Media contact

Clare Morgan
UNSW Media & Content
(02) 9385 8920

The modern economy is built on the foundations of a global industrial and financial system with immense productive capacity. But that system has also created extreme income disparity and social injustice and wrought devastation on the natural world.

Against this backdrop, a conference to be held at Glebe Town Hall on 16 and 17 August will bring together community activists, social entrepreneurs, economists, Indigenous leaders, academics, lawyers and regulators to discuss and showcase the experiments that are underway around peer-to-peer initiatives, commoning, maker movements, sharing, collaborative economies, community housing, localisation and cooperative movements.

Building the new economy: activism, enterprise and social change, organised by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Australian Earth Laws Alliance, will explore six core themes: work, exchange, money, care, law and our relationship with the natural world. Keynote speakers will be Richard Dennis, of The Australia Institute, and economist and writer Jane Gleeson-White, author of Six Capitals: The revolution capitalism has to have – or can accountants save the planet?  There will be plenary sessions and presentations on community projects, systemic change, consumption, money and employment, community currency and Indigenous economics.

These presentations include:

  • “Confronting advertising: the elephant in the bus shelter” – Tim Hollo, of The Green Institute, argues for a limit on advertising in public spaces to build a more equal and ecologically sustainable economy.
  • “Building inner-city communities through co-operative housing” – Hanna Ebeling, from Social Enterprise Finance Australia, discusses the Nightingale initiative in Melbourne, which delivers inner-city homes that are environmentally, socially and financially sustainable.
  • “Community currency” – Annette Loudon, of Community Exchange System Australia, explains how modern community exchange systems work, with members buying and selling goods and services without money.
  • “Outgrowing the status quo: bringing the new economy to the suburbs” – Jacquie Dredge and Anna Schlunke, from the Panania Free Rangers, outline the ups and downs of planting vegetables in grass verges, neglected parks and public areas.

Conference organiser Professor Bronwen Morgan, from UNSW Law, said: “We’re very excited about the incredible range of energy and imagination generated by our call for participation. Talk about a ‘new economy’ is all too often full of enthusiasm for innovation, creativity and technology but without a sense of the values that underpin those things. At the heart of our conference is a powerful commitment to grounding new economies in social and ecological justice.”

What: Building the new economy: activism, enterprise and social change

When: 16-17 August 2016

Where: Glebe Town Hall, 160 St Johns Road, Glebe

Details: Full conference program and registrations here