Abstract

Timebanking is emerging as a new parallel economy: in the UK, the charity TimeBanking UK (project partner) supports a membership of around 300 community timebanks nationwide. A key defining characteristic of timebanks is the unit of exchange: all activities are valued equally and in terms of time, with an hour contributed by a legal expert rendered equivalent to an hour of dog-walking or baby-sitting. Leeds Creative Timebank (LCT), the primary partner in this project, shares this principle, but is currently the only UK bank dedicated to facilitating and promoting the collaborative exchange of time among creative practitioners.

We propose an agile, experimental social design intervention that explores the practices of collaborative exchange as experienced by, and through a co-commissioned study undertaken with members of the LCT. The project will investigate the value(s) of creative collaborative exchange through creative collaborative exchange. Put another way, it takes collaborative exchange as both the means and object of study.

We have chosen LCT as the object of the study precisely because it employs a non-monetary form of exchange. The project will not consider LCT as an independent or alternative economy but rather, as a parallel economy: one that co-exists alongside other economies. To do this, we will employ methods that allow us to work within the ethos and economy of both the LCT and the money-based UK research economy. Each investigator will have an equal number of hour-long denominations deposited for them in the bank. These hours will be ‘coined’ by the bank, as a kind of temporal quantitative easing, to enable our participation in the bank on the same basis as other members. The assembled ‘hours’ will be invested in individuals’ participation in two workshops and the co-production of two outputs: a research report and a creative publication. As investigators we will work simultaneously both within and outside the parallel economies of LCT and research councils. This experimental method assemblage will allow us to explore how collaboration supports the creation of multiple values from within, while also affording us a position from which to develop critical approaches to collaborative exchange from without. At the core of this collaboration will be the production of the two outputs.

Project details

Date:
June 2015 – September 2015
Funding:
AHRC (AH/N003799/1)
Funded value:
£12,501
Collaborators
  • Sarah Teasley, Royal College of Art (Co-Investigator)
  • Celia Lury, University of Warwick (Co-Investigator)
  • Graham Michael Pullin, University of Dundee (Co-Investigator)
  • Sue Ball, Leeds Creative Timebank (Co-Investigator)

NORTH Lab investigators

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