Creative Enterprise in a New Economy: 34th Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures

Judy Wicks was advised by friends to franchise her popular White Dog Café but she rejected the suggestion. The White Dog was shaped by its Philadelphia neighborhood, by Judy's hosting style and tastes, by the regional farmers who supplied the restaurant, by the staff drawn to work there, and by the culture of its customers. It was a business deeply embedded in place. She could not replicate the White Dog, but she could encourage other entrepreneurs to look to the people, streets, and shops of their own community to shape the business of their passion.

Judy understood that it is not just recycled packaging, open hiring practices, fair benefits and wages, or green sourcing that makes a socially responsible business. All of these are important, but something else is needed to define a business that truly builds community, and that missing element is "local." It takes a strong commitment to a particular place and substantial effort to weave together all the threads of that place – people, land, and community – to create new economies that can counteract the devastating effects of the global economy.

The theme of the 34th Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures, "This Must Be the Place: Creative Enterprise in a New Economy," reflects this understanding. Our speakers are Matt Stinchcomb and Caroline Woolard.

Matt Stinchcomb is Vice President of Values and Impact at Etsy, a marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. The Company's mission, inspired by the work of E. F. Schumacher, is to re-imagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world. Matt has worked at Etsy since its earliest days with a focus on giving people the means and desire to minimize harm and maximize benefit for people and the planet. He firmly believes that business can be a powerful and positive force for personal, ecological, and cultural transformation.

The title of his talk is "The Nature of Work:  How ecosystems can teach us to build lasting and fulfilling businesses." 

Caroline Woolard graduated from the only tuition-free art school in the United States with a strong commitment to the solidarity economy movement and to conceptual art. After co-founding and co-directing resource sharing networks OurGoods.org in New York City and TradeSchool.coop in 50 cities internationally for the past five years, Caroline is now focused on BFAMFAPhD.com to raise awareness about the impact of rent, debt, and precarity on culture and on New York City To Be Determined to create and support truly affordable, community land trusts for cultural resilience in New York City.

The title of her talk is "What is a Work of Art in the Age of $120,000 Art Degrees?  A lecture about the impact of rent, debt, and precarity on culture and imagination in the 21st century."

Please join us on November 15th at the Judson Memorial Church in New York City for this year's E. F. Schumacher Lectures. Doors open at 9:30 AM. The lectures begin at 10:00 AM and conclude at 3:00 PM. Tickets are $35, including lunch. Pre-registration is required. Previous lectures are available on the Schumacher Center's website.