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AVATAR-ING
Sunday, 09 May 2010
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‘How humbling is it to learn something you don’t know’.

It is six years ago I started off in eco fashion and a lot has happened since. It is a privilege to not just be a participant in this movement, but also a researcher which allows me to take a different perspective. Wearing two hats is sometimes extremely difficult since it confuses and doesn’t allow me to take a distance that I 'should' have as a researcher. Luckily I work with great mentors who share their knowledge on how to employ an academic stance. One used the metaphor of Avatar the other day to explain to me how to approach my research:

'Try to perceive the person you’re interviewing as if you were entering another world. See the world through her eyes and listen carefully to what she has to say. Move away from your own preconceptions and let yourself immerse in her thoughts and feelings. Smell, touch and sense what meanings are hidden behind her words and facial expressions. Be aware that many things you hear, might not be the things she said. Then ask again, probe deeper in what drives her and which values underlie her actions. And you will notice that you'll start seeing new colors, shapes and ideas you never knew they existed. A whole new world unfolds in front of you'.

From what I know from the last interviews I did, is that I find it hard to be Avatar-ing. I consider myself still extremely biased and most often unable to step out of my own framework. Maybe this is also a natural defence system, because I can get quite upset when talking to designers about their hardships. After a three hour interview, I easily need a full day to recover because in those cases I do feel like a Na'vi: connecting my pony tail to theirs, makes me experience emotions I can't take a distance from. Maybe in the end it is, also as a researcher, not that bad to be so involved.

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AVATAR
written by Color Brochure Printing, May 13, 2010
I agree that it was kind hard to see the world in other people's eyes, and sometimes I am scared of things that I am not familiar with, and I am really not happy when I am out of my comfort zone. But this is really very inspiring. Thank you for sharing this!

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