Tag Archives: future

As an Elf, I’m disgusted my greedy colleagues are threatening to strike

Hello, I am an elf. I am writing to complain about the Elf Protest workshop, which is helping some elves to protest for changes to their working conditions. I will not be joining the elf protest on Saturday (14th December 2013) because I don’t think elves should be taking industrial action at this important elf time of year. Myself, I work as a Kertasníkir (Candle-Stealer) Yule Elf. My work is very traditional and well respected. I follow children in order to steal their candles so I can eat them.

A new mood of militancy is sweeping through the elf communities —  an unjustified aggression that threatens to result in the first international strike by elves since 1451. The trigger is that the contagion of casual worker discontent has now spread to elves. If elves were to strike it would be for purely self serving reasons, betraying those who trust and rely on them.

Over recent months, some elves have remorselessly cranked up the pressure on the issue of working hours, indulging in increasingly hysterical propaganda and whipping up a sense of resentment against Christmas. Indeed, in recent days, I have received up to four emails a day, urging me to reply to an elf worker survey. But I have refused to participate, because I think the indignation over working conditions, so eagerly fomented by some elves, is grossly misplaced. If elves do take industrial action on this issue, it will be one of the most disgraceful and self-serving disputes in elf history.

Even the very threat of a elf strike is a grotesque act of irresponsibility, where crude blackmail masquerades as concern for elf welfare. And this attempt to protect some elve’s narrow vested interests will do nothing to improve elf standing with the British public.

Indeed, the traditional spirit of goodwill has already been badly dented in recent years by increasing avarice in parts of the profession, such as the outrageous Heinzelmännchen (Kitchen Elf) walkout in 2004 by which family kitchen elves have negotiated substantially more for doing significantly less. Given how well-rewarded most elves are, particularly those in Christmas workshops, a dispute over working conditions would sound the death knell for the profession’s reputation.

The elf world is not meant to be like this. Working as an elf is not a mere occupation. It is a vocation —  one built on compassion for the most vulnerable in society. That is certainly the way elves used to be viewed in this country. The elf was seen as reliable, selfless, trustworthy — a pillar of the local community.

elf protesting
Tragic: There is precious little sign of responsibility from the elves now. They have become reckless, bent on self-service rather than self-sacrifice.

There has been no dramatic increase in productivity or flexibility that might justify this colossal increase in worker demands. The opposite is true. Where elves once had to provide 24-hour work and conduct regular home visits, now they essentially work office hours. Out-of-hours and weekend work is largely conducted with overtime only. For all the incessant bleating about elf conditions, too many elves do not have a clue about the real world. Unlike those who have to earn their living in the competitive marketplace, elves enjoy an effective monopoly, where their work is guaranteed.

I would like to warn parents and children against this weekend’s ‘family fun day’ workshop about helping elves think about what the future of work should be like. Designing posters for elves is making light of a serious issue.

“There is nothing child-friendly about industrial action.” – Michael Gove

notes:

everything but the first and last paragraph is taken directly from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2089135/Doctors-strike-As-GP-Im-disgusted-greedy-strike-threat-pensions.html  with the context changed for elves rather than doctors.

14 December / 12-4pm / FACT Connects Space / FREE just drop in!

Pop into our temporary Co-working Space and help the festive elves protest.

We all know elves help make toys, but do you know what working as an elf is like? There are many different types of elf, who do different hidden jobs. Some of the holiday elves want to change the work they have to do every year, and they need your help to make banners and protest signs.

Stop by and help the elves decide what their work should be like, and help them make elf-sized banners and signs to let everyone else know.

This workshop offers a chance to:

  •     Talk about what sort of work festive elves do
  •     Help the elves to imagine what their future work should be like
  •     Plan and decorate an elf-sized banner or sign
  •     Take away a cardboard elf to show off your elf protest sign, or leave it in the workshop with the other protesting elves

Ben Dalton is a researcher and artist from the RCA helping to run the Co-working space at FACT. He’s interested in the future of work, micro-unions, and how to create voices for hidden work and connections between workers who are far away.

Digital Artisans – some notes

Some quotes and context around technology and art teaching, and the history in Leeds.

