‘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
In the UK’s discussions this week about appropriate responses to Isis/Daesh questions have been asked not only about bombing and ground troops, but also about supply lines of weapons, money and people. A brief examination of news reporting on these issues suggest that a ‘follow the things’ approach to understanding and combatting Isis/Daesh has been emerging over the past year. We’re using this post to begin to piece its elements together. Follow the links to flesh out the stories.
“[UK Labour Party leader] Jeremy Corbyn posed a series of rhetorical questions when asked whether bombing Isis following the Paris terror attacks would make a significant difference to the situation. In an interview with Lorraine Kelly on ITV, [he] answered “probably not”, adding: “Who is funding Isis? Who is arming Turkey? Who is providing safe havens for ISIS? You have to ask questions about the arms everyone has sold in the region. … So where does Isis get its money, guns and bombs, both in Europe and in the Middle East?” (Brooks-Pollock 2015 np link). Continue reading
Exeter students understand the financial crisis through ‘making money’.
Local people have been enjoying work by University of Exeter Geography students at an exhibition at The Hub on the Green this week. ‘Money Talks’ features artworks showing the human stories in our cash, credit cards, bank accounts and money markets.
These works were produced by University of Exeter Geography students who have been trying to understand the ongoing financial crisis and the Occupy activism that it has provoked around the world. They were inspired by the giant Monopoly set made by the artist Banksy for the Occupation site outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London. They were challenged to rethink, modify and design new kinds of money that could tell us about the lives of the people who had made, earned, spent, borrowed and traded it. They discussed these issues with people participating in Exeter’s Occupation on Cathedral Green. Their class met there, rather than on campus, throughout the project. This exhibition was the result of the conversations that took place.
One group of students asked people to write on the back of a five pound note what they had done to earn it. ‘Sell two copies of the Big Issue, which usually takes an afternoon’ wrote one. ‘My Dad gave it to me’, wrote another. Another made a stamp for visitors to print the question ‘Whose is this?’ on the banknotes in their wallets and purses. Another designed credit cards that would stop them from using them so often, covered with ‘health warnings’ like cigarette packets for example, and hung like baubles from the gallery’s Christmas tree. Another created a new online bank (http://bank.dotbill.co.uk/) based on the recent Justin Timberlake movie ‘In Time’.
Student Olivia Bailey, one of the online bank’s creators, said “We want visitors to go away, look at their statements and see much more than the numbers”. Charlotte Edwards, whose group designed the banknote stamp, explained, “We want it to act as a catalyst to debate alongside the Occupy movement, to encourage people to think about their money. Where’s it from? What’s it been spent on? Who will have it next? What’s the true worth of that money? And what’s it worth to you, its temporary owner?”
Their lecturer, Ian Cook said, ‘Working this way is much more exciting and relevant for all of us than hours of lectures where I’m supposed to be the only expert on these issues. Students have had to understand and imagine things differently, get out of our campus comfort zone, try to find new ways to talk to people about the financial crisis that we’re all experiencing, and work like artists. This is so much more than learning what you need to know to pass an exam! Huge thanks must go to Occupy Exeter and the Hub on the Green for being such generous hosts. This has been an important example of what can happen when ‘Gown meets Town.’
‘Money Talks’ opened at the Hub on the Green, 8 Cathedral Close, Exeter on Saturday 10th December, and is open to the public from 12.00-1.30 every day this week, except Thursday.
To find out more, see what visitors are saying, and join the conversation, please see our Facebook page here.
Photos by Ian Cook, Maura Pavalow & Tom Surr.