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.
Here’s Ian et al’s first paper about the making of followthethings.com. It was published in French in 2014 and has recently been made available on open access. You can now download the paper as it was originally written in English. If you want the French version, click here.
followthethings.com was not designed and then made, but emerged from an iterative, creative, collaborative, conversation-infused, open-ended, making project. The paper is written to reflect this. Here’s the abstract: Continue reading
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
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.
Today, we started to play with the Fashion Ethics Trump card game we’ve made for, and with, Fashion Revolution Day.
We ended up tweeting some #fashtrumps selfies and a step by step guide for anyone who wants to join the #fashtrumps conversation.
We present to you here: some examples of #fashtrumps selfies, those guiding tweets and a twitter box that will show the ones that you have made…
Give this a go!
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.