Craftivist Project: The Minimum Wage

Craftivism offers an alternative way of contributing your voice to issues you care about. When you decide to take action, you increase your involvement in an issue with body and mind. The mere act of working on the project propels you into further thought on the issue. For a definition of craftivism, check out craftivism.com.

Tentative Title: The Minimum Wage

The Issue: The ethics of minimum wage

This project started with one piece “The Wages of Minimum Sin”, and is now evolving into a series with new additions coming monthly.

Installation Site: North Grandview Highway at Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC, Canada (near a skytrain station with lots of walk-by traffic)

Installation Dates
March 31 2013 – Wages of Minimum Sin
June 29 2013 – Employed but poor
Not installed – a living wage = choices (completed January 2014)

Background: I struggled personally with this issue while looking for work recently. I also had many conversations with a friend who was in the same situation. We are both educated, smart, and responsible, yet we are expected to use our qualifications and take on great responsibilities at $10.25 an hour—the current minimum wage in B.C. And while we do not have any kids, I have to ask myself how does the minimum wage effect a family with one child or more? How does it effect migrant workers? How does it effect women? Single parents? Seniors? People with disabilities?

This project evolved into a series after realizing that the first piece wasn’t adequate on it’s own. There are so many collateral effects to minimum wage that touch both the employee and the employer. With research and discussion with friends I started thinking about how to frame the discussion–by talking about minimum wage, the living wage or both? This inquiry sent me doing more research than I anticipated and led to reading articles by The Canadian Centre for Alternative Policy (CCPA—The CCPA is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice). Consequently my knowledge of the issue is evolving  significantly while working on this project and I started asking myself new questions.

My intention with this work is to get people to think about the minimum wage and how it effects them or people they come into contact with throughout the day.

Pedagogical Considerations

Craftivism has great pedagogical possibilities at the elementary and secondary level. It creates invitation to work collaboratively and to craft together and discuss issues much like in quilting bees or knitting circles. The issues for projects can come right from the students creating a student-centered approach.