Trade School is a learning experiment where teachers barter with students.
Anyone can teach a class, and students offer barter items to meet the teacher’s needs. For the past seven years, over 30 chapters around the world have been coordinating local gatherings for exchange.
This is a sharing economy toolkit and book written by volunteer organizers around the world.
Since 2009, we’ve been teaching ourselves and learning from our elders using a barter system. We have been doing this in our own communities around the world, and we have helped each other open and adapt our ideas to our local contexts. Together, we will collate our stories and teaching tools into ONE book.
Trade School | 2009
Trade School began January of 2009 as an experiment by a group of New York City artists and designers who built OurGoods.org, an online resource-sharing network for the creative community. They were given an opportunity to work with GrandOpening, and decided that a barter based learning space had a lot of potential. Over the course of 35 days, more than 800 people participated in 76 single session classes, like Introduction to Digital Photography taught by Alex Mallis (photo above). The enthusiasm for barter based education made Trade School organizers think they should keep running, so they launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to build a new space, and gauge interest in the idea of schools opening in other cities.
Trade School Everywhere | 2012
After a few years of organizing and experimenting with classes in New York, Trade School organically became a global movement for community, connection, and educational justice. Schools were opening up in places like Singapore, London, Guadalajara, Paris, New Haven, and Milan! In 2012, another Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded that supported the creation of an open source software platform to share with Trade School chapters.
Today | 2015
As of August 2015, more than 100 cities have submitted a request to open up a Trade School, and over 19,000 students and teachers have taught or attended a Trade School class somewhere in the world. In exchange for these classes, students have traded goods and services with teachers, but money has never exchanged hands.
Over the next year, we will gather stories and teaching tools that show how and why barter based learning has spread internationally. We will share our experiences about creating alternative spaces for learning, our reasons for getting involved, how it has worked, and how it has failed in our local contexts. This is a book for learners, for educators, for builders of sharing economy platforms, and for the new economy, as the majority of organizers are under 30 years old, and want to write about the ways it has changed them and their surroundings.
Since the financial crisis of 2007-2008, many sharing economy platforms have launched, and many books have been written about collaborative consumption and the solidarity economy. But, very few books, if any, have been written by the members who use these sharing platforms.
This is a book written by and for the people who are creating the sharing economy by organizing efforts in their city, like Trade School, that place people before profit.
By pledging to buy a book (or two) now, you are giving us the advance funding we need to make this book. Your support will help us gather our collective wisdom about barter based learning platforms around the world. Your support allows us to…
Publish and design a book that we’re estimating to be 250 pages long. Our Indianapolis based partner The Geeky Press will publish the book. This book will be published under Creative Commons license CC-BY-SA!
Publish an ebook of teaching tools that combines all of the organizing resources and advice we collect from each other for future Trade School organizers & other educators. This will also be published under Creative Commons license CC-BY-SA!
Translate the book into French, Spanish, and Italian.
Send printed copies to each Trade School chapter as a thank you for all of their incredible work.
Bring our Trade School Everywhere blog back to life! After our campaign and book is created, we will continue sharing stories & interviews through blog posts and an e-newsletter.
Note: Trade School is able to accept donations through our fiscal sponsor The Athenaeum Foundation. The Athenaeum Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Trade School will issue tax receipts for all donations exceeding $250.
This project will involve the entire Trade School collective and is spearheaded by Brittany West. Brittany West is an organizer of the Trade School Indianapolis chapter and has support and guidance from Caroline Woolard, an artist and organizer who co-founded the resource sharing networks OurGoods.org and Trade School.coop in New York City.
In 2014, Caroline and Brittany finally met in New York! Since then, they have worked together to ensure that Trade School can continue to be a part of local communities everywhere it is wanted.
Charlie Barker-Gavigan in Glasgow, Danielle Trudeau in Edinburgh, Colin Hynson in Norwich, Nicole Bergen, Celine Barto, and Narmada Ramakrishna in Geneva, Leanne Pedante in Los Angeles, Rachel Arnould in Paris, Daniel Contreras Dordelly and Eduardo Juan Panadero in Guadalajara, Danila Pellicani in Milan, and Michelle Soto, Carlera Moncayo, Martina Avilés and Anapaula Ramirez in Quito are working on many aspects of the book, from design to translations to copy editing. Every Trade School will be interviewed.
The Trade School collective is made entirely of volunteers. There are no paid staff or appointed leadership, only incredible people who want to support each other. Read more about our story here.
If you’d like to get involved, start by seeing if there is a Trade School in your city at http://tradeschool.coop and introduce yourself. If there’s not, are you interested in starting one? We’d love to hear from you - reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime!
Word of mouth is the way we’ve been able to build our collective. You can also help us by telling everyone you know to come to this page and read our story.
If we raise $10,000 to cover the costs for the printing, publishing, and shipping of the book, plus small stipends for the schools involved the year we create this book, we can do this project.
If we raise $25,000 we can fly Trade School organizers from around the world to a central location to meet each other in person and celebrate the launch of our book with a live audience!
Risks and challenges
This is the first project we've done as a collective. While we have organized using the same platform and have been guided by the same principles for over 7 years, this will be the first time we intentionally work together to share our stories and experiences.
This book will teach us just as much as it will teach anyone else. We're planning on taking a year to write this book, and as our collective is always growing and evolving, it will be difficult to tell exactly which schools will be in the book. We want to track down as many schools as we can (as some haven't been active in a few years), include new schools that join our collective, and gather a mix of stories from organizers, teachers, and students too.
As we begin telling our stories, the interviews will surely evolve. We are still gathering ideas and contributions from organizers, collaboratively editing drafts and interviews, and viewing the entire project as a work-in-progress.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)