This podcast is an interview with Branson Skinner and Liz Ricketts, founders of and a global exchange framework which helps students learn about the textile industry, sustainable textile production, and a host of global literacy issues through the object-based curriculum TheseThingsTakeTime. This interview was recorded in Washington D.C. on June 15, 2013, at the Connections Conference hosted by the Sidwell Friends School. At Sidwell Friends, this initiative has been the focus of 6th grade “service learning” projects the past two years. According to Branson and Liz’ website, “Our object exchange project creates a microcosm of global trade for education. Participants begin by designing and creating an item for someone else, somewhere else. Each person is partnered with a peer across borders through the exchange of their items. Not only does the exchange serve as a creative outlet to foster empathy, but it also represents a gateway to building relationships. ‘Those people’ found in textbooks and news reports become ‘the person I know.’ This shows the incomplete nature of stereotypes and encourages participants to consider global perspectives. In addition to fostering relationships, participants examine the resources they use in creating the objects they exchange. Working with natural dyes made from school lunches, organic cotton and fabric scraps from local designers, participants can examine the full lifecycle of the things they use everyday. Different ways that resources are used in each location add to what participants can learn from one another.” This project presents wonderful opportunities for students and teachers to engage in interdisciplinary studies. It also provides concrete ways to learn about the complexities involved in the textile industry as well as our globalized economic supply chains. By connecting students in the United States to students in Ghana, and exchanging textile products the students have created for each other (scarves) the project provides powerful opportunities for students to learn about global issues in individual, personal ways which impacts the perceptions and pre-existing stereotypes which students from different cultures have of each other. Visit for more information and ideas about getting your own students involved in this object-based global exchange project.

Show Notes:

  2. Object Exchange Program by
  3. TheseThingsTakeTime Curriculum by
  4. You Never Know Who Will You Be Faced With Meeting (Jan 2012 Huffington Post article about connecting with Bono in Ghana)
  5. Blog of
  6. Minimakers Project by
  7. People to People International Exchange Program
  8. 2013 Connections Conference
  9. Sidwell Friends School
  10. Fuel for Educational Change Agents Podcast channel
  11. Follow Wesley on Twitter: @wfryer

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