Category: Imagine

Political LEGO: an interview with Legofesto

Sri Lanka: Bombing a refugee camp 4

Sri Lanka: Bombing a refugee camp 4 (Legofesto 2009).

We re-create scenes from the trade justice documentaries, art and activist work in LEGO. We photograph them, put them online and embed them on our site’s pages. You can see what we’ve done here. This work was inspired by LEGO scenes from the ‘War on Terror’ produced by a person calling herself Legofesto. We read interviews with and articles about her that were published in 2009, but hadn’t found anything since. This year, after teaching Political LEGO on the MRes Critical Human Geographies at Exeter University, one student – Julia Zielke – emailed Legofesto to interview her for an essay. What questions hadn’t been asked in those 2009 pieces? What had Legofesto been doing since then? Can we expect any new Legofesto work? This is what she said… Continue reading

Everything is (not) awesome: Greenpeace, Shell & Lego activism.

Greenpeace & Lego

Greenpeace want Lego to end its links with Shell, and are currently campaigning through the medium of imaginative Lego re-creation. This video is one of a number of examples, whose aim is to encourage people to sign this petition. In the wake of the hugely successful Lego Movie (whose stars make a cameo appearance) this campaign is becoming perhaps the most lavish and high-profile example of Lego activism to date.

followthethings.com & Lego

On a much smaller budget, we’ve been making, photographing and posting online re-creations in Lego of (imagined) scenes from trade justice films, art and activism for a while now. See, for example, our recreations from and around the BBC Panorama documentary ‘Primark on the rack’. 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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Next week: we’re in a shopping centre talking clothes

We’ve been working on one of 12 ‘Grand Challenges’ that the University of Exeter runs each year for first year students. The idea is that academic staff introduce first year students from across the university to the Grand Challenges of the 21st Century, through some hands-on learning and with the help of visiting experts (who students refer to as ‘real people’, in my experience).

Challenges this year include Climate Change, Global Security and Mental Health, and the one that we’re running is on Fashion ethics after the Rana Plaza collapse. 

There are four ways to find out more, to get involved, and to follow us next week:

1) Our blog

All the background information we’ve put together to prepare for this challenge. The Rana Plaza collapse and its ripple effects, and how we’re trying to appreciate and work with these ripples in the space of Exeter’s Guildhall Shopping centre, where we’re be occupying 2 disused shops and its main square for 4 days next week.

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Click image for blog

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Why Eeva Legoed the kidnapping of Ronald McDonald

#followtheteachers blog post No.5

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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’.

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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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“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’.