On Sunday 7th June, I travelled to Andover to deliver a full day of workshops and activities entitled Money Myths. This was a special event put on for Chapel Arts Studios as part of their ongoing project Bureau of Exchange: Challenging our relationships with money.
This is a month long public art project in a local pop-up shop. Each week a new resident artist transforms the shop to bring something new to Andover. From alternative culture and self publishing or creating alternative economies through to answering the question ‘where do I want to live?’ by building a 3D fictional city out of cardboard, The Bureau of Exchange allows Andover to imagine new ways of living, working and exchanging.
Brighton-based artist and Goodmoney supporter Lydia Heath was curating the event as well as running The Freed Market during the second week. When she invited me to come to Andover and deliver a session on money for some of the artists behind the project, I jumped at the chance.
The first session was inspired by the work of Peter Koenig and others, and focused on personal reflections on money – what money means to us, our early memories of money – as well as looking at the taboos around talking about money – how much debt are you in? Have you ever done anything you were ashamed of for money?
We then moved on to consider the importance of complementary currencies, looking at examples such as mutual credit, or community currencies such as the Torekes in Ghent.
Finally, we spent the last 90 minutes looking at the problems faced by the Arts and artists in particular. We were looking for connections between the various challenges, and started to imagine what an Arts currency may look like.
The energy and engagement of the participants was truly inspiring, and the day was a great success. The last session in particular could have been much longer, as some of the ideas being generated were very creative and potentially very effective.
I am looking forward to delivering similar workshops in Brighton to help people here question their relationship with money, to look upon it in a different light and to start to imagine how we can create alternative forms of money to help build the type of communities we truly want to live in.