Category: Museum of Contemporary Commodities

followthethings.com CEO wins Royal Geographical Society teaching award

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Photo credit: Nicola Thomas

Good news. On Monday, CEO Ian was awarded the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) ‘Taylor and Francis Award for Excellence in the Promotion and Practice of Teaching and Learning of Geography in Higher Education’.  He was nominated for the whole ‘follow the thing’ appreciation of the the social relations of trade and its application across school, university and wider public pedagogies. The ‘et al’ in his name signifies his permanent, heartfelt appreciation of everyone involved in the project over the years, and those who may join it in the future. As he explains:

“I am very happy and humbled to be given this award. My research began in the classroom where I miserably failed to encourage students to be interested in what was happening in other parts of the world. I was desperate to find a way to show how their lives were connected to those of the people and places we were studying. Finding out how some of our things are made, in some of those places, was the answer and that’s how the ‘follow the thing’ idea originated in Kentucky in the late 1980s. Since then, I’ve really enjoyed developing ways to help students follow their own things, to think empathetically about their relations and responsibilities to others in the process, and to play, have fun, make mischief, be activist with their findings. I’ve learned as much as I have taught as we have done this together. I’ve been constantly surprised by what I have learned from the students who have taken my modules and worked as interns on the followthethings.com project. Being ourselves is a massively collaborative effort. I truly appreciate everyone’s contributions.”

This work continues -> next we’re working on our ‘follow the things’ Subvertisement project in Finland with Eeva Kempainnen – researching and adding 10 new pages to our website – running our free Fashion Revolution ‘Who Made My Clothes?’ course that starts on 26th July, and opening the Museum of Contemporary Commodities at the RGS(IBG)’s Pavilion Gallery on London’s Exhibition Road from 24th – 27th August. Please join us.

Shopping and subversion

This week, for the module behind our website, we held an arts and activism symposium at the University of Exeter. One of our speakers was artist Louise Ashcroft, who worked with us on our sister project the Museum of Contemporary Commodities earlier this year (what she made is here)Never have we heard students laugh so hard and be so inspired in an academic classroom. Watch Louise’s TED talk and you’ll see what we mean.

 

Our Arts & Activism Symposium @exetergeography today

Today is an exciting day in the university module that powers our website. It’s our annual Arts and Activism Symposium, funded and hosted by the Department of Geography at the University of Exeter. Here’s the line-up and some background info on the projects our speakers will be talking about. After this, our students develop their own commodity activist work.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-21-12-391) Orsola de Castro: watch this

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followthethings.com as digital geography

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Ian was asked recently to write a short article about the subversive possibilities of digital geographic practice for the journal  Justice Spatiale | Spatial Justice and to place followthethings.com in this emerging, absent, who knows what, tradition. It’s just been published.

We noticed that followthethings.com, or anything that seems (to us) to be anything like it, was not being discussed in reviews of digital geographies. So, we imagined the kind of review in which it would be a central example. A review that’s based on already-published literature that’s informed and helped us to make sense of what we’ve made and what we can do with it. A review whose plea for ‘more digital geographies’ is a plea both for more experiments in digital geography, and for experiments that are themselves more digital.

This kind of work more fully lives in and works through the new media ecology of web2.0. followthethings is an example of what this can look like, how it can operate, the kinds of arguments it can make, how it can make those arguments, how it could be assessed, what we could and should write about ‘it’ in academic journals.

Other examples are, of course, available. For us, the Museum of Contemporary Commodities (MoCC) project also fits this bill, in its own unique ways.

See what you think. Click the image to read the full argument.

Thanks to our friends at Paris 7 University for this opportunity to express ourselves.

Artist commissions with MoCC: call for proposals

We’re in our second year of collaboration with Artist and PhD student Paula Crutchlow and whole crew of other people on the Museum of Contemporary Commodities (MoCC) project. In 2015 we had residencies at Furtherfield in London’s Finsbury Park. Watch the video below to see what this led to. Now we’re moving to Exeter, and have a couple of artist commissions to fill. The advert is below. Please consider applying if this is your thing, or pass it to others. Check out our MoCC website for more…

Finsbury Park 2015: MoCC Free Market

Exeter 2016 artist commisions: call for commissions

MoCC is inviting proposals for the commissioning of two dynamic public encounters that explore urgent questions related to the nexus of data-trade-place-values. We are interested in receiving applications for remote interventions as well as Exeter based working processes, and are looking for artists who can demonstrate both a critical engagement with networked processes, and experience of making in a social context. The commissions are co-hosted with Exeter Phoenix, Exeter Library and Devon Fab Lab and have been developed in partnership with Furtherfield. Final art work will be shared as part of the Exeter iteration of MoCC during May 2016, alongside a programme of film screenings, walkshops/workshops and public discussions about potential ethical futures of trade and exchange in late capitalism.

