Getting animated about manufacturing

Manufacturing Futures

A recently released 3-minute animation captures the findings of a 3-year research project on cultures of manufacturing for the 21st century.

The animation, Manufacturing Futures: Beyond Business as Usual, highlights how manufacturers can produce in ways that are socially just and environmentally responsible.

The animation is based on in-depth research, funded by the Australian Research Council, into the ways that ten manufacturers are creating high quality jobs for a diverse workforce, redressing environmental harms and benefiting communities through the ways they operate their businesses.

Lead researcher Katherine Gibson says, “Although set in Australia, the research findings are applicable to wherever manufacturing takes place. As well, the findings relate to all types of manufacturers, whether they are multinational corporations, private firms, family businesses, cooperatives or social enterprises.”

“Rather than starting with what is wrong with the sector, the research used a strengths-based approach and targeted manufacturers who already have strategies in place to build a viable, just and sustainable manufacturing sector that will meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

“We have stories of manufacturers such as Interface, the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial carpet tiles, who are producing carbon neutral products and are now taking the next step of developing products that will decarbonise the atmosphere.”

“And there are smaller manufacturers such as The Social Outfit that use waste fabrics that would otherwise end up in landfill to manufacture quality garments through a social enterprise model that trains and employs refugees and new migrants.”

“Our aim is to broaden the conversation about what manufacturing needs to ‘look like’ in the 21st century, and the animation is one tool to initiate conversations between manufacturers, policy makers and educators.”

The research team of four Community Economies Institute members, Katherine Gibson, Jenny Cameron, Stephen Healy and Joanne McNeill, also produced a report which was launched in early 2020 by four state and federal politicians, and there are a variety of other resources including a short video, Hands at Work, and a series of academic publications.

Jenny Cameron