London to Amsterdam – Report from the Dreamworld Sharing Economy Tour

hello,

Backtracking briefly to Bristol… Had a brief coffee meeting with Steve Clarke from the Bristol pound – learned about their goals (supporting local business to strengthen it in the face of global competition and other pressures) and shared how we’re approaching connecting various economic tools. Very enjoyable and informative, very quick. Then just before leaving I met with Paul Baker and his friend Mike, a principal player in the local Happy City Initiative. Their work has a lot of overlapping goals and methodologies with the work of Time For the World. He was quite interested in how timebanking might be applied to their own efforts to build a Happy City.

Then I took a train straight to Camden where I played a few songs at Songs of Love and Hate #1, a musician showcase at Bar Solo. I was met there by Martin Simon of timebanking UK, where we had a lovely chat and caught up on what’s happening over here in timebanking land. Also, Leesa and Mark came from Oxfordshire and brought me my music equipment. Thanks to them for saving me a lot of extra hauling! They all had to leave before my performance but Leander (you probably recognize his name, formerly of Time For the World, now with New Economics Foundation) came and stayed, then helped me get my stuff back to his place where I’ve been staying.

June 12 was a big day. First we saw Book of Mormon. In the evening the New Economics Foundation (NEF) hosted and I led (loosely!) a discussion with members of the Co-Production practitioners network. This was a great learning opportunity for me and, hopefully, all of us.

Here are the notes from that discussion: Coproduction and Dane County Timebank

Co-Producers at NEF

Co-Producers at NEF

Hackney Shares, London Legacy projects, Rushey Green, Lee Fair Shares, Nusho, Spice, NEF, local council and public health officials and others were represented (I’ll share the notes when I get them). Had a very interesting discussion about the various modalities different timebankers are using. Some use printed paper time credits that work like an incentive for ‘volunteering’ for projects, then members redeem them for activities or at participating businesses. Most of the older ones do timebanking similarly to how we do but more broker-centered due to mandates from their health-related and/or government funding sources. There was a lot of interest in our project focus and a lot of interest generally in learning from each other. There was also some pretty interesting and respectful discussion of the tensions that sometimes arise when consultants step into a field where seasoned practitioners have been operating for a long time. All in all really good. I look forward to sharing in more detail after I have the notes.

June 14 Leander and I saw Yoko Ono play with Plastic Ono Band (with Sean Lennon) to kick off the Meltdown Festival which she’s curating for her 80th birthday. A revelation! She’s my hero and rocks harder at 80 than anyone at any age, imo.

June 15 in the morning I met with Paul Baker (mentioned above, whom I met at our Findhorn Currency Design Course with John Rogers and Jonathan Dawson, back in 2010 when we were just kicking off our project. Also where we met Leander) and his friend Maria Arpa, where I learned a lot about the great work she’s doing in restorative justice and facilitation support, trainer training, etc. She’s really a dynamo. We talked about how we could support and build on each other’s work. I’m hoping to connect her and her methods with US timebankers and restorative justice practitioners.

IMG_20130615_143104_539Then we headed to Lewisham where Philippe Granger of Rushey Green Time Bank had organized a lovely lunch gathering. Here we had timebank brokers and coordinators, members, a GP (general practitioner – physician) who would like to start timebanking in his clinic, Lewisham Council members and other officials, staff from Spice and more. I talked a bit about the Dane County TimeBank, how we approach timebanking to accomplish our various goals – including, of course, our project focus. Then we discussed the various approaches people here are taking, pros and cons and how they might be combined or connected for greater effectiveness. One example: many timebankers and organizers mentioned a lack of and need for meeting space; Joan from Spice mentioned that meeting space is often an offer among their time credit (paper notes rewarding ‘volunteer’ activities) organizational partners. We brainstormed about how those resources could connect. Some good food for thought. Also some good food, the event was at a really good restaurant with a lovely buffet.IMG_20130615_143024_994I remembered to set up and turn on the video camera at this gathering (hasn’t happened that way every time I’m afraid) and will share more detail when I get a chance to watch and edit. Most likely after I’m home again.

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Sunday June 16 I played a show at the Boogaloo in north London. Great place, great time.

Early the next morning we got on a train to Amsterdam on the way to the conference in the Hague. Had 2 glorious days there, saw

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lots of beautiful scenery and enjoyed the company of Edgar Kampers of Qoin and his partner Jose. They graciously let IMG_20130617_221226_490us stay with them even as Edgar was swamped working toward the conference. That was great, not only because it was fun and in a lovely place but also because we could talk more with Edgar about how our work might intersect. They’re making some software tools that fit with a lot of what we’d like to do. Hopefully we’ll find ways to help each other work toward our goals.

the view from Edgar's place at sunrise

the view from Edgar’s place at sunrise

And we went to 301 Overtoom, a squat in a former film academy building that serves a delicious organic vegan meal a few times a week, hosts films, art, music, ping pong, body art, and all manner of creative and cooperative activities. Super cool place.

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301 Overtoom

301 Overtoom

Once again, a monstrously long post. Thanks for reading anyway!

Up next, reports from the Second International Conference on Complementary Currencies, where Marc and I will present our paper today.

Wish us luck!

–Stephanie

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