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All it needs is a pencil: (Re-)drawing the Economy

Forschungsprojekt von Prof. Kathrin Böhm, Fachbereich Wirtschaft

All it needs is a pencil: (Re-)drawing the Economy

(Re-) drawing the Economy is an ongoing global action-research program (since 2016) to map and enact the diverse economies of specific communities in order to grow an already existing pool of ideas and images about how to take back the economy as we know it.

What images do we have in our head when we think of economy? A machine operated by specialists? An iceberg with the 1% wealthiest on top? The growth curve? The recycle circle? A doughnut as an economic sphere?

The economic models we currently live with are human made, and follow imagined systems which we are meant to understand and follow. The production of images is crucial in proposing and establishing new economic systems, and Kate Raworth famously said: To change the economy we need very little. We need a pencil and start to redraw it.

(Re-)drawing the Economy uses drawing methods to explore and visualise economic systems we are currently part of, and those which we desire. Drawing can be used to illustrate economic realities, be it the dominant capitalocentric model, or to map out the diverse functioning economies of various communities. Drawing is used to clarify the complex economic underpinnings of organisations and situations, acknowledging monetary and non-monetary contributions, the human and other-than-human. Drawing is also used as a planning and strategizing tool, to imagine and describe economic systems and the transformation of current ones, for the now and the future.

(Re-) Drawing the Economy promotes and addresses the “Community Economies” concept. It understands itself as action research, and involves working with communities, be it communities of interest, bound by geography or occupation, be it civic, academic, informal etc. – to draw their own narratives, measurements and representations of their community economy practice. This takes place during participatory workshops, site visits and peer to peer seminars.

This project contributes to the community economy research and practice that seeks to make more visible those places where a different logic of economy prevails, and where mutual aid, care, cooperation and common concern are practiced. There are thousands of such efforts across the planet but the prospects for their growth and durability rests on our capacity to recognise, measure, understand and represent them. The academic research includes conceptualising the framework for redrawing, by rooting it within the historic work by J.K. Gibson Graham on feminist and emancipatory economies, and the wider research by members of the Community Economies Institute (CEI) and Community Economy Research Network (CERN).

(Re-) drawing the Economy has been initiated by the Community Economies Research Network (CERN), with Prof. Kathrin Böhm as a member and co-organiser, who integrates and uses (Re-) drawing the Economy across various modules in her BA and MA teaching at Alanus University. Prof. Kathrin Böhm is an active member and advocate of (Re-) drawing the Economy, she has initiated and organised a series of research outcomes and activities, and is regularly publishing and presenting the key ideas of this programme.


01 Websites:



02 Publications

Icebergian Economies of Contemporary Art, together with Kuba Szreder, published by PiraMMMida, 2019


03 Exhibitions

Tip of the Iceberg, Focal Point Gallery, Southend, UK, 2021

Economics the Blockbuster, The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, UK, 2023


04 Workshops and Presentations

Casco Art Institute: Working Towards the Commons, Annual Assembly, 2018

The Art of Co-operatism, Warsaw Biennale, 2019

The Independent, MAXXI, Rome, part of Interdependent Transformation dialogues curated by Aria Spinelli, 2020

Reclaiming Economy in the Arts, Drawing Workshop and Seminar, Zeppelin University, 2022

How to Iceberg, Rural School of Economics, Lumbung documenta fifteen, Kassel, 2022


Research Partners:

Community Economies Institute

Centre for Plausible Economies

Rural School of Economics