Currency Pioneers

The People’s Bank of Govanhill featured in the Financial Times

Scottish Currency Pioneers Consider Life After The Pound

December 31st 2016 by Mure Dickie

Full article at

Others take a more playful approach. Since returning to Scotland for a residency that started at the climax of the 2014 independence campaign, artist Ailie Rutherford has run a series of experiments exploring alternative forms of currency in the economically deprived Glasgow area of Govanhill.

The first scheme involved the issue of People’s Bank of Govanhill banknotes, which could be spent at local stalls. The notes sold not according to a fixed exchange rate with the pound, but at price depending on the income of the buyer.

Rutherford printed more Govanhill banknotes as a medium for pledges by local people that ended up ranging from offers of a lesson in Arabic to a chance to play football in a local park.

She hopes to encourage greater engagement in thinking about the economy, particularly in mapping social activity that does not involve financial exchanges.

For many the independence referendum was an opportunity to think about how things might be done differently, particularly on issues such as money where the 2008 global crisis had shaken confidence in the status quo, Ms Rutherford says.

“It has become increasingly evident to all of us that the money system is not a given,” she says. “Why shouldn’t we play around with the idea of money? That’s all that anyone else is doing anyway.”


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