Gifts

Beads

Beads (Made in China, used in USA)
Documentary film (2005): in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, women who bear flesh get beads thrown at them. Filmmaker David Redmon meets the women who make those beads, gets to know them, and films them working at high speed for low wages. He shows drunken revellers in New Orleans footage from the factory, and shows factory workers footage of their beads at Mardi Gras. What are their responses? Click for more...

Mickey & Friends: Haunted Halloween' book

Chocolate (ingredients grown in Ivory Coast, consumed in Finland)
Corporate charity fundraising campaign (2012): Finland's favourite chocolate company Fazer takes out a full front page ad in a leading daily newspaper. They promise to give 5 cents from every bar of Fazer Blue to a school building project in the Ivory Coast. This is where the company's cocoa beans are grown by child slaves. Do these children need a school or something more from Fazer? Click for more... in English or in Finnish

Mickey & Friends: Haunted Halloween' book

Halloween decorations (Made in China, bought in the USA)
Letter from factory worker to consumer (2013): shopper Julie Keith is unpacking a box of Halloween decorations she bought from K-Mart. In between the ghoulish plastic gravestones, she finds a folded-up letter. It's by a Chinese prison factory worker, who says he works long hours and has been tortured, beaten and insulted. He asks it to be forwarded to the World Human Rights Orgnisation. She thinks it's genuine and posts it on her facebook page. Then... Click for more...

Jeans

Bracelet + (made in Denmark, worn in the UK)
Undergraduate coursework (2014): student Charlotte Brunton gets free lifestyle catalogues in the mail all the time. But the lifestyles they showcase are those of consumers, whose lifestyles are separated from those who have made the products on show: like the Georg Jensen bracelet that was a gift from her grandmother. She wonders what a catalogue would look like if their lifestyles were shown together. So she makes one, about her lifestyle, featuring her favourite things, and the people who may have made them. Click for more...

Mickey & Friends: Haunted Halloween' book

Mickey & Friends: Haunted Halloween' book (made in China, read in 'the West')
NGO Video (2006): Hong Kong based Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour release a film called Those with justice. It shows factory workers in China making Disney books – including this one – talking about the harsh conditions under which they work, their relationships with their children, and their responsibilities to the Western children who read the books they make. Click for more...

Mirror

Mirror (made in Bolivia, used in the UK)
Undergraduate coursework (2009): student Lucinda Lawrence buys a mirror on a volunteering trip to Peru. Back at home in the UK, she checks herself in it many times a day. But what and who is providing her with this reflection? It's tin, among other ingredients, and its miners, among other people. You'll need a mirror to read what she writes. Click for more...

Mirror

Nunzilla + (made in China, designed & consumed in Britain)
Radio doumentary (2010): comedian and writer Anna Chen loves kitsch, 'tat', and (to some) offensive 'stocking filler' gifts like the clockwork fire breathing nun 'Nunzilla' and 'Dashboard Jesus' (not to mention elastic band holder 'Mummy Mike' and singing fish 'Billy Bass'). Unsurprisingly, they're 'Made in China' but, she wants to find out, what do they tell us and the people who design and make them about Western culture, reigion and values? What gets lost and found in translation? Click for more...

Celebrity Perfumes

Perfume (bottled in India, worn in the UK)
Newspaper article (2010): journalist Gethin Chamberlain exposes the below-minimum-wage conditions under which celebrity endorsed 'Katie Price' perfumes 'Besotted' and 'Stunning' are bottled in Gujurat, India. The story 'forces' UK retailer Superdrug to stop selling Price's perfumes, and leads to their bottling outside India. But is this what these companies should have done? Click for more...

Simpson's merchandise

Simpson's merchandise (made in South Korea, consumed worldwide)
TV animation intro (2010): an episode of The Simpsons opens with a 'couch gag' directed by British graffiti artist Banksy. Viewers are taken to the unbelievably exploitative South Korean sweatshops where Simpsons animators work, and Simpsons merchandise is produced, before returning to the family sitting at home on their couch watching TV. It clearly doesn't show what's 'really' happening there, so what is Banksy trying to say? Click for more...

Tennis ball

Teddy bears + (made in China, sold in Sweden)
NGO documentary film (2004): Swedish toy companies and retailers seem sure that the things they have 'Made in China' are produced ethically. But what can they know about working conditions from audit reports and their own factory visits? NGO Swedwatch travels to China to find out, working with local labour activists to write a report and make a short film. What they find may temporarily ruin Christmas, but can it also change the ways consumers and companies source toys in the future? Click for more...