Innovations in Giving

For today’s lecture we were discussing the innovations in giving, exploring the different ways that we give now and other ways of giving that there are. It was really interesting because it made me open my mind to all of the ways that we can give, not just in the monetary sense or by donating to charities, but by offering experience and skills.

What can we give as a gift?

  • Possessions – through donation/collection
  • Time – volunteering
  • Skill (textiles specifically)
  • Awareness – if unable to give a large amount of time

What is a gift? What makes a gift exchange different from any other exchange?

  • Emotional investment – thoughtfulness of the gift
  • Not necessarily monetary
  • Personal/emotional investment – sentimentality

The difference between a gift and a commodity is that the price of a commodity is determined by the market and a products relationship to other things, i.e. products in a similar market place. the main difference is that a gift has a connection with a person, whereas a commodity does not.

Reciprocity has a massive part to play in the act of giving because it is good for both of the participants. This is because the giver feels the warmth of the appreciation of the gift and the thankfulness of it, and the receiver appreciates the time consideration of the gift and the thoughts behind it.

How do I give and receive?  This was really interesting because it made me think about the ways that I ‘give’ that are not necessarily what you would consider as a well known act of ‘Giving’.

  • Advice
  • Conversation
  • Presents – Gift obligation (part of our tradition and culture)
  • Experience – generations
  • Creative giving

One of the main factors that need to be addressed when you are organising and event where people have to give up their time or experience, is ‘Why would people want to give up their time to help the case?’. Usually, the reasons why people give are because they have empathy for the cause due to a personal experience that the organisation is addressing. It is important to know who you are targeting so that you can secure volunteers who will help you do what you want to do. This can be helped with having an online presence in order to get it out there for everyone to see, so you can get the attention of a wider market, rather than just appealing to local people. This does not denote the value of the local community, but it means that you can maybe have a much bigger impact and really make a difference.

3 methods I may use to explore my research topic in more detail. How might I use them?

  • Prototyping – Experiment with ideas through making.
  • Lateral thinking – Letting other people play around with ideas and see how they respond.
  • Scenario – How would the work be interpreted?

References for where I have researched into these methods.    – 12/11/2014

The Great Silence Carthusian Order (FILM) (2005) – Dir. Philip Gröning

We watched the trailer for this film in our lecture and I have gone on to actually watch the film. We have been asked to write about it with relation to themes of the gift of touch.

As the title would dictate, the film is silent apart from the noises that are made through the daily chores that are being carried out, and the hymns and chants that are being carried out by the monks. It is unclear as to what is actually being shown, (it doesn’t help that the subtitles are also in Spanish) but I quite like this because it emphasises the importance of silence because when they do speak, I have no idea what they are saying, leaving me on the outside of their world.

With regards to the idea of gift giving and the gift of touch, everything that is being carried out by the monks is being done selflessly and they are only doing what they need to do to get by and no more. They show clips from in some of their bedrooms which is where they also pray, and they are so basic. Just a bed, a desk, a wood burner in the centre of the room and an area where they complete their morning prayers.

It appears that they have very little contact with each other on a personal level (they only seem to see each other when praying or completing other religious duties) which must make them feel quite isolated, especially when in such a cold isolated place. Additionally to this, one of the monks went into a room where there were a lot of cats that I presume were strays as they did not seem to keen on him, but he brought them food and water; attempted to stroke them, but this was the only time when he became a bit more animated. This showed that the interaction was a pleasurable experience for him and this gift of touch that he got from the cats seemed to give him a sense of joy as he was less isolated.


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