What happens when 3 disciplines collaborate during Innovative Learning Week (ILW) to explore the Circular Economy as a alternative to some issues highlighted by Edinburgh council? We recently ran an event at the Edinburgh College of Art to find out.

 Disciplines : Textiles, Informatics and SBI represented by G.Jamieson L.Pschetz and SKMclauchlan.

The Challenge Topic: 

There is no alternative… Or is there?

The Edinburgh City Council has over the decade been trying to solve the city’s problem of transport, food waste and material waste. But, yet, the problems persist. 

The Task: 

Can you suggest a circular economy alternative to one of these three problems? 

We organised a 3 hour workshop in SBI on Tuesday 16th February during  Edinburgh University's Innovative Learning week. Students and staff from the University were invited to attend. We discussed what the Circular Economy was. 

We set about identifying problems and solutions by encouraging 'brain dumping '. This was evidenced via post it notes. Tea breaks were brief and more discussion and exploration continued. Groups of 2 were formed and each chose one of the topics to explore and offer a solution . This solution was visually present to an expert panel to select a winner. The range of ideas explored was varied from what to do with the excess leaflets during the festival to organising tool vans  for remote communities.

The Panel:

Liz Cooper - Research and Policy Manager at the Social Responsibility and Sustainability Department, University of Edinburgh
Kenneth Amaeshi - Director of the Sustainable Business Initiative, University of Edinburgh Business School


What was clear was that in order to implement these solutions changes in consumer behaviour and government policy needs to embrace the principles of the Circular Economy. The appetite is there but more help is needed. We also learned that everyone who attended  the workshop was inspired to pursue some of the new knowledge they had gained.



  • Knowledge was exchanged.
  • Ideas were freely discussed and explored.
  • Networks were set up.


Winning team with judges.


The Prize:


The Circular Economy: A Wealth of Flows, Ken Webster, Ellen Macarthur Foundation -


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