Weaving connections between industry and the academy 

By Karen Herland

A pact signed between Montreal and Lyon three decades ago has grown into a unique, annual opportunity to bring government, industry and academics together from Quebec and the Alps region of France for les Entretiens Jacques-Cartier.

"This is a hybrid of a learned society," said Ingrid Bachmann, fibres professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts. "A learned society brings academics together with academics; here we include industry and government."

The Entretiens Jacques-Cartier is held in Quebec every four years and 2008 sees the province host nearly two-dozen separate events across the province on themes ranging from transport to justice to tourism. Cutting edge manufacturers and researchers come together and government officials are present to see where possibilities exist and what they need to do to facilitate those efforts.

Vistors watch the capabilities of conductive and linen threads woven together in Barbara Layne’s SubTela lab. Magnifying glass

Vistors watch the capabilities of conductive and linen threads woven together in Barbara Layne’s SubTela lab.

Concordia, a leader in interactive textile research, hosted a symposium exploring the potential of textiles in applications as wide-ranging as sustainable development, security, health and culture.

"Thirty per cent of cars are made of textiles, and they have structural applications in building as well," said Bachmann, who is also a member of the organizing committee. "They are literally weaving together technology and design."

Concordia researchers Joanna Berzowska and Barbara Layne demonstrated the capabilities of their efforts to display memory through fabric and to weave conductive and linen threads together in a single level, lightweight weave structure. Their work, conducted out of Hexagram, is unique not only in its technical applications, but also in its interdependency between applied art and computer sciences.

The colloquium, Textiles Unlimited was part of a larger event co-sponsored with ITECH and Techtera of Lyon and the CTT Group in Quebec. The latter is a mediator developing connections between industry and university to foster innovation and exploration. According to Larose, they were impressed with the facilities available at Concordia and could see the potential for future collaboration with industry.

In addition to this showcase event, President Judith Woodsworth hosted a joint reflection on future partnerships between university presidents from the Alps region and Quebec. Concordia also conferred an honorary doctorate to Thierry Frémaux, world ambassador for the Cannes Film Festival and director of Lyon's Institut Lumière.


Concordia University