Monthly Archives: June 2012


Transforming their understanding thus transform their identities?

Once I proposed them to develop a drawing about a cloth they would like to develop , and Alassana (pic.2) answered me  : ” this is a problem. the ‘director’ is pushing us to think” and we all laugh.

This seams like a naif answer, but in fact is a deeper one. Most of the tailors  on this group had few chances to  draw , because most  of them are confined to reproduce  and copy during them practices on ateliers and daily life.

During the session ,  most of them took a fashion magazine and copied or recreate a new model from that one they selected.  Others they draw directly on the paper.  The most creative part resulted when they applied colors and textile textures, and add an “african identity “( see the dress of fig1) to the base-body- model – drawing  that I give to them to dress.

Here I intend to work on cognitive knowledge, in other to teach them, I propose them to share them behaviors about clothes.

March, 2012



Contemporary immigration is a subject of profound debate on social sciences. Different causes, impacts, modalities, trajectories and intensities may have canvass results. Here I talk about the emigration of African tailors, issues, dreams and (un)visibility. The group of tailors arrived in Portugal in different times and circumstances. Some of them already tried other countries but they had strong difficulties facing legalization processes. So Portugal still a dream to become a european citizen. Some of them they already have a family here but most left family behind, to follow the dream of a a better life. From 10 years to 6 month emigration period , most of them followed a necessity  to work and to develop the educational level, in Europe . When they arrived they found an hostile society that marginalized them. They found no space unless the  protection of the community. So they still  live in the border, that stamp them as a stranger . “Go for your land” is the most usual slogan that portuguese people still  shouting  on the streets. So, African tailors work for african community and rarely they have a portuguese costumer. Some of the tailors work at home , some on the only room they can rent;  others they got a place at Commercial center “Habib” ( Avenida  Almirante Reis , Lisboa) and they rent the place to the Indian owner.

some fashionable ideas coming out

Malam Seidi  , his the most experimental from the group of tailors. He applies the learned pattern skills and transform them into real fashionable cloth.In February 2012, he did amazing experiences with the jacket pattern cutting.

Thank you Malam, for sharing!


During the process situated approaches and exercises were proposed to the tailors, so that they could collaborate with each other (see fig 3) and with the researcher towards some shared understanding. The main objective of these proposed exercises was to cultivate close cultural dialogue and learning. 

A song for my tailors




The tailors working together.

Knowledge empowerment