Category: activism

Our 4th #followtheteachers post: on subvertisement workshops

Vuitton

“What the §^*! are we doing here?”

A couple of weeks ago, we published a guest post from Eeva Kemppainen describing the ways in which her work for followthething.com and her masters thesis on trade justice pedagogy in the UK and Finland, had led to her work on a ‘Closing the Gap’ project with Finnish pro-ethical trade NGO Eetti . This is Eeva’s second post, in which she describes how she works with diverse groups of students (using followthethings.com as a resource) and shows the kinds of subverts that her students create.

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Our 3rd #followtheteachers blog post: from Finland

Eeva header

The Geographies of Material Culture module that I took at Exeter University in my Erasmus year triggered a fascination about trade justice education and culture jamming. Quite an effect? Yes… and let me tell where this has led.

I’m one of the interns who helped to develop the followthethings.com website. I also worked with the site’s #followtheteachers group. My Masters thesis at the University of Helsinki focused on creative teaching of commodity geographies, young people’s geographies and culture jamming – a research field in which academics are narrowing school-university-NGO-gaps. My aim was to introduce these mindboggling ideas in Finland.

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Sodastream studies…

Overnight, [Scarlett Johansson]  has become the Marie Antoinette of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, smiling regally and offering: “Let them sip soda.” (source)

We’ve been following carefully how actor Scarlett Johansson (a.k.a Scarjo) was forced last week to choose between her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador and as the face of soft-drink machine maker Sodastream.

This is the banned TV advert that was due to be shown at half time during Superbowl 2014, the ‘most watched’ TV show in the US. What values are expressed here?

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This Valentine’s Day, let’s show some love to everyone in its supply chains

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?


Teaching and learning resources

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

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How to make & play Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Ethics Trump card game

In November last year, we made and played a Ethical Fashion Trump Card game that we were developing for the Fashion Revolution Day Education Pack.

Its aim is to encourage its players to think about their clothes and fashion ethics, a topic that’s more important than ever after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 24 April last year.

It’s a playful way of encouraging some serious discussion about who and what we are wearing.

Here, we want to showcase the new FRD pack – which was published yesterday –  and to provide a match report that will give you an idea of how the game can be made and played in your classroom, home, shed … wherever you play cards!

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If your Geography Homework is on Nike…

It’s happening right now.

At least one class of Year 8 students at an Exeter high school are doing some Nike homework this weekend.

Natalie Batten, one of the newly qualified Geography teachers who has been using followthethings.com with her students as part of our #followtheteachers project, has already blogged about an assignment like this. Click this button to read about  her experience and advice.

ftt Natalie button

If you’re interested in what it life and work can be like for the people who make sports clothing, we have some other recommendations that aren’t on our sire. The first film is on Nike and could be a vivid and useful source. But other students in other schools may have been given Adidas to research. We have a couple of films for you too, if that’s what you’ve been asked to research. And, at the end, we bring things right up to date: with a way to compare these two companies / brands.

Nike: behind the Swoosh

A student at the US’s largest Catholic University feels disgusted with what he reads about Nike and ‘sweatshops’ and, when he refuses to wear his University’s Nike soccer kit, he’s fired. So he sets off to Indonesia with a friend to find out if the factory and living conditions he’s read about are as he imagines. People at University keep telling him that things are fine. What he sees, what he does, and the people he meets in Indonesia have a powerful effect on them and what they decide to do next.

Pester Power

If you’re studying Geography and your homework is about Adidas, you should find this next film interesting. It’s a 2001 episode of the Mark Thomas Comedy Product TV series that involves a class of Geography students in London finding out – with the comedian/activist’s help – about the company’s labour practices in a unique, face-to-face way, in their classroom. Fast forward to 6 minutes 13 seconds. That’s where it starts.

Not OK here, not OK anywhere

This short video was produced by the charity War on Want as part of its campaign to highlight the abuse of workers making Adidas sportswear for fans and athletes attending the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It was part of a wider campaign whose webpages are listed here.

Commitments to workers: 2013 update

If you have been studying the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh in April this year, you may find it interesting to see which company has and which has not signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. There’s a story about one signing and the other not signing in this newspaper story. But check the latest list that’s published here. The situation may possibly change…

“You carry the stories of the people who make your clothes”

Because of our involvement in the commemoration of the Rana Plaza factory collapse through ‘Fashion Revolution Day’ (and its ‘Who made your clothes?’ theme), and the University of Exeter’s ‘What (not) to wear?’ ethical fashion Grand Challenge, we’ve been collecting films and other resources designed to engage consumers with the hidden social relations in their clothes, the lives in their things.

This short film, just published on YouTube, and it’s ‘behind the scenes’ sequel are fascinating, we think.

‘Handprint’: the film.

Behind the scenes: the making of ‘Handprint’.

Foxconn factory work: 2 perspectives

In response to a student query today about the pride that factory workers can have in making consumer goods for others, I recommended that the two short films below were watched one after the other.

Both are about the notorious manufacturer of Apple and other electronic goods: Foxconn.

Dreamwork China

This is an extract from a documentary film in which young factory workers are interviewed in a photo studio across the road from the factory.

iProtest

This is an episode of from the Al Jazeera TV series Activate, about the investigation into worker rights, health and safety in Foxconn factories by Hong Kong based NGO Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour.

Making music in trade justice education: listen up!

Creative academic expression

There’s an undergraduate module at the University of Exeter called ‘Geographies of Material Culture’. It’s one of two University modules whose student coursework form the basis of almost every followthethings.com page. The module is assessed through students’ critical self-reflections on whatever comes to mind through reading the academic literature and working together to research and publish draft ‘compilation’ pages and new work for the site. They are encouraged to be creative, to express themselves in ways that rework the traditional essay formal that everyone is used to. The work is diverse and fascinating. You never read the same thing twice.

‘How am I gonna be an activist about this?’

One type of work that’s started to emerge in 2013 are original songs, written, recorded and published online by students and written about on paper. There have been two so far. The first is by  Jenny Hart, who submitted her song at the start of the module this year (in October). She’s trying to get her head around the key theoretical baselines of the module. The second is by Tommy Sadler, who submitted his song at the end of the module last year (in January). He’s expressing what the module was about, for him. Both shared their songs via Soundcloud, and you can listen to them here:

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‘What (not) to wear’ event: an introduction

Whatnot conference slide

Click for the facebook event page

Date: 11 November 2013, 4-6pm

Venue: University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, Streatham Court, Lecture Room C.

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Our sponsor

A taster event for 1st year students: click for details

A taster event for 1st year University of Exeter students: click for details

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Setting the scene: journalism, activism & ‘Primark on the rack’

Primark on the rack Lego comic

Click for the flickr set with explanations

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Our audience: curious & expert students 

Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 12.28.08 PM

Click to read more about this module

A draft followthethings.com page published last week: click to read

A draft followthethings.com page published last week: click to read

A draft followthethings.com page, published last week: click to read

A draft followthethings.com page, published last week: click to read

Cards 31-35

New student work: e.g. Ethical Trade Trumps game

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Our hashtag

Ask questions using this. They'll appear here. Click!

Tweet photos of your ‘Made in…’ labels & ask questions with this.

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Our speakers

James Christie-Miller

Click for our Grand Challenge Events page

Click for our Grand Challenge Events page

& Carry Somers

Click here for our Grand Challenge events page

Click here for our Grand Challenge events page