The Book of Debts Vol V, took up a one day residency at the Life Before Debt conference, at The School for Oriental and African Studies, invited and hosted by the Jubilee Debt Campaign on Saturday 29th March 2014.
I offered up a short provocation at the opening of the conference, containing an invitation to add to The Book of Debts throughout the day , which was due to be burnt in the grounds of SOAS at 1.40pm. However, permission to burn was refused by SOAS and so all debts were rolled over to the Brighton and Hove Volume of The Book, hosted by Fabrica Gallery and burning on May 22nd, the final week of the Brighton Festival .
Although there may well be a strong emphasis on unjust and unpayable debt of a financial nature, The Book accepts debts of all kinds, containing and contrasting the financial, the social, the emotional, the political, the ecological and the spiritual dimensions and narratives of this powerful human construct. It is a holistic project and no debt is too small – or too big – to be included.
This event will be an unusual one, as we are used to audiences who may not be used to thinking about debt – at least not beyond the financial – in any great depth!. Here we will be facing 400 delegates, may of whom are experts in their fields, have written or are talking on the subject in great depth and detail. It brings together those across disciplines – academics, activists, anthropologists, faith practitioners, economists – all in the same room. Check out the extraordinary range of speakers exploring the moral, social, economic and political issues involved in a series of sessions throughout the day.
This invitation came about through encountering John Nightingale, the Birmingham head of the JDC, as I sat with The Book of Debts at The Library of Birmingham in October – which then led to us being hosted by the Cathedral. To John I owe a debt of gratitude.
There will be a film about the conference and the full programme is here .
Here is the programme of what was a very enriching day.