An understanding of contemporary media and the means of production, informed by a sense of digital technology, aesthetics and ethics.

Process & materials. Mechanisms of communication.

“In a field that moves so quickly – where today’s innovations may be obsolete tomorrow – students need more than just technical skills. They need an understanding of the underlying structures that fuel the dynamism between technology and creativity.”

Sara Diamond, Artistic Director Media and Visual Arts, Director of Research, The Banff New Media Institute

“… if technology and the ability to be connected disappear further into the background, what will occupy our foreground? A bit of the humanity we’ve always valued in the “real world.” Legislators who are currently fixated on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education as the key to innovation will realize that STEM needs some STEAM–some art in the equation. We’ll witness a return to the integrity of craft, the humanity of authorship, and the rebalancing of our virtual and physical spaces. We’ll see a 21st-century renaissance in arts- and design-centered approaches to making things, where you–the individual–will take center stage in culture and commerce.”

Your Life in 2020, John Maeda (2010)

STEM + ART = STEAM

“Innovation is born when art meets science.”

John Maeda, President, RISD

Leeds Mechanics' Institute
Leeds City Mechanics’ Institute

  • 1824 – Leeds Mechanics Institute founded.
  • 1845 – Leeds College of Commerce founded.
  • 1846 – Leeds College of Art founded.
  • 1868 – Leeds Mechanics Institute became the Leeds Institute of Science, Art and Literature, later renamed Leeds College of Technology
  • 1874 – Yorkshire College of Education and Home Economics founded.
  • 1907 – City of Leeds College of Education founded (part of City of Leeds Training College)
  • 1933 – Carnegie Physical Training College founded
  • 1970 – Leeds Polytechnic was formed from the amalgamation of Leeds College of Technology, Leeds College of Commerce, part of Leeds College of Art and Yorkshire College of Education and Home Economics

George Birkbeck (1776-1841), held a degree in medicine. When he started his lectures in 1799 he found it necessary to have a good deal of apparatus, and while this was being made under his instructions he became acquainted with a number of Glasgow artisans. He found them so intelligent and so eager to learn that he resolved to start a course of lectures and experiments in mechanics ‘solely for persons engaged in the practical exercise of the mechanical arts, men whose situation in early life has precluded the possibility of acquiring even the smallest portion of scientific knowledge.’ The lectures proved a great success. After Birkbeck removed to London in 1804, the lectures were continued by the next occupant of the chair; and finally, in 1823, the members of the class organised it into a ‘Mechanics’ Institute’. Its purpose was defined as ‘instructing artisans in the scientific principles of arts and manufactures’.

http://www.uefap.com/reading/exercise/ess2/barnard.htm

Artisan: “A skilled manual worker who uses tools and machinery in a particular craft. A person who displays great dexterity.”

  • open, free, course of lectures on the ‘mechanical arts’
  • mix of classes, library, reading-room, and apparatus for experiments
  • lectures on mathematics and its applications, and on natural and experimental science and drawing
  • “threw into relief the connection between material advancement and the necessity of education to take part in its advantages”
  • funded by benevolent groups and individuals, businesses and small rental fee
  • provided free light on two evenings a week from the local Gas Light Company

http://www.infed.org/walking/wa-birb.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanics_institute

[in] 1955 [Harry Thubron] became Head of Fine Art at Leeds College of Art. During his ten year tenure in Leeds he helped to revolutionise art education in England by establishing the Basic Design Course, a programme inspired by the German Bauhaus college and the theoretical writings of Herbert Read. In this programme, art and design students were not taught specific skills for any of the disciplines of art and design, but visual literacy in the use of colour, establishment of form and construction of space. Out of this, and similar experiments undertaken by Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton at Kings College Newcastle, a new introductory course for art, design and architecture students emerged, called the Foundation Course, which went on to became the standard degree course-entry qualification for art, design and architecture students … He also helped to create a prototype for Britain’s Polytechnics by sending his students to work on collaborative projects with engineering students from Leeds College of Technology, out of which Leeds Polytechnic was formed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Thubron

Students recreated the Locked Room
Out-take from Christopher Burstall’s BBC documentary A Question of Feeling 1970. Day one with students on the reconstructed The Locked Room project. © Garth Evans