Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Give-and-Take's Kick-off Event

This past Sunday we kicked off Give-and-Take at the Polish Hill Arts Festival in Pittsburgh. The scene was made up of a small-scale clothing exchange from community donations; a hands-on upcycling demo; and some one-on-one storytelling inside the airstream. In total we had about 300 visitors; circulated several hundred pieces through our system; and gathered about 30 stories from festival-goers.

As we process the experience, questions are filtering through different perspectives. From a functional angle, can we sustain this amount of effort time and time again? Was the size right and manageable? Did most people find something they wanted or could use? Were we able to communicate quickly and clearly who we are and what we do? From a social perspective, did we stay true to our values of getting one-on-one time with everyone we transacted with? Did people have fun? Did people meet new people through the process of exchange? Did we encourage conversations? From a consumer perspective, did we plant any seeds about alternative modes of consumption and exchange? Did we open ourselves up to future collaborations? Did our service give clothing donators the sense that they're really making a contribution to the community or participating in something meaningful? As for the overall experience, was this a relaxed atmosphere? Was it casual, informal and approachable? Did we encourage people to play and share?

Give-and-Take is proving to have a number of audiences as well as functions. In the coming weeks and months, our challenge will be to continue refining and providing for each aspect listed above, so we can not only increase the circulation of everyday objects but expand the conversation about what it means to consume, exchange and keep our stuff alive.

R-L: A hand-out briefly explaining Give-and-Take; free item cards for those who donate or make a creative contribution; story-telling handouts; and ways to participate in the project

Monday, July 11, 2011