Find out more about the commissions and how to apply HERE

Our ‘Trade Justice Thinkering Day’, on 13 January.

Our latest project has been brewing throughout 2012. It starts on Friday. It’s a closed workshop with an open hour at the end. It’s being documented to disseminate the ideas that are generated. We will tweet throughout the day via @MoCCofficial. Follow us and watch out for more…

A day of collective imaginings towards new digital happenings in trade justice activism

11th January 10am-6pm, Margaret Rooms, University of Exeter

What if every shop were a museum and the objects for sale part of an ever changing exhibition on contemporary consumer culture? How would their hidden histories be revealed? How could you re-write their future lives?

The Museum of Contemporary Commodities (MoCC) is an idea developed by Dr Ian Cook (University of Exeter and followthethings.com) and Paula Crutchlow (Blind Ditch) to explore trade justice activism in relationship to ubiquitous and pervasive technologies. MoCC’s aim is to move thinking around trade justice out of the classroom, cinema and art gallery, beyond the textbook, computer and TV screen, and in to our personal experiences of everyday commodity worlds.

This ‘Thinkering’ day is the beginning of a journey to discover what kind of critical object-space-people interactions are both possible and necessary in today’s consumer environments. We’d like to open up the MoCC idea into a growing collection of co-authored events by multiple activists. We hope that MoCC will become something self sustaining, infiltrating and subversive… actively moving towards new ways of trading together.

This MoCC trade justice ‘thinkering’ is being supported by REACT, a collaboration led by the University of the West of EnglandWatershed, and the Universities of BathBristolCardiff and Exeter, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The day will be documented in various ways by ‘us’ the participants, student geographers and REACT, in order to disseminate the project and its ideas more widely in future. 

Day outline:

9.30am Arrivals

10.00am Introduction Ian Cook and Paula Crutchlow

10.30am – 11.30 am 10 minute provocations by invited guests

11.30am – 12.15pm – participant intros and set up of prototyping format

12.15pm – 5pm creating prototypes, using as prompts ‘MoCC cards’  1: smartphones / tablet computers,  2: plastic packaging3: bananas4: medicine pills & 5: cotton clothing.

5pm – 5.30pm – Open summary of the day by Jon Dovey, REACT and sharing of prototypes for an invited audience of Exeter University – staff and students – and broader local audience.

5.30pm – Drinks

Participants 

Jenny Chan – Students & Scholars against Corporate Misbehavior | Ruth Catlow – Furtherfield | Dan Harris – Blind Ditch + Fjord | Dorothea Kleine – The Fair Tracing Project + RHUL, University of London  | Ann Light – The Fair Tracing Project + Northumbria University | John Levack Drever – Blind Ditch + Goldsmiths, University of London | Kate Rich – Feral Trade | Alice Angus – Proboscis | James Richards – Chromatrope | Matt Davenport – Pervasive Media Studio + REACT Sam Kinsley – Digital Cultures Research Centre Cat Radford – Blind Ditch Tobit Emmens – Devon Partnership NHS Trust Jon Dovey – REACT + Digital Cultures Research Centre Chris Hunt – i-DAT Meredydd Jones – ROKK Media Harry Robbins – Outlandish Ideas Martin Thomas – RAMM Will Barrett – Exeter University Anka Djordjevic – Exeter University Simon Moreton – Pervasive Media Studio + REACT

Documenters: Katie Tyler, Nancy Scotford, Maddy Morgan, Joe Thorogood, Rachel Grant, Elizabeth Baillie & Eeva Kemppainen

Filmmaker: Benjamin Borley | tumblr site

Documentation

Our participants and documenters tweeted throughout the day, and we have assembled from these tweets a Storify that gives a sense of the thinkering that unfolded…