About Redrawing the Economy

Redrawing the Economy is an ongoing (global) action-research programme which maps and enacts the diverse economies of particular communities in order to grow an already existing pool of ideas and images for how to take back the economy as we know it. The first phase of this programme was funded by a Scholar-Activist Grant from the Antipode Foundation, the second phase by the Julie Graham Community Economies Research Fund.

This website documents the outcomes of the Community Economies Research Network (CERN) initiated Redrawing the Economy workshops to date, archives their outcomes and new Economy as Iceberg images, and offers recipes and tools to map and visualise local economies elsewhere.

Over the last 20 years CERN members have used visualisations of a diverse economy to expand the scope for economic action and legitimate economic politics across a broad front. The image of the diverse economy, originally represented as an iceberg, has travelled far and wide helping people and organizations to represent and transform economic relationships in a variety of settings.

The aim of Redrawing the Economy programme is to work with communities to develop their own narratives, measurements and representations of community economy practice. In the first phase of this programme CERN activist artists from three locations joined with the three authors of Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities (TBTE), translators of TBTE and the activist communities they work with to redraw the tools of TBTE so they are appropriate for different communities. Key provocations that the programme poses are:

– how can we identify the shared challenges and different answers to the question of how to live in common?

– how might ethical economic concerns be visually represented in culturally relevant ways?

– what enables visual representations to travel across place, culture and language?

This project contributes to the anarchist current of radical geographic scholarship and practice that seeks to identify those elsewhere places where a different logic of economy prevails, where mutual aid, care, cooperation and common concern are practiced. There are thousands of such efforts across the planet but the prospects for their growth and durability rests on our capacity to recognise, measure, understand and represent them.


About CERN

The Community Economies Research Network (CERN) is comprised of 180 scholars and activists working in communities all over the world to imagine and enact non-capitalist economies. The network is inspired by the work of economic geographers J.K. Gibson-Graham who developed a language of ‘diverse economies’ to name the variety of ways that people have of working, doing business, transacting, accessing or owning property, and financing present and future lives.

A crucial task for radical geography is to allow communities to take measure of their own economic lives and to make common cause with others by sharing what they’ve learned. Building on diverse economy inventories, in Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities (TBTE) J.K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy identify the ethical negotiations people are conducting in place-based experiments that are making other economies possible. The book uses illustrations, diagrams, yard sticks and other metrics to capture and communicate in an accessible way the decisions entangled in ethically organizing work and rest, distributing wealth, managing commons, exchanging equitably and investing in a common future, or what we call the concerns of a community (as opposed to capitalist) economy.

Since the publication of TBTE an increasing number of artist activists have joined the CERN and, inspired by the book’s illustrations, have begun adopting and adapting TBTE illustrations and metrics in their art practice and in the context of managing their own livelihoods (as in Figure 1). Their ability to translate the ethical concerns of community economies into visually appealing images that can travel, communicate across languages and increase user experience is at the centre of this project.

TBTE has been translated into Korean, Spanish and Finnish, and is currently being translated into Greek and French. In each context the translators are connected with activist communities (in urban Seoul; the agricultural hinterland of Bogotá, Colombia; the rural communities of Tampere and Oulu in Finland).


Partners & Links

Katherine Gibson
Professorial Fellow
Institute for Culture and Society
Western Sydney University

Stephen Healy
Senior Research Fellow
Institute for Culture and Society
Western Sydney University

Jenny Cameron
Associate Professor
Geography and Environmental Studies
University of Newcastle

Wendy Harcourt
International Institute of Social Studies
Erasmus University
The Hague
The Netherlands

Kathrin Böhm
The Centre for Plausible Economies
c/o Company Drinks
Barking, Greater London

Binna Choi
Casco Art Institute:
Working for the Commons

The Netherlands

Aviv Kruglanski
Anna Coromina
3 Stages of Succession