Nothing says ‘I love you’ like…

… Valentine’s Day

Buying gifts to give to loved ones presents unique dilemmas to those who are concerned about who made them, under what conditions.

Can you express your love for another person by buying them conflict jewelry, or child labour chocolate? And what are the alternatives?

Because it’s Valentine’s Day – A.K.A International Flower Workers’ Day – soon, we’ve added the latest seasonal header to our website.

 

 

Teaching and learning resources

If you’re looking for resources to help discuss the controversial issues in Valentine’s Day commodity chains, here’s a selection.

a) the Worrison’s flower collection

A spoof website created in 2017 by students taking the university module behind our site. Click the image below to get there, click the flowers you like, read the online reviews and make sure you click ‘Buy now’.

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 09.31.03

b) our LEGO Valentine’s Day album

Check this set of LEGO re-creations, click the images, read the text underneath, and maybe re-create other scenes from Valentine’s Day supply chains. This takes you there…

Valentine's Day 2: Kanye West's "Diamonds are from Sierra Leone'.

  • one is based on a followthethings.com page about a controversial advertising campaign by the Finnish chocolate brand Fazer, which refers to a documentary called ‘The Dark Side of Chocolate;
  • another (above) re-creates a scene from Kanye West’s music video ‘Diamonds are from Sierra Leone’, in which a New York jeweller takes a diamond directly from a child miner and gives it to a wealthy client;
  • a third takes Livia Firth’s short film about the care that unseen garment, shoe- and jewelry-makers invest in consumers’ appearance, and applies it to Valentine’s day flower growers;
  • and the last one re-creates part of an activist documentary arguing that these kinds of hidden relations encourage us to think differently about ‘love’ in all of our relations, near and far, known and unknown.

Click the links or the slideshow photo to find out more, and to get some advice on more ethical Valentine’s Day gifts.

c) our Youtube playlist

Watch the original sources, parts of which we re-created in LEGO and/or inspired our work: on the human stories in the supply chains of chocolate, diamonds and clothes, and the activist concept of love.

February 14th could be an unforgettable day.

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