Building Services students get hands-on at the V&A

Dundee and Angus College students studying HND Architectural Technology, HND Construction Management, and HNC Built Environment recently visited Dundee V&A to attend a plastic exhibition.

The exhibit was put together by Ahla Fawda - an NGO which responds to the urgent humanitarian needs of its community - founded in Beirut, City of Literature, Lebanon in 2014. Ahla Fawda’s founder Imane Assaf and Scottish upcycling artist, Don Wright, shared how they use plastic waste to support Beirut’s communities through Lebanon’s crises.

Our students had fun getting hands-on experience with a workshop learning about the recycling process and highlighting the importance of reducing the resources used in the construction industry.

Lebanon is grappling with economic and financial crises, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the consequences of the 2020 Beirut Port explosion. As a result, many people living in Beirut cannot afford to meet their basic needs.

In the face of this, Ahla Fawda works to support their community and in 2021 they designed a plastic exchange initiative that provides people with food and other basic supplies in exchange for household plastic waste. This plastic is then sold to recycling companies, used to make new products, and in creative design workshops, outreach activities, and projects with local schools.

By reframing plastic waste as a valuable untapped resource, Ahla Fawda is supporting communities in need, changing perspectives on what is considered rubbish, and creating circular economies.

Tutors Ian Martin and Ruth Lonsdale set up the trip with Ruth saying, “Our students have really enjoyed the workshop and tour of the V&A Dundee. Getting hands-on experience with the recycling process has not only been fun, but it has provided a great learning experience that is very relevant to our courses. The event has highlighted the importance of reducing the resources we use not only in the construction industry but in our everyday lives. The exhibition and meeting Ahla Fawda have focused the need not only to think of this as a local problem but something that is affecting the planet on a global scale.”

 The building services department are delighted to support exhibits such as this, with there being many opportunities for students to visit different exhibits throughout the year as part of their course.