Re-drawing the Economy: Creating Place-based Images that Can Travel

This project is funded by an Antipode Foundations Scholar-Activist Project Award (opens in a new window)

Project team: Professor Katherine Gibson and Dr Stephen Healy - Institute for Culture & Society, Western Sydney University; Associate Professor Jenny Cameron – Centre of Urban & Regional Studies, University of Newcastle Australia; and Associate Professor Wendy Harcourt - International Institute of Social Sciences, Erasmus University, The Hague.

A green community garden against a backdrop of tall city buildings.The Agro-cité on the outskirts of Paris developed by the EU funded R-URBAN project with occasional input from CERN members.

Distributed learning and experimentation, autonomous initiatives, and sharing provide examples for how we might move beyond capitalism and build societies worth living in. There is a saying - "what's measured is what's managed" and among social scientists there is increasing recognition that representation and reality are performatively connected.

Through this project the research team is working with communities to develop their own images, narratives, measurements and representations of community economy practice. Workshops are being led by each of the authors of Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities (TBTE) in collaboration with the book's translators in Korea, Colombia and Finland. In each country the translators are connected with activist communities (in urban Seoul and rural Gwangju in South Korea; the agricultural hinterland of Bogotá, Colombia; in urban Reyjkavik and the rural communities of Tampere and Oulu in Finland). In addition an artist member of the Community Economies Research Network is involved in the redrawing workshops in each location.

The key provocations posed are:

  • how can we identify the shared challenges and different answers to the question of how to live in common?
  • how might ethical economic concerns be visually represented in culturally relevant ways?
  • what enables visual representations to travel across place, culture and language?

It is hoped that collaborative analysis of local examples of community economic activity will crystallise the innovations and ethical dynamics at work, and produce new images of TBTE tools that can communicate to wide audiences beyond each place.

On completion of the workshops the images and materials produced will be curated into a digital exhibition of images that re-draw 'the economy'. This will be curated by the three activist artists involved in the project. It will be aimed at a global networks involved in activism and pedagogy. The exhibition will be displayed on the Community Economies website and on the websites of organisations affiliated with this project.

To ensure a post-project life, the final stage will take the form of a five day Design Lab aimed at combining outputs from the workshops and digital exhibition into a teaching module for use with postgraduates from over 50 countries in the Masters of Development Studies at the International Institute of Social Sciences (ISS), The Hague. This activity will be financially supported by the Julie Graham Community Economy Research Fund.

Poster advertising Katherine Gibson's Take Back the Urban Community Economy events in Korea.

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