Category: Reactions

Commodity activism in a transmedia world: our latest publication

There’s an academic publications page on our blog that gives a taste of, and provides access to, our research papers about the followthethings.com project. A book chapter has just been published in an open access e-book that brings together a series of lectures in Switzerland asking if and how social scientific research can transform society. Our answer is a qualified yes.

Cook et al, I. (2017) followthethings.com: analysing relations between the making, reception and impact of commodity activism in a transmedia world. in Ola Söderström, Laure Kloetzer & Hugues Jeannerat (eds) Innovations Sociales: Comment les Sciences Sociales contribuent à transformer la Société, MAPS: Université de Neuchâtel, 50-61 Full Text

What we are keen to find out are what filmmaking, artistic and activist tactics lead to what kinds of public and corporate responses, and with what kinds of impacts on whom. There is an established argument that, when this work is didactic and tries to enroll its audiences through blame, shame and guilt, it tends to fail. Audiences feel powerless, overwhelmed, apathetic, and angry at those making them feel this way rather that at the injustices exposed (Barnett 2010, Sandlin & Milam 2008, Cook & Woodyer 2012). Even the most cursory examination of our website suggests that the elements of, and relationships set out in, this argument are quite narrowly defined. To illustrate this, we offer below a taste of what’s to come from the analysis of the followthethings.com archive. We provisionally outline one engagement tactic, one kind of consumer response, one kind of corporate response, and one kind of impact.

Guest blog | Milkybar buttons & child slavery: primary children write to Nestle

This is the latest in our #followtheteachers series. In December last year, Ian was contacted ‘out of the blue’ by Joe Lambert, a trainee teacher at Montgomery Primary School in Exeter who had been an undergraduate Geography student at Exeter University, where Ian works and where followthethings.com is based. Would Ian be interested in working with him and the school’s 7-9 year old (Year 3 and 4) students, who were following food the following month? Yes was the answer. Here’s what happened, as described by Joe. Montgomery Primary: Daniel's postcard to Nestle and a child slave picking cocoa in the Ivory Coast After hearing geography was the key focus of the first few weeks of the January term, my ears immediately pricked. A geography graduate rarely gets an opportunity to use his degree but when he does you know he is going to relish it! My interests were further stoked when the topic was narrowed to identifying where does our food come from? This was the wonderful, crystallising moment when you realise maybe paying attention in the 1st year of your degree was worthwhile. Continue reading

How could my students use followthethings.com?

We’re starting a library of followthethings.com teaching resources, lesson plans, guides, coursework, anything that the site’s users are producing to help their students to learn from the site.

A new ‘teaching resources’ page has been added (look right!).

We’ve started it off with a handout that we used this summer to organise university students’ explorations of the site at Exeter University. A shorter version was also used with 6th form students who were on campus for a ‘Discover Geography’ day.

They’re word documents, which you can download and edit for your own students.

If you have a handout that you’d like to share with other site users, please email it to us on followthethings@yahoo.com.

If you have any questions or comments about site (its Twitter feed, its facebook page and/or its shopping back flickr project) and how you and your students could best make use of it, please submit them in a comment to this post or email us at the address above.

Thanks!