De Souche is an interdisciplinary workshop series that aims to transform an invasive aquatic plant species in Quebec – Eurasian milfoil – into a new biomaterial and to inspire the integration of sustainable design practices to Concordia’s students and faculty. These workshops will merge the expertise and imagination of affected communities, cross-sectorial stakeholders, an interdisciplinary research team, and participating Concordia students.
The project originates from a year-long study on milfoil and the growing interest of biomaterials in design as an emerging method in sustainable practices. During the 2019-2020 year, the project coordinator Thomas Heinrich familiarized himself with the issue of milfoil in Quebec in order to produce a series of material prototypes, each with distinct promising potential. Throughout this process, Thomas developed important relationships with community members and local conservation associations fighting the spread of milfoil.
The workshop series will inform students from the Fine Arts and the Sciences on how to produce a biomaterial derived from an invasive plant, will enrich the quickly expanding field of biomaterial research at Concordia, and contribute to extra-curricular student engagement in this field. This project will serve as a pilot activity to spur reflections on the integration of biomaterials into Concordia curricula and facilities.