Happy ‘shopping’: making & using followthethings.com bags
This post began as a contribution to a special issue of the journal ACME on the new ‘impact’ agenda in British Higher Education. Our shopping bags and ‘ladybugging’ activities seemed to fit this bill, although their ‘impact’ wasn’t measurable (and that was the point). In the end, another short piece on impact was written for the journal. We have revised that original paper to post here, and hope it may be interesting for readers who are keen to use our site and/or bags in their teaching and wider ‘shopping’ activities.
Update September 2016: sorry, we have no bags left to give away. They’ve all gone. If you have one, it’s a priceless collector’s item. If you see someone carrying one, please say hi.
“We need to develop forms of critique that inspire hauntings, feed feelings, come alive, leap out and grab us, … that are not just about vital materiality but are themselves vitally material” (Cook & Woodyer 2012 p.238).
St Valentine’s Day: love, following, things.
We are going to love this week at followthethings.com HQ.
We’ve redesigned our website’s header for the season. Here it is:
[click the Cherubs’ banner, and you will get to this page]
We’re adding Finland’s favourite chocolate to our site, a new page created by University of Helsinki MPhil student Eeva Kemppainen. She’s working with us in Exeter this Spring. She is creating our first pages to be simultaneously published in English and Finnish.
We’re re-creating a scene from this new page in Lego, to add to our ‘Made in Lego…’ flickr set.
We’ve started to tweet Valentine’s Day issues, stories and activism. Like this:
“Guidance for consumers on Valentine’s Day” from @f2w & @ilrf laborrightsblog.typepad.com/international_… — followthethings.com (@followthethings) February 10, 2013
Did you know? Valentine’s Day is also ‘International Flower Workers Day”. See @waronwant‘s story waronwant.org/component/cont… — followthethings.com (@followthethings) February 10, 2013
Sending flowers? Wanting flowers? Check this @openuniversity blog post on “The ethics of St. Valentine’s Day” open.ac.uk/platform/blogs… — followthethings.com (@followthethings) February 10, 2013
On Thursday, all of our efforts will come together in a public Lecture at the University of Exeter. It’s ‘The St Valentine’s Day public lecture: love, following, things.” Here’s the opening slide:
Here’s the description on its facebook event page:
Come take part in a public lecture and discussion that puts chocolate, renowned for its romancing qualities, under the spotlight this Valentine’s Day. Ian Cook (Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Exeter) will be using Finnish chocolate (following them through the world economy as physical goods) as a case study in a broader discussion of trade justice and emphatic socio-economic relations. The discussion will also cover the ways in which this approach to understanding the exchange of material goods can be taught and learned in universities, engaging students in the issue of trade justice activism in critical, creative and enthusiastic ways. The event will take place in the Peter Chalk Centre, lecture theatre Newman C. It will take place at 2pm on Thursday 14th February.
Everyone is welcome.
Inspirations for ladybugging
About a year ago, we started to cut the ladybirds from our shopping bags and let them fly away to ask questions of other commodities in shopping and other spaces. Some of our first experiments were undertaken in Paris in March 2012. Click the slideshow photos for the captions:
@followthethings ladybirds love to spend time in Paris, and wanted to go there ever since they saw this video about a grafitti artist and his work there:
Swarms of @followthethings ladybird are expected to migrate to Paris in March this year…
The ftt ladybird enters the world of creative writing
Thanks to Nikki McMurray.
Craft work with followthethings.com shopping bags.
If you have one of our shopping bags, why not release its ladybirds, and repair your bag with an appropriate patch?
Personalise your bag!
Customise your bag!
And then show and tell us what you’ve done.
If you want to know more, you can download our short ‘make do and mend’ booklet by clicking the photo on the left.
The patch in our prototype bag is taken from an audit report of the factory in which it was made.