10th Annual Sustainable Business and Design Conference
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Sass Brown, Acting Associate Dean, School of Art and Design: Sustainable Fashion
Gaia Vince: Welcome to the Anthropocene!
William Sharples, Principal, SHoP Architects: Planning for Sustainability: A Platform for Innovation
Dr. Donald Lee, President, International Committee for UN Day for the Eradication
of Poverty: Global Goals for a Sustainable World
FIT Faculty Presenters
Anna Blume, Professor, History of Art: Ethics and Sustainability Minor at FIT: Towards a Collective Consciousness
Ronald Eligator, Adjunct Professor, Sustainable Interior Environments: Integrated Design for Sustainability
Seema Pandya, Adjunct Instructor, Sustainable Interior Environments: Art and Sustainability
Joelle Williams, Adjunct Instructor, Fashion Business Management
FIT Student/Faculty Presentation: Closing the Loop: The FIT Compost Project
Lydia Baird, Textile Development and Marketing, BS
Willa Tsokanis, Textile Development and Marketing, BS
Ajoy K. Sarkar, Faculty Advisor and Associate Professor, Textile Development and Marketing
Keith Ellenbogen, Assistant Professor, Photography
Speakers and Presenters
Lydia Baird is a Brooklyn-based designer and co-founder of Ego Sum Terra. She is pursuing
a Textile Development and Marketing degree at FIT, while also working as a textile
consultant for Sundar, a digital B2B marketplace for the fashion industry. She is
a member of the Natural Dye Garden and American Association of Textile Colorists and
Chemists clubs at FIT and volunteers at Earth Matter, a local composting facility.
Through her work as a designer, Baird experiences firsthand the amount of textile
waste in industry. She sees a solution in closed-loop production theories from a favorite
book: McDonough and Braungart’s Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. Upon learning that cotton and other organic fibers could be composted, she immediately
saw an opportunity for action. This commitment is the meeting of her two worlds and
a chance to create a closed loop at FIT. Prior to FIT, Baird studied costume design
and Spanish at Middlebury College.
Dr. Anna Blume
Anna Blume specializes in art and its multiple meanings within the ancient Americas.
She is currently researching monumental pyramids, earthworks, and fine stone carvings
from the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys. She received her PhD in the History of
Art at Yale University in 1997 and has been teaching at FIT since 2001
Originally from London, Sass Brown established herself as a designer with her own
signature collection, which sold in Canada and the U.K. As a researcher, writer, and
educator, her area of expertise is ethical fashion in all of its various expressions,
from slow design and heritage craft skills to recycling, reuse, and alternative business
models. She has published papers, spoken, taught, and advised women’s cooperatives,
educational institutions, governmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations, small
and medium enterprises, and the creative industries around the world on the topic
of sustainable design. Brown communicates and promotes the best in ethical fashion
design, through a multitude of media—most notably her books Eco Fashion and ReFashioned, Eco Fashion Talk, articles, and social media.
Ronald Eligator brings integrated and sustainable design approaches to the practice
of architectural acoustics. He has more than 30 years of experience in acoustic design
and noise control for music and drama performance facilities, screening rooms, broadcast
and recording facilities, houses of worship, conference facilities, and commercial
office space. Recent project experience includes the House of Commons of the Parliament
of Canada; the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City; the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem;
New York City Hall’s City Council chamber; NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; and NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers. Among other accomplishments, Eligator has developed sophisticated computer modeling
approaches to speech intelligibility analysis for large, reverberant spaces; and designed
cost-effective sound barrier construction for broadcast and performing arts facilities
using sustainable materials. He mentors early career acoustic and architectural professionals
in his firm, and has lectured at numerous consulting firm
Keith Ellenbogen is an award-winning underwater photographer with an emphasis on environmental
conservation. He is a senior fellow with the International League of Photographers,
is a fellow with the Explorers Club, is the 2015-16 Center for Art Science and Technology
Visiting Artist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is currently Fulbright
Alumnus-in-Residence for the Greater New York Chapter. Ellenbogen’s work has been
recognized within the 2015 Communication Arts Photography Annual Magazine, and has
won the 2015 PX3 Photography Award, the 2015 Audubon Photography Award, and the 2013
Nature’s Best Oceans Photography Competition. His photography has been widely published
in series of books for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in magazines, and as part of outdoor
advertising campaigns. A selection of Ellenbogen’s public lectures on conservation
photography was held at Museum of Science Planetarium. He holds an MFA from Parsons
School for Design and was a U.S. Fulbright Fellow in Malaysia. Ellenbogen is a member
of the FIT Sustainability Committee and the FIT Sustainable Council. His website can
be viewed at BlueReef.com.
Oliver Kellhammer is an independent artist, writer, and researcher, who seeks through
his botanical interventions and social art practice to demonstrate nature’s surprising
ability to recover from damage. His recent work has focused on the psychosocial effects
of climate change, cleaning up contaminated soils, reintroducing prehistoric trees
to landscape damaged by industrial logging and cataloging the ecology of brownfield
ecologies. He currently works as a lecturer in sustainable systems at Parsons School
of Design in New York City.
