Category: child labour

Follow the… Fairtrade Fortnight 2017

‘Would people still love a bargain if we bought these issues closer to home?’

‘Money is the journey we send it on.’

It’s fairtrade fortnight, the time of year when companies and NGOs make the relations and responsibilities between the producers and consumers of everyday things mainstream news. In this post we highlight two contrasting videos in which these relations are a) brought close to home through the delivery of food and b) stretched out through investing money (perhaps the most fascinating commodity) in an ethical ISA. Watch and discuss…

Follow the produce: the home delivery service they weren’t expecting

Follow the money: the most rewarding cash ISA in the world

Fashion Revolution call for papers at RGS(IBG) annual conference

We’re involved in running a session at the Royal Geographical Society (Institute of British Geography) annual conference this summer whose aim is to bring academic fashion experts into dialogue with the Fashion Revolution movement. We’re asking how fashion research can contribute to what is becoming a worldwide movement for a more ethical / sustainable fashion industry in the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in April 2013. We’re looking for academic research from any discipline that can contribute to Fashion Revolution’s five year planning. Here’s what we’re doing. Please get in touch with Ian, Lousie and/or Alex to discuss any ideas. The deadline for abstracts is Friday 12th February.

– Call for papers –

Scholar activism and the Fashion Revolution: ‘who made my clothes?’

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Abstract

The collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex on April 24th 2013, which crushed to death over 1,000 people making clothes for Western brands, was a final straw, a call to arms, for significant change in the fashion industry. Since then, tens of thousands of people have taken to social media, to the streets, to their schools and halls of government to uncover the lives hidden in the clothes we wear. Businesses, consumers, governments, academics, NGOS and others working towards a safer, cleaner and more just future for the fashion industry have been galvanised.

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Talk: keeping conversations going with Political LEGO

A couple of weeks ago, followthethings.com CEO Ian Cook gave a talk explaining why we re-create scenes described on our website it LEGO, what our shoppers like about them, and what they add to our scholar-activist work. That talk was filmed and you can watch it below. He talked through a series of re-creations made in response to the controversy provoked by a TV documentary film called ‘Primark on the rack’ that was first broadcast 2008, and re-energised by Primark’s response to the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013. It draws upon the work of Political LEGO artists like legofesto, whose conversation with Julia Zielke we published a few months ago. Ian’s talk outlines the argument being made in an academic paper he’s currently writing. Think of this talk as its Trailer….

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How to run a subvertisement workshop

One of our former interns, Eeva Kemppainen, now works in Helsinki for the pro-Fair Trade NGO Eettisen kaupan puolesta (Pro Ethical Trade Finland). In 2014, she published a paper in the Finnish journal Natura about ways in which she tries to engage students in humorous critiques of consumption and advertising. They examine, then cut up, rearrange and/or scribble on magazine adverts. They try to subvert their messages so that the information that they hide is made visible. What they produce are what’s called subvertisments. Here Eeva describes how she organises subvertisement workshops, and showcases some of the work that students have produced.

HM vastamainos, Vaskivuoren lukio

Figure 1: An example of a student-produced subvertisment: rearranging kids in an H&M advert to show connections between who makes and wears their clothes

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Guest blog | Milkybar buttons & child slavery: primary children write to Nestle

This is the latest in our #followtheteachers series. In December last year, Ian was contacted ‘out of the blue’ by Joe Lambert, a trainee teacher at Montgomery Primary School in Exeter who had been an undergraduate Geography student at Exeter University, where Ian works and where followthethings.com is based. Would Ian be interested in working with him and the school’s 7-9 year old (Year 3 and 4) students, who were following food the following month? Yes was the answer. Here’s what happened, as described by Joe. Montgomery Primary: Daniel's postcard to Nestle and a child slave picking cocoa in the Ivory Coast After hearing geography was the key focus of the first few weeks of the January term, my ears immediately pricked. A geography graduate rarely gets an opportunity to use his degree but when he does you know he is going to relish it! My interests were further stoked when the topic was narrowed to identifying where does our food come from? This was the wonderful, crystallising moment when you realise maybe paying attention in the 1st year of your degree was worthwhile. Continue reading

Guest blog: gagged student reporter publishes story!

Original photo: copyright Ben Doherty / Fairfax Media Australia (used with permission)

Original photo: copyright Ben Doherty / Fairfax Media Australia (used with permission)

Student and followthethings.com intern Will Kelleher has an exclusive story.

The last two weeks before I handed in my dissertation were a bit frantic. I was trying to publish an article about the rugby ball I had followed in my University’s student newspaper Exeposé.

Because of the damning information I had found, it was right and proper to contact the company who made that ball for a response. They demanded to see the article and, having read it, went on the attack:

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14 February: nothing says ‘I love you’ like…

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?

Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day soon. It’s also been claimed as International Flower Workers’ Day. We’ve added a Seasonal Header to our website to make the point that they are the same thing.

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Click this to get to our website

We have also created a set of Lego re-creations to encourage discussion about things and love this week.

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’, where a New York jeweler 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. Click here to go directly to the YouTube Valentine’s Day playlist that goes with the set.

February 14th could be an unforgettable day.

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