climate change worsens. You know, there are predictions for sort of mass scale migrations that we’ve never seen before as a result of climate change. How do you think what like yours can help us to sort of, I don’t know, I guess, sit in that discomfort and get into some of the nuance and complexity of what’s going on.

Aya Haidar 

I think opening someone’s eyes and perspectives to other ways of being and other ways of living is really, really important one. I think that we live in a very eurocentric society and what I’ve learned, so with regards to mending and kind of environmental sustainability that you mentioned, one thing that I’ve learned, which clearly blows my mind, I think is actually also rooted in in the reason why I also work with recycled objects, is looking at these communities, these refugee communities and how every tiny bit of scrap is used until the, I mean, you’ve got a bedsheet that then becomes a wrap and then becomes a dress and then becomes a headscarf and then becomes like a little bag. It becomes so many things before it’s ever thrown away, and then becomes a little doll for the child. It just becomes it takes on so many different forms. I think there can be a lot that can be learned from that. And this is something also that I liken to my grandmother, because she never threw anything away, never anything. If her tablecloth had a massive stain  she couldn’t do anything with it got cut up in it became something else. But we live in such a disposable society nowadays with, you know, such cheap clothing and so much turn aroun and it’s so dangerous and it’s so unsustainable that I  think looking at these communities and in the way in which they live and the way in which I say respect their materials, or honour them, or constantly breathe new life into them is something that is a positive and something that I hope will influence whoever it rubs off on, you know,

Katie Treggiden 

I guess there’s a danger that some of those practices can be associated with poverty and necessity, as you said, and lack and therefore, as soon as a person no longer needs to do those things they sort of drop those practices, something that is associated with such an unpleasant time in their lives. I think there’s one of the things I looked at in my dissertation was this idea that, you know, mending and repair and that sort of reuse that you’re talking about are not accessible to everybody, you know, to some people, they carry so much negative emotion. But it’s, you know, it’s all very well, there’s a sort of visible mending movement happening on Instagram, which seems to be quite a middle class phenomenon and you know, it’s it’s a great thing, people sort of being proud that they’re mending their clothes and acting from an environmental sort of standpoint, but I don’t know how appropriate that is for everybody. I guess. You know, I worry sometimes that this sort of, these ideas that I don’t know, I think in all that there’s  a great quote in a book called All We Can Save, which is an anthology of women writing on environment and climate change and in the introduction, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, who wrote the foreword and edited the book says, to change everything we need everyone.  I just think it’s this wonderful summation of this idea that, you know, any kind of sustainability practices have to be accessible to all of us. Do you think there’s some sort of do you know what I mean, can these practices cross class boundaries and across different socio economic positions?

Aya Haidar 

You know, what I think? I think lockdown has actually changed, shifted a lot for me anyway.  I think looking back the way craft was kind of passed down to me through my grandmother and my mother and historically the way, you know, like from a feminist perspective, women, I mean craft projected women onto the expression where they would sit collectively and mend and sew as they spoke and shared history and heritage and their children played at their feet, and their children listened to these stories and then pass them down and turn to their children. This kind of passing down, really happened through crafting, and women who, you know, historically wouldn’t have a voice in society had it on these amazing story quilts and so this is, this is how this got passed down. And for me, I think the danger that we are living in, up until recently is that we live so fast, and there is no there is no considered, there’s no time, there’s no we’re not slow, we just we are fast and we are disposable, and we are, nothing has time to process anymore, but with lockdown, I mean, my kids, because my kids are around me all the time, they see me work and they see me crafts, and they see me mend their clothes. So their clothes that they tear, and they have, like, you know, they constantly have tears and rips in their clothes. I always used to mend them in the evenings when they go to bed. But now they actually see me do it. And they asked me, Why are you doing that Why? And I’m like, because we don’t throw things away, we take care of them and you know, we keep we keep restoring them. This is how, and so they understand the value of it. And I think to some extent, I am hopeful because for one possibly lockdown might have created more of a space for families and people to be together and come together and things are more visible because you are in people’s faces more and you’re slowing, you’re having to slow down and incubate together to acknowledge this. But also, I think the way social media and these kind of platforms have blown out, everything is more accessible, I don’t think you necessarily have to be very rich, or, you know, you can be incredibly disadvantaged, or incredibly, you still have that kind of equal balance platform where you have that visibility and you can you, don’t have to be someone to be able to access this information and see, you know, I think there’s certain shifts that have happened with technology and also the state of the world that make me hopeful maybe, things like this can be passed on.