Donald Lee began his career in the United Nations at the organization’s regional headquarters
in Bangkok. He later moved to New York to the Division for Social Policy and Development
to head its work on poverty and employment—key development issues that defined his
major contributions as an economist in the United Nations. Donald helped establish
the Youth Employment Network in 2001 and was—until his retirement from the United
Nations in 2011—a member of its steering committee. He went on to head the Social
Perspectives on Development branch, which focuses on issues of social development,
in particular, poverty eradication and employment. In 2008, in recognition of his
commitment and contributions to global poverty issues, he was seated on the International
Committee for October 17, which promotes and supports the United Nations International
Day for the Eradication of Poverty. He has been president of the committee since 2012.
More recently, in 2014, he was appointed to the advisory group on education diplomacy
for the Association for Childhood Education International. Before joining the United
Nations, he taught economics and business management at Deakin University in Australia.
He is an advocate for poverty eradication, social justice, and environmentally sustainable
economic development through his research, publications, and blog. Lee has a PhD in
economics from University College London.
Seema Pandya is an artist and an accomplished sustainability consultant who explores
the intersections of sustainability, art, and the built environment. When filtered
through her own personal experience with nature, music, and the boundaries of perceived
reality, she is able to create visual art that emulates a material’s life cycle story.
Pandya’s work focuses on two predominant themes: universal principals of physics and
environmental sustainability. Over the years she created a variety of work ranging
from large interactive kinetic sculptures, slatted light sculptures, site-specific
installations, public street art, and amoeba-shaped fractal paintings that often use
reclaimed discarded materials. Architectural and organic forms are used as she explores
the boundaries between the audience, and the manmade, and natural world. Pandya has
more than 10 years of experience in the environmental building industry as a consultant
and senior sustainability manager at YR&G, a strategic sustainability consulting firm.
An interior designer by training, Pandya has expertise in creative green building
strategies, design assistance, construction best practices, LEED coordination, interior
architecture, and green building education. She teaches and presents sustainability-related
topics to a wide range of professional audiences.
Dr. Ajoy Sarkar
Ajoy K. Sarkar holds undergraduate degrees in chemistry and textile chemistry from
the University of Mumbai, and MS and PhD degrees in textile sciences from the University
of Georgia. His expertise includes fibers, textile coloration, finishing, product
development, textile testing and analysis, and application of textile technology to
design. His areas of research are sustainable textiles and smart protective textiles.
Sarkar is author and co-author of numerous publications and research abstracts presented
at national and international conferences. He also serves as an associate editor for
the AATCC Journal of Research and is a member of the International Textile and Apparel Association.
William Sharples is a founding partner of SHoP Architects. Since 1996, SHoP has modeled
a new way forward with our unconventional approach to design. At the heart of the
firm’s method is a willingness to question accepted patterns of practice, coupled
with the courage to expand, where necessary, beyond the architect’s traditional roles.
Sharples has been at the center of this collaborative practice for 20 years, leading
educational projects and technology initiatives across the studio. He has served as
lead partner on many of SHoP's most prominent projects, including the Botswana Innovation
Hub, Google headquarters, the award-winning Barclays Center in Brooklyn, as well as
the new academic building planned for FIT. Beyond the studio, Sharples is a powerful
advocate for the role of contemporary technologies as tools to promote humanist values
through design. He recently completed the development of a laboratory space and integrated
curriculum for a robotics program at the Benchmark School in Media, PA. Sharples’
dedication to moving the profession forward continues in his commitment to lecturing
and teaching, where he brings SHoP’s message—about the unity of technological invention,
artistic inspiration, and public responsibility—to students across the country.
Lucy Slivinski is a Chicago artist whose inspirational works have been created from
recycled materials and found objects. These methods support a green initiative, one
that she has followed for over two decades. This past year Slivinski has had two one-person
exhibitions at the 300 South Riverside Plaza in downtown Chicago, as well as a one-person
show titled Sizzle at Mana Contemporary, and another at the Chicago Academy of Music titled Rebirth. This past summer Slivinski had a one-person show at Packer Schopf Gallery in Chicago
titled Soul Touch. She has work in many private and public collections and has been written about in
Art in America, The New York Times, Sculpture Magazine, Chicago Interiors, and Luxe Magazine. She holds an MFA from Cranbook Academy of Art and a BFA from Northern Illinois University.
Her website can be viewed at LucySlivinski.com.
Willa Tsokanis is a hard-working student pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Textile
Development and Marketing at FIT. She has two minors—one in Ethics and Sustainability
and one in Spanish. She is working on a revolutionary research project with the goal
of turning FIT’s cotton muslin waste into usable and nutrient-rich compost. She is
also leading a team of students to promote environmental sustainability and ethics
in the fashion industry and in the greater community. She strives to create a natural
conversation that promotes beauty, growth, and mindfulness in every aspect of the
Photo by Matthew Lincoln
Gaia Vince is a writer and broadcaster specializing in science and the environment. She
has been the front editor of the journal Nature Climate Change, the news editor of Nature, and online editor of New Scientist. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines in the U.K., the U.S., and Australia,
including The Guardian, Science, Scientific American, and Australian Geographic. She has a column, Smart Planet, on BBC Online and devises and presents science programs
for BBC radio. Her first book, Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made, won the Royal Society Prize for best science book in 2015. She blogs at WanderingGaia.com and tweets at @WanderingGaia. She lives in London.
Joelle Williams is currently an adjunct professor at LIM College as well as at FIT.
Williams has more than 20 years of retail experience in retail store operations. Currently
she is completing an MBA in strategic design at Philadelphia University. Her research
interest has led her to examine our relationship and behavior toward apparel over
consumption; she is looking to ignite a lovefest between us and our wardrobes, one
piece at a time.