Afield Study 2021 | Caroline Woolard: Mutual Economies

Afield Study 2021, titled “Together”, took place in May 2021 and was led by researcher Massimiliano Mollona. This public talk by Caroline Woolard, took place on the 21st of May and was part of the research strand: “Mutual Economies”, led by curator Binna Choi.


Binna’s workshop within the stand was titled “Home is Economy. Economy is Home” exploring alternative economies with an organic leaning into economies of care.


In her talk Caroline invites us to arrive with our whole selves, questioning how we can prefigure and imagine the ‘new’ mutual economies we wish for, keeping in mind all facets of our being. Observing her place as an artist vs. ‘economic justice activist’, the lines between the personal and political are further blurred, opening up a discussion about the role of state support and self/collective sustainability.


As we actively seek working models in the cultural sector during and after the pandemic, Woolard offers insight into ‘solidarity economies’ that value social over purely financial profits and alternatives to business-as-usual towards economic and racial justice in our individual communities and beyond.


Caroline Woolard is an American artist who, in making her art, becomes an economic critic, social justice facilitator, media maker, and sculptor. Since the financial crisis of 2007–08, Woolard has catalyzed barter communities, minted local currencies, founded an arts-policy think tank, and created sculptural interventions in office spaces. Her work has been commissioned by and exhibited in major museums including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum, and Creative Time. Woolard’s work has been featured twice on “New York Close Up” (2014, 2016). Caroline Woolard is an assistant professor at the University of Hartford and co-author of three books: Making and Being (Pioneer Works, 2019); Art, Engagement, Economy (onomatopee, 2020) and TRADE SCHOOL: 2009-2019.