We want our workshops to help improve everyone’s understanding around economics, empowering every citizen to engage in decisions that affect their lives.
Since we started our workshops in spring 2018, we've reached citizens across London, Greater Manchester and Scotland. We're doing most of our work in the West Midlands at the moment. If you're based there, or if a community you work with is interested in partnering with us, either for a full six session course or a one off workshop, get in touch at workshops[at]ecnmy[dot]org.
The story so far
"I am filled with hope about this opportunity to discuss the economy in ordinary terms. If this type of discussion group could happen in other places and situations, it would be amazing." Victoria Park Crash Course participant
We ran four pilot courses in summer 2018. Thirty-two people completed the courses, which took place at Shoreditch Trust, Manor House Development Trust, and Victoria Park Community Centre in London, and at Levenshulme Inspire in Manchester. We’ve had great feedback from partner organisations and participants. Check out our blog post about how the pilots went, and this video made by the Guardian:
Who are our workshops for?
Our sessions are aimed at people who'd say they have little to no knowledge of economics, and who'd like to:
- Understand what economics is and how it affects their lives and their communities
- Understand how different economists explain the building blocks of economics: What exactly do we mean by economic growth and is it a good thing? Why are houses so expensive? Are public funding cuts necessary in tough times?
- Explore solutions to problems in our economies: How do we prevent unemployment? How do we make housing more affordable?
- Get more involved in helping to shape the world around them
“I know today’s the last lesson, and I thought “Oh what a shame! Before this I probably wasn’t tapping into this type of topic- I’ve gained a lot of awareness.” Karen, Manor House Crash Course participant
Our sessions enable participants to:
- Go from feeling like economics is just for experts, to feeling more confident with the economics that's part of all our lives
- Understand the most important problems and debates in economics, and the different ways of thinking about them
- Develop their communication and critical skills, through the ideas discussed in the workshops
- Feel empowered to get involved in improving their communities
Why are we doing this?
Research by Economy has found that only 12 percent of the British public feel that ‘politicians and the media tend to talk about economics in an accessible way that makes it easy to understand’.
Since we began our work in 2016, Economy has tried to address this problem by providing down-to-earth content on economics via our website and newsletter. We’ve produced an economics toolkit with the RSA which includes activities to get people started talking about economics. We’ve gone into schools, communities, and economic institutions to get people talking about the subject in fun and engaging new ways.
Our workshops for adults are Economy’s next step in improving economic literacy at the heart of communities. Participants come away with knowledge of economics and ideas on how to apply that knowledge to their daily lives. By creating a generation of “citizen economists”, our sessions give individuals and communities a voice to take ownership over the economic decisions that affect them.
How are our sessions taught?
We run one-off workshops, or courses of between six and ten sessions, each two hours long (including a break). Sessions are a mix of individual and group activities, discussion topics and visual materials. Participants are encouraged to think about how their life experiences relate to the wider economy. Our sessions aim to make participants aware of a balanced and diverse range of economic problems and solutions, in a way that is fun, relevant, clear, and jargon-free.
“It’s a good balance between absorbing stuff and chatting. Days have flown by, and the course is very accessible.” Janette, Shoreditch Trust Crash Course participant
Who teaches the course?
We run some of our workshops ourselves, and sometimes Economy recruits and trains volunteers to run the Crash Courses. Some have an economics background, some don't – what ties them together is strong facilitation skills, a passion for community building and a shared conviction that economics should be for everyone. Read more about volunteering to facilitate a Crash Course.
‘I’m absolutely loving it. I’d do this again in a heartbeat- I’m enjoying it more than I ever thought!’ Anne, Levenshulme Inspire Crash Course facilitator
Which topics do we cover?
We explore everything from money, housing, government policies, and the job market, to how economies across the world are linked through the environment they share. our workshops are designed to get you thinking about how your day to day life is affected and affects the economy; together we explores how we measure 'success' in economics, and whether that makes sense; and what we can do as individuals and communities to change the economy for the better.
"What has particularly interested me? Everything I’ve learned, from the first session to this last session."- Julia, Manor House Economics Crash Course participant
Who does Economy partner with to run our sessions?
We're so excited to have run our pilot courses with Shoreditch Trust, Manor House Development Trust, and Victoria Park Community Centre in London, and a Levenshulme Inspire in Manchester. We're always looking for new partners, and are particularly keen on working with organisations that work with people and communities whose voices are less often heard in discussions about the economy. If your organisation is interested in partnering with us, get in touch at workshops[at]ecnmy[dot]org.
How do we fund our workshops?
Economy is extremely grateful to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for supporting our workshops.