GA Conference 2017 #5 - Day 2 Starting with Follow the Things

A bright day, started with breakfast in Starbucks and a flat white and croissant. I prefer COSTA of course, as they paid me to write their resources HERE.
The first lecture was by Ian Cook of “Follow the Things”.
A few years ago, Ian paid me to write some educational resources HERE

The session was about the use of Lego to produce stories related to trade justice issues and other controversial scenes and events. Ian talked about the work that he had completed as part of the work he does at the University of Exeter, and with an organisation called Fashion Revolution.
Ian spent some time describing the stages in the production of a Lego recreation.
He described the elements that make up the scene, and then how it is composed.
Facial expressions on the Lego figures are important, and he gave some tips on how to set up a scene which would tell a story, and also how to shop around for Lego to build up a collection suitable for creating these scenes. He had previously brought his Lego to the Ideas Zone at a previous GA conference, and there's a picture of me and Dan Raven Ellison here. Please click that link and go through Ian's Storify...

He showed us the picture below, which was then added to the Flickr account on the morning of the 4th anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, which happens to be today.
It's here:

See the original page with all the details here.

He talked us through the ideas behind the recreation and the framing of the image.
  • Observing the scene.
  • Picture taken on phone.
  • Lighting – need to take it down
  • Make it a little out of focus and shadowy.
  • Claustrophobic sense.
  • Facial expression appropriate

The 4th anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster is today, and there are going to be Fashion Revolution challenges completed at work over the next few days.

Ian shared some images on the Flickr feed but when people used the images elsewhere, the context and captions were lost. They were Creative Commons licensed, so designed to be shared. These new images have the captions on them. They are also inspired by the structure and phrasing of memes: These often start “When you….”

"When journalists film the cracks in your factory’s pillars".

He invited us to think about the production of such scenes and the thought process that goes into them. This is one way of revisiting a story and refreshing people’s ideas of the events and their meaning. He also introduced two artists who have used Lego in provocative ways. These included Zbigniew Libera , who made sets of Concentration Camps (one of the ideas being that there is no requirement to build one just because the instructions say that you have to) and also Lego Festo.

There was an interesting question at the end of the session which asked whether there were some issues which were too controversial to be made into Lego.

Ian also flagged up a MOOC which is to take place in the summer term called: Who made my clothes? which is being run through FutureLearn.

This is free to sign up to, and consists of three sections which can be completed at your own pace.

A great way to start the conference...

Image: Copyright Ian Cook et al