Katie Treggiden 

Yeah, well that was going be my next question is how you feel opinions towards mending and repair are are changing. And we should we should of course acknowledge that key workers haven’t got more time during the lockdown workign four times as hard as they were before. But there’s certainly a segment of society who have had time to think I guess and reflect on the state of the planet and the kind of behaviour of consumption that we’ve all sort of fallen into in the last 50 or 100 years.

Aya Haidar 

I don’t think I mean, I won’t say that I’ve had more time I definitely have had less time because it’s more my work is more visible around the house as you can see the kids see it you know, they don’t just come into a clean house they see like you know, then I just come in to home cooked meal they see me make it they everything is more visible that labour is more visible. Sorry, I interrupted you.

Katie Treggiden 

No, that’s fine. I think that’s a good point, isn’t it? It’s this idea that I sort of sharing spaces in a way that we perhaps didn’t mix things like mending and repair and all the labour that happens at home more visible. So what do you think the future holds for mending and repair?

Aya Haidar 

What it holds I I honestly don’t.   I think people have more of a social consciousness and have more of you know, an environmental consciousness I think it’s also you know, there are some very clear you know, policies going on that are supporting the kind of climate change crisis but I don’t know certain social media platforms and where art is anyone you don’t have to be someone big or famous you can be anyone just sits and mending and sharing these skills. It’s really important you know, I have people emailing me because I gave a talk a few days ago and some of the students emailed me and they just kept asking, do you have any anyone on Instagram anyone you follow that is into mending and repair. So I will easily gave, you know over 10 different names,  just off the top of my head that they could follow and they would follow someone else and you just this kind of hashtag you know mentality. You can just hashtag mending or you know repair and you would have kind of an infinite amount of listings and so it’s an incredible network to have. Yes I know social media is also responsible for not a lot of good but it’s, I think if you can focus a search and really expand your knowledge and learn so much online when I was a kid that was not available to me.

Katie Treggiden 

Yeah and you were lucky you know to learn some of these skills from your grandmother I didn’t learn those skills from my grandmother. I somehow managed to get a good grade in textiles GCSE, without ever quite mastering how to sew on a button. I’m not quite sure how I managed that. But yeah, bring adulthood, I had zero skills and those have been learnt, sometimes face to face, but through people I’ve met, you know, I followed Instagram, first of all, and that’s how I found out about the face to face course. And certainly, you know, lots of sort of zoom workshops and all that sort of thing. So I think you’re right technology has a lot to answer for, but it also is providing opportunities to share skills and make connections and I think that’s, that’s really important and a hopeful note to end on. So, Thank you so much for enlightening conversation.

Aya Haidar 

Thank you so much for the opportunity. It was an honour, thank you so much.

Katie Treggiden 

If you enjoyed this episode, can I ask you to leave a review, and perhaps even hit subscribe? I’ll be honest, I don’t really understand how the algorithm works, but I’m told those two actions really help other people to find the podcast. So that would be amazing. Thank you. You can find me on Instagram at @KatieTreggiden.1, you can subscribe to my email newsletter via a link in the show notes and if you’re a designer maker, you should really join my free Facebook group Making Design Circular. See you there.

Katie Treggiden 

This episode was produced by Sasha Huff so thank you to Sasha, to October Communications for marketing and moral support,  to Sugru for their sponsorship and to you for joining me. You’ve been listening to Circular with Katie Treggiden