July saw our first board games night and some inspiring presentations on how we can build a better economic system.

Matteo Menapace is a coop board game designer and playful workshop facilitator. He’s also a long time friend of SPACE4. When he came to our event on Carbon Calculators earlier in the year carrying his new cooperative board game, Daybreak, I knew immediately that we had to include him in our events programme. I went to trial Daybreak in Winchester in Spring and loved it. We decided to have a SPACE4 event dedicated to learning and playing the game in July.

Daybreak was co-designed by Matteo and Matt Leacock, the designer of Pandemic. It’s a cooperative game about stopping the climate crisis. My review is: “It’s the perfect balance of educational and entertaining. The realism of the gameplay and the attention to detail is really impressive. Daybreak helped me understand the connection between the political, social, and scientific elements of the climate crisis without being boring or didactic. I feel like everyone should play it at least once.”

Two people helping each other play Daybreak
Two people helping each other play Daybreak
A group of six people sitting around a table playing daybreak
A zoomed out image of SPACE4 with two tables of people playing daybreak. A presentation in the back of the room reads "How does Daybreak make you feel about the climate crisis"

Although the rules are a steep learning curve at the beginning, we had a brilliant time playing at SPACE4. Matteo did an introduction to cooperative games and took us through some of the decision they made while designing Daybreak. He also explained the rules to everyone. Then we had two tables of 8-9 players playing the game in teams. We didn’t manage to finish the game, but we knew that when we designed the event. Still, everyone played three (out of six) rounds and got a feel for the gamplay. We even managed to fit in a great discussion at the end. The game hasn’t officially been released yet but when it does, I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy!

Our second event was an exploration of alternative economics and how we can feel empowered to change the capitalist economy. We had three brilliant presentations from:

  1. Fatima Iftikhar, Programme Director at People’s Economy. They work with communities in the UK experiencing economic injustice to reimagine, rebalance, and transform the economy.
  2. Sheridan Kates, Degrowth and Modern Monetary Theory student and activist.
  3. Florrie Cole and Yasmin Mahmoudi, who work within the Inclusive Economy and Jobs team at Islington Council. They focus on a people-centred approach to economic strategy called Community Wealth Building.
Extract from People's Economy presentation: 18% of adults feel they are able to influence decisions about the economy that affect their lives.
Extract from People’s Economy Presentation
Extract from People's Economy presentation: 'The economy' is the term we use to describe the systems humans create to facilitate the production, distributiona nd consumption of the resources we need to live our lives. Housing, food, healthcare, money, jobs, education, art, culture, sports, entertainment and the environment are all connected to the economy.
Extract from People’s Economy Presentation

Fatima spoke about the need for us to reframe what we mean by ‘the economy’ so its not an abstract concept that happens in Westminster, but something we recognise we are engaged with and empowered to shape. You can find Fatima’s slides here.

Extract from Sheridan's presentation: Diagram of 'Mainstream idea of how governments spend'
Extract from Sheridan’s presentation
Extract from Sheridan's presentation: Diagram of 'Modern Monetary Theory lens on how governments spend'
Extract from Sheridan’s presentation
Extract from Sheridan's presentation: A government that issues its own currency can never run out of money
Extract from Sheridan’s presentation
Extract from Sheridan's presentation: David Graeber quote - 'the ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something we make, and could just as easily make differently'
Extract from Sheridan’s presentation

Sheridan gave us an impressive whistlestop overview of Modern Monetary Theory, a radical way of looking at the British economy which could enable us to fund a whole lot of social care systems if we let it. You can have a look at Sheridan’s slides here. She highly recommends The Deficit Myth for those of you interested in this type of economics.

Extract from Islington Council's presentation: How can ordinary people build a better economic system in Islington
Extract from Islington Council’s presentation
Extract from Islington Council's presentation: Pillars of Community Wealth Building - Plural ownership of the economy, Making financial power work for local places, Fair employment and just labour markets, Progressive procurement of goods and services, Socially productive use of land and preoprty
Extract from Islington Council’s presentation

Finally, Florrie and Yasmin talked us through how Islington has been using the Community Wealth Building strategy (CWB) to alleviate poverty and redistribute wealth in Islington. SPACE4 and Outlandish are a big part of Islington’s CWB strategy and were proud to be mentioned multiple times in their presentation. SPACE4 is one of their Affordable Workspace providers. We also supported them to grow the cooperative movement in Islington through our Cooperate Islington programme.

Image of Fatima from People's Economy presenting to a room of people. Her slide reads "How can communities acorss the UK work to build collective power to transform the economy?"

All in all the presentations were varied and really got our mental juices flowing. I could feel everyone excited and inspired by these different approaches to a new economy. We had a good turn out lots of connections were made. I’m particularly excited about progressive economics so I’m sure you’ll see another related event soon.

Keep up-to-date with our events programme on socials. We’re taking a break in August but we’ll be back in September with masterclasses and more evening events!