Can YOU buy nothing new??

For everyone that knows me you know that I have this internal dilemma as a designer/artist. . . .

How can we as consumers/designers sustain this cycle of consumption when SO much of what we consume is useless/pointless ?? Yes, we all guilty of over consumption.

The real turning point in my thinking was while I was at Uni studying design, I was 2nd year (which was 2003) and I had this “Hippie” lecturer that WALKED everywhere, she refused to go anywhere that you couldn’t get to using public transport or to even sit in a car!! lol. She traced back the origin of all the products she bought to make sure they were sustainable- this dedication was exhausting!  Since that time I have followed the writing of Clive Hamilton. Especially his books Growth Fetish and Affluenza, they both really struck a chord with me not only as a designer, but as a consumer. It made me reflect on our society, and my personal consumption patterns and even where I worked (My Name is Monique Dalli, and I regrettably used to work for NIKE).

Culture jamming has been a response that I have participated in for a few years- Adbusters are a global culture jamming movement that encourage individuals to participate buy doing simple things: Digital detox  and Buy Nothing Day are ways EVERYONE can break patterns of consumption and reflect on WHAT you buy, and WHERE it comes from, especially poignant around the silly season of Christmas, I especially like this Adbuster image:

So. . . .  I got pretty excited when I saw this- AN AUSSIE JAM!!

Do YOU think you could BUY NOTHING NEW for a whole month? I pledged, but before it begun really needed to double confirm the parameters of the pledge lol

During the first 3 days of October I went on mini-holiday to Hobart, NO ONE got a souvenir or gift upon my return. Sorry to all my family and friends that would normally get a pressie, but this cause is greater than magnets and trinkets that are really just “made in china”. While exploring in Hobart I found some really cool stuff amongst the usual tourist crap at the Salamanca Markets, a lot of the stalls were handmade food and body products, but what really let the markets down was sadly the cliche Australia boomerangs and crappy unauthentic Aboriginal Art that is mass-produced. No, I didn’t buy anything.

This guy was making new little “Robots” from unwanted toys and junk, each Robot had a name and a card- which told you a little about its persona, and were its body parts came from, so very cool and creative! His slogan on the table was “Be creative, re-use, up-cycle”.

What really got me thinking after seeing his creations was- Where do all the unwanted toys usually go??!!?

Do you have children?? Where do all their unwanted toys go??

The rest of the 3 day holiday in Hobart I spent my $$ on experiences, walking round and visiting small galleries and MONA !!! I cant believe I walked through the souvenir shop and BOUGHT NOTHING, not even  KEY RING OR POST CARD!!! Seriously, that is my proudest achievement of the month so far!!

So, thats my first blog update for my month of BUYING NOTHING NEW, not to late to sign up!! can YOU do it??

Social Inequity in education. . .

I was doing my weekly readings for uni (sociology subject) which is focused on social inequity.
I felt the need to blog about it, because the CONCEPT of inequity really bothers me, the more I read the more I understand that it is SOCIETY forming this construct, my mind wandered and I started to apply the concept of inequity to education.
One example of how discrimination can be constructed is Jane Elliot’s blue eye/green eye experiment
IF you havent heard of Jane Elliot’s experiment- it’s pretty profound. In a week she constructs a class divide according to their eye colours- making blue eyed students more privileged within the classroom, also convincing them that they are smarter. Inversely- green eyes are a “middle class”, and poor brown eyed people have little to no privileges and are told they are “dumb”.
This kind of labeling had a direct affect on the students performance during this period- this divide is obviously based on physical predjudice, BUT!! the other inequity that has surface recently has been through general dialogue with colleges regarding streamed classes.

I personally am REALLY OPOSED to schools streaming classes, I do know there is data and research to say that higher bands of students excel in these environments, but what I’m REALLY concerned about is the social implications of labeling a student- is it not dissimilar to Jane Elliot’s labeling? Sure, it isn’t just based on physical attributes, but to a teenager it can be just as cruel and socially damaging.
While listening to various presenters at EdmodoCon present information about what they were and had been doing in their classrooms- I was hearing similar themes over and over. Their stories about how student learning was extended with a variety of activities that pushed conventional text book and examination boundaries I felt really once again passionate that students were pushing their limitations of what they thought their successes were BECAUSE their teachers were too.