from the director
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IMTFI at the British Museum
The British Museum opened its new Citi Money Gallery featuring a selection of money-related objects contributed by IMTFI researchers. The gallery spans 4000 years of the history and forms of money, including the world's first coins, early examples of paper currency, counterfeit money, and traditional jewelry made of money. Among this plethora of objects sit two display cases contributed by IMTFI with items representing contemporary forms of money, from money boxes and piggy banks to credit cards and mobile payment systems. The selection includes a wooden money box from India, donated by Mani Nandhi; a clay money box from Nigeria, donated by Isaac Oluwatayo; a Haitian mobile phone that can send and receive money via text message, and a special pair of women's undergarments with hidden pockets for cash donated by Erin Taylor, Espelencia Baptiste and Heather Horst.
To learn more about the exhibit, read the reflections of IMTFI researcher Erin Taylor in her recent blog post.
Social Relations and Payments in Ethiopia
Our two most recent working papers are available to download from our website. In Understanding Social Relationships and Payments among Poor Individuals in Ethiopia, Woldmariam Mesfin writes about the connection between a diverse range of social and payments practices in rural Ethiopia, exploring the interplay among gifts, savings, and documentation.
Gender and Money Storing in the Philippines
In Hidden in a Coke Bottle: Modernity, Gender, and the Informal Storing of Money in Philippine Indigenous Communities, Janet Arnado describes how money-storing practices in the Philippines are shaped by gender relations, secrecy, and spending habits.
Read these and previous working papers from our researchers here.
COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENTS
Partnering with Sicap in Indonesia
How can we ensure that technology serves the needs of society? This question, writes Tom Boellstorff, is at the heart of a new research project led by IMTFI in partnership with the mobile software company Sicap. The project aims at researching the interface between mobile social media and payments in Indonesia. With research teams based in two major cities in Indonesia, the project will look into the impact of the rapidly expanding "landscape" of social media and mobile technology in the sphere of payments.
To learn more about the project, read Boellstorff's full post here.
Reflections on the Ecology of Payment Platforms in East Africa
A recent study by iHub, a technology research organization based in Kenya, shows that - despite the low-cost and higher efficiency of mobile payment platforms such as M-Pesa, a large majority of people in Kenya continue to prefer queuing for payment orders. This seeming paradox, writes IMTFI director, Bill Maurer in an editorial for iHub, suggests that perhaps inefficiency and low-cost are not the only criteria we should be considering when guaging how people make choices about their spending. Instead, Maurer argues, our task as researchers and/or as technology innovators is to understand how people value and compare different payment platforms, when and how new platforms become trustworthy and widely used, and how these platforms are modified or redesigned through people's experience on the ground.
August 2012: New Call for Proposals!
It's that time of year: In August we'll be sending out our call for new research proposals, so tell your friends and colleagues and stay tuned.
October 2012: IMTFI Money Exhibit at UCI's Langson Library
A smaller-scale exhibit of money objects presented at the Citi Money Gallery titled, "From Gold to Gigabytes: The Past, Present and Future of Money," will be on display in UCI's Langson Library October 2012-April 2013. IMTFI director, Bill Maurer, and British Museum curator, Catherine Eagleton, will open the exhibit with a public reception on October 5.