POP is exploring the following research themes across 200 years of clothing inventions in global patent archives:

Who gets to take up public space (and who is made smaller, concealed and compressed)?

This theme explores the politics of taking up space in public.

Citizens in public space are not equally given capacity and possibility to expand. Some, such as women, children, queer and disabled people, have historically been hidden, reduced, compressed and ignored in different ways.This theme explores how some inventors refuse to be made smaller or diminished by society. It highlights different ways people have resisted hegemonic norms to become space makers, takers and claimers via unusual and inventive forms of clothing.


How, and in what ways, can people keep things private in public?

This theme explores the politics of privacy in public.

Citizens have always been watched (and watched others), and they are under even more surveillance, as a result of pervasive digital technologies. This theme explores how inventors over time have questioned the idea of transparency as being central to being a “good citizen” by proposing a myriad to help people protect their privacy in public.


What impact does the ability to contain or release fluids outside the home have on people’s rights?

This theme explores the politics of dwelling in public.

This theme explores how different bodies are problematized as leaky – with blood, urine, sweat, milk etc. It highlights how intersections of social and cultural norms together with infrastructural privileges can exclude and discriminate against people and limit how they inhabit, dwell and move through public life and space. We explore how some inventors have resisted being stuck at home by developing different ways people can dwell in public (while leaking) for longer, with more control and dignity.

Who gets to be active in public?

This theme explores the politics of active bodies in public.

Sport is often seen as a symbol of citizenship and national identity via glorified discourses of heroism, strength, daring and triumph. However, not everyone fits these normative discourses, genders or body shapes or are given equal attention. This theme explores how inventors have worked-around barriers to provide alternate forms of active wear, which operate as experimental sites for new practices, expanded expressions and citizenship claims.


What can work clothes tell us about the value of different kinds of work & workers?

This theme explores the politics of unequal/unrecognised labour.

Being a citizen provides the right to work and comes with rights, entitlements, protection and status. However, not all work is recognised equally and not all workers are equally able to carve out spaces in the workplace. This theme explores how inventors re-configure work clothes and with them different ways to participate in and re-imagine normative and exclusive institutions and systems.


Who's is in/visible in public space? What impact does this have on the ability to participate in public life?

This theme explores the politics of modal hierarchies.

Motorised traffic dominates public space and with it, ideas about civic rights and entitlements. This theme explores how clothing inventors have responded to the challenges faced by multi-modal citizens in their desire to be seen and heard in public space. They offer wearers alternate ways to render different bodies visible, amplify voices and embody expanded re/imaginings of multi-modal possibilities.