In 2021, we were invited by State of Fashion to face the challenge of co-curating the State of Fashion Biennale in 2022 as two collectives. During this process, we encountered a unique mix of seven individuals, with different ages, nationalities, life experiences, backgrounds, and expectations. We spent the summer finding harmony on chaotic online calls, experiencing fun and enjoyable working visits in Arnhem, bonding throughout this collaboration. 

Marina Sasseron de Oliveira Cabral, Iris Ruisch (Head of Programme State of Fashion), Orsola de Castro, Niamh Tuft, Tamsin Blanchard, Andrea Chehade Barroux, Mari Cortez and Filippo Ricci. Photo by Eva Broekema

Through this approach, we were testing boundaries, making spaces, listening, talking, learning about each other, understanding, challenging and supporting each other’s curatorial visions. The one thing we agreed whole-heartedly: the Ways of Caring Biennale would be and feel different than other biennials. We wanted to disrupt the system starting with the process itself, the way we communicated with each other, being open, exploring what was missing from the narratives we were already familiar with, and keeping an open mind. 

Over the course of our explorations, we wanted ways to connect with the community of Arnhem as well as the wider world, by so many ways of exercising and experiencing fashion. The Open Call for Curators that brought us together became a methodology for finding co-creators to bring as many voices and visions that are in Arnhem in throughout the 5-week period of the Biennale.

We are as intrigued as you are to see the outcome of Ways of Caring, being immersed in the process and accepting unexpected outcomes are important for us – we are not expecting to find all the answers. What we are proposing is to make space for conversations to happen, for different knowledges, for fashion to be thought about in different ways. We have taken Fashion off its aspirational pedestal and are bringing it back to the community where it needs to live, away from the glossy pages of a magazine. From these conversations, collaborations, and co-creations, we will bring new ways of thinking, and a multitude of Ways of Caring that we hope can be activated everywhere. 

Andrea Chehade Barroux, Tamsin Blanchard, Mari Cortez, Marina Sasseron de Oliveira Cabral, Orsola de Castro, Filippo Ricci and Niamh Tuft 

Co-curators of State of Fashion Biennale 2022 | Ways of Caring

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