Programme 1

Webinar #1 Clothing as a System - ecology and evolution

#1 Clothing as a System - ecology and evolution

  • Date: Wednesday 9th September 2020 at 14:00 BST/09:00 EST/15:00 SAST


  1. Astronaut Richard Linnehan, from NASA Johnson Space Center
  2. Daniel J Klopp, from ILC Dover Inc, NASA’s spacesuit (xEMU) maker
  3. Julia Duncan, from Monmouth Scientific, clean room solutions provider

  • Key Topics: Waste issues – disposables discarded everywhere in town

PPEs, such as disposable masks and gloves, are becoming part of daily life in the UK. Such garments have recently been spotted lying around on roads, in parks or in bodies of water around London. PPEs are disposable to manage the risk of contamination. Spacesuits, especially EVA suits, are an unusual kind of disposable. Once they are sent up to space, they are reused and upcycled as much as possible. On the other hand, the environment in which PPEs and spacesuits are donned is often well defined. On earth and in space, such garments are designed to be donned with airlocks and gowning procedures to ensure the risk of contamination is managed systematically. In view of this, we would like to bring a discussion on the design issues of these disposable clothes/materials from an ecological perspective. Would modular design, and design for easy-cleaning, change the landscape of these disposables? In addition, we would also like to raise questions on what else happens in the operation environments to support the successful use of such garments.

Webinar #2 Protective Clothing and layer up!

#2 Protective Clothing – layer up!

  • Date: Thursday 17th September 2020 at 12:00 BST/13:00 CET/07:00 EST


  1. Dr Thomas Reiter, from European Space Agency, ESA Interagency Coordinator and Advisor to the Director General
  2. Daniel J Klopp, from ILC Dover Inc, NASA’s spacesuit (xEMU) maker
  3. Marie O’Mahony, from O’Mahony Consultancy and Royal College of Art, author of Advanced Textiles for Health and Wellbeing

  • Key TopicsCoronavirus pandemic – the sense of danger and protective equipment

Like all garments, the spacesuit has a protective function. With the recent pandemic, this protective function is very vivid in our minds in the form of PPEs and facemasks. In the extreme environment of space, the protective garment is effectively served as a life support system for astronauts. This session will focus on a discussion on the effectiveness of the material usage and design of protective clothing: what makes this protective clothing effective? What are the pros and cons of protective clothing? What other extreme environments can we learn from?

Programme 2

Webinar #3 Adaptive Clothing - design for women

#3 Adaptive Clothing – design for women

  • Date: Friday 9th October 2020 at 19:30 BST
  • Panellists: The panellists will be announced soon.

  • Key TopicsDiversity issue – the average and the reference man

So much of PPE and spacesuit design, as well as manufacturing, is about standardisation. However, the human body is not standard. To accommodate differences for customisation, one of the approaches that spacesuit makers utilise is modularisation of design. In this session, we are going to explore the challenges in designing equipment for a 'non-standard' workforceTo highlight the importance of diversity in design and manufacturing, we will discuss the following questions: In what ways can garments and equipment be designed to accommodate a diverse workforce in space as well as in operating theatres? By focusing on universal or standardised design, could we be excluding most of the population from the usage of such garments and equipment, rather than including? Could modular design, used in spacesuits, be a better approach to increase functionality across the population?



Webinar #4 Assistive Clothing - and human emotions

#4 Assistive Clothing – and human emotions

  • Date: September/October 2020 (TBC)
  • Panellists: The panellists will be announced soon.

  • Key TopicsHumanising technologies 

In order to provide a protective function, a garment needs to create a layer of resistance to our body’s movement and a layer of obfuscation to our expressions. These are often discussed in terms of performance: for example, how can we make protective garments less abrasive and more ventilated so as to allow work to be done without exhausting the wearer? In addition, we must not forget that protective garments are worn at unusual and often highly stressful or pressurised times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or the extreme environment of space. In these situations, taking account of the human expressions of wearers into the consideration of design is just as important as considering the effectiveness of the assistive functions. In this webinar, we will focus on the issue of how to design the assistive functions with the support for human expressions in technology development.