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Stewart Wall

Master's in Photography
IDI Featured: Social Awareness

Inspired by Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson’s 1942 photographic analysis of the Balinese Character, I considered the residents of the town I live as a response to the forecasts that life will potentially change for many of us as artificial intelligence and robotics replace almost 50% of manual labour, and for the first time we are seeing a population educated to a higher level than the work they can expect to gain, a new world class in the making that author Guy Standing calls the Precariat.

The project involves traders, long-standing residents and volunteers and the output. The photo book is entitled 21st Century Living: The Communitarianism of Caistor, a sociological record of my neighbours as they engage in activities that, I observed, create what the sociologist Amitai Etzioni referred to in his book, The Spirit of Community, which describes a group of people of shared values determined to control disorder.

In Caistor, which is a town where there are very few traders left and council services are extremely limited I documented the residents as they volunteered to help install public benches and tidy up OAP gardens, and attempt to keep all entertained by a diary of events. It would appear they take this approach to enhance life for all, without a request for financial reward and I argue that this approach could form a blueprint for future living in a world that the author Paul Mason calls Post-Capitalism.

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