Dr Melanie Sarantou is a post-doctorate researcher in the Funding Profiling 2 Project for the University of Lapland. She designed and exhibited 50 fashion collections during her design career, implementing the ethos that fashion is art. Her collections were exhibited internationally in an array of prestige events, galleries and fashion showcases in Africa, the USA, Europe and Australia. Next to managing a fashion atelier and business for sixteen years, Sarantou also initiated the Fashion course as part of a BA Degree at the University of Namibia, complimented with a decade of fashion design lecturing. The co-founding and directing of a Namibian not for profit craft and design association in 2006, Pambili, that was funded by the Finnish Foreign Ministry for three years, provided a platform to work with more than 750 crafts women and artists across 34 craft communities in regional Namibia. Young urban-based Namibian designers who were empowered through this initiative established SMEs in various design fields, continuing their practices. Sarantou’s PhD in Visual Arts at the University of South Australia mapped Namibian craft and design worlds trough a postcolonial lens. In Australia she managed a five-year (2013-2017) artist exchange program between Namibia and South Australia, known as Art South-South. Additional large scale Australian art projects include Artists from the Edges of the World (2016) and Wai – This is us! (2017). Sarantou’s post-doctorate research (2016-2017) at the University of Lapland focused on the artistic research project Women living on the edges of the world: Margin to Margin, funded by Koneen Säätiö. Fashion, textile, environmental and community art currently shape Sarantou’s creative practices, addressing marginality and feminist perspectives.
Photography by Daria Akimenko (profile photo), Kirsten Wechslberger and Melanie Sarantou