Category: followtheteachers

Why Eeva Legoed the kidnapping of Ronald McDonald

#followtheteachers blog post No.5

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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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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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“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.

followthethings & research impact

There’s a new special issue of the online, open access Geography journal ACME on the impact of academic research. This has become one of the ways in which the value of academic research is assessed in UK Higher Education, through the Research Excellence Framework.

One of the papers is by Ian Cook et al (that’s me/us), about the longstanding ‘follow the things’ research and public pedagogy that led to the creation and opening of followthethings.com in October 2008. To give a flavour of its approach to impact, here’s an extract from the paper:

When you publish academic work and make it freely available online, people read it and get in touch with you asking if you’d like to take part in work they’re (thinking of) doing. So you end up doing all kinds of unexpected things. This way of working is a core principle of ‘organic public geographies’ (Fuller and Askins, 2010; Hawkins et al., 2012). And it involves writing critical, radical, scholarly papers that are both publishable in academic journals and books, and accessible to more than academic audiences – like school teachers, journalists, filmmakers and artists: the people who make and use the work you’re researching. This is not the kind of “unidirectional knowledge” transfer that aims to make clear interventions in public debates (Pain et al., 2010, 185). It’s the kind that has critical pedagogy at its heart, that treats knowledge as “emerg[ing] only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other” (Freire, 1996, 52-3). Here, as Rich Heyman (2010) argues, academic writing should not be treated as the end point of research. Instead, it should aim to encourage research and conversation to continue beyond publication by offering its readers, for example, catchy and surprising narratives to engage with, unheard voices to listen to, unfamiliar concepts to use, tricky problems to think through, new skills to learn, and intriguing detective work to do (Cook and Woodyer, 2012). 

Cook et al (2014, 48).

If you want to read the rest of the argument, download it here.

If you have any comments or questions, please submit them below.

Thanks

Ian

Fashion Revolution Day: the first Trump card game

Yesterday at the Department of Geography at the University of Exeter, we heard Carry Somers talking about Fashion Revolution Day at our ‘What (not) to wear?’ conference. There was mention of an Ethical Trade Trump card game invented by students taking ‘Geographies of Material Culture’ in 2012 – using data from free2work.org – being adapted as followthethings.com’s contribution to this campaign.

A new Fashion pack will soon be designed, but today we tested out the idea in class. Students each made a card based on something they were wearing, sketched it, added the grades from free2work and – for extra information at the bottom of each card – added whether that company / brand had signed the Accord on Fire & Building Safety in Bangladesh.

The match report

6 teams of 8 students each made one or more cards in the first 15 minutes. One student was elected from each group as their player, and we staged a 6 player tournament at the front of the classroom. The cards were shuffled and dealt. The game began with player one calling out a brand (Cheap Monday!), a category (policies!), a grade (A+!), and then slamming the card on the table (drama!). The other players then took the card at the top of their pack, one after the other, called out its brand (Calvin Klein! or Adidas!), and its policy grade (C-! or A+), and slammed their cards on the table. The audience gathered round, watching their cards being played, helping their players to win and lose each round.

In each round, the player who called out the highest grade took all of the cards, and started the next round. If there was a draw – like between Cheap Monday and Adidas, both with A+ grades for their policies – the ‘key fact’ could be played: had the brand / company signed the Accord? In this case, only Adidas had (only very recently, the referee had to say), so that was the winning card.

The game went on with rounds in which, for example, only ‘worker rights’ scores could be played. It ended with a ‘winner takes all’ round, with the 3 remaining contestants. This was dramatic: a draw that was resolved by the key fact. The Accord-signatory won. Well done Adidas! Good job you signed the accord. Nobody wants a losing card. Whoops all around.

After the game ended, we discussed what had happened, why some cards were worse to play that others, why – with one exception – the policy grades were higher than the ‘workers’  rights’ grades, and how to find out why by looking at brands’ detailed free2work ‘score cards’. So, 40 minutes into class, we were talking about, asking informed questions about, and having a good idea how to find out more about the relations between ethical trade policies, transparency, monitoring, workers’ rights and the Accord. 

This game can be made and played by any group of people trying to learn the basics and/or intricacies of Ethical Trade and Corporate Social Responsibility.

This is our 46 card pack, scanned after the game. What would your pack be like?

Fashion Revolution Day Ethical Trade Trump card game trial: 2of 2

Fashion Revolution Day Ethical Trade Trump card game trial: 1 of 2

If you want to have a go:

Let us know about your game, send us your packs and match reports!

Thanks

Ian

Credits

This game was devised in 2012 as coursework ‘Geographies of Material Culture’ at the University of Exeter by Joe Thorogood, Michael Franklin, Sophie Angell, Florence Flint, Bryony Board, Toby Swadling, Jack Saxton, Jake Pincock, Emma Hargreaves & Joe Harrison. This pack was re–designed by Ian Cook, in consultation with the #followtheteachers ‘user crew’ Alan Parkinson, Oprah Whipp, Victoria Salt, Charlotte Wild, Jenny Thomas, Natalie Batten, Heather Taylor & Mary Biddulph for use in schools and universities.

Update

This pack was revised in 2014 as followthethings.com’s contribution to Fashion Revolution Day, an Ethical Fashion Trump Card Game is part of its Education Pack (download link to be added when this this is live).

 

Playing cards: ftt’s Ethical Trade Trump game

It’s a game

Students at the University of Exeter designed an Ethical Trade Trumps card game in November last year using data from free2work.org. This summer, we worked this up into a ftt-‘branded’  game, complete with rules, and templates so that groups of people could make and play cards with their stuff. You can download its templates here. This was designed with advice from the secondary school teachers involved in our #followtheteachers project. Natalie is using them with her A-level class to help with Globalisation revision: look!

The idea

When you make cards for your stuff and play them with others, you learn about the companies who make your stuff, their labour policies, transparency, monitoring  and worker rights. In one sense, it’s a simple game of trumping –  ‘Ha! My shoes’ worker rights score beats your Kitkat’s!’ – but making and playing the cards also raises questions about what you can find out about your stuff, what ‘monitoring’, ‘worker rights’ and a ‘living wage’ mean, how they are measured, and what to think about this.

Playing cards

Yesterday, we ran our first Top Trump workshop, at Bath Spa University, with Ranji Devadason and her students (a big thanks to them for giving this such a good go). Here we share the cards that were played at this first ever Ethical Trade Trump tournament!

The experience

The atmosphere was tense but fun. Poker faces were everywhere. Imagine being dealt some of these cards! How would you play them? What was it like for them to play with their stuff like this? We’re inviting them to say so, in comments on this post…

PS if you are unfamiliar Trump card games, check this Wikipedia page.

Credits

This game was devised in 2012 as coursework ‘Geographies of Material Culture’ at the University of Exeter by Joe Thorogood, Michael Franklin, Sophie Angell, Florence Flint, Bryony Board, Toby Swadling, Jack Saxton, Jake Pincock, Emma Hargreaves & Joe Harrison. This pack was re–designed by Ian Cook, in consultation with the #followtheteachers ‘user crew’ Alan Parkinson, Oprah Whipp, Victoria Salt, Charlotte Wild, Jenny Thomas, Natalie Batten, Heather Taylor & Mary Biddulph for use in schools and universities.

Update

This pack was revised in 2014 as followthethings.com’s contribution to Fashion Revolution Day, an Ethical Fashion Trump Card Game is part of its Education Pack (download link to be added when this this is live).