Grants / Projects we are funding

‘Learn’ and ‘What just happened?’: Economy

Grant details

Amount:£130,000

Awarded on:01/10/2017

Status:Live

Area of interest

Systems change

Themes covered

Systems change

The way in which economics is presented in the public sphere at present is inaccessible to many in society, leading to reduced participation in democratic life and in debates on how social and economic life should be structured. To address this power imbalance, economic language needs demystifying to educate its audience on how the economy works and where they fit in, transforming the subject from a barrier to a bridge for citizens.

What is the issue?

In 2016, YouGov found that only 12% of those surveyed felt that politicians and the media talk about economics in an accessible way. In May this year, another poll demonstrated that over half of the UK public (55%) feel information about the economy in the media around election time is not useful enough to help them make an informed voting choice.

Economics is at the centre of public debate on everything from healthcare, to immigration, to the arts. Having the confidence to engage in debate on how the economy should work is essential to becoming an active citizen.

However, at present, the subject is open only to those with specialist education, power, and privilege. This leaves the vast majority unable to fully participate in democratic life or take part in debate on how social and economic life should be structured. We believe that the inability of the majority of people to engage in conversation on economics creates a democratic deficit which our work is uniquely placed to tackle.

What will the project try to achieve?

This project helps change the relationship our audience have to economics from one of disengagement and confusion to one of identity, understanding, and empowerment with economics.

By creating content first and foremost around real, human stories, cultivating a community of people who engage with each other via our social media platforms, and stripping away the jargon from the subject, our content will serve as proof of the social nature of the topic of the economy, and build people’s confidence to become active participants in the conversation of how it should work.

The project’s learnings from editorial content, together with its research findings, form the core of Economy’s campaign, providing positive and practical recommendations to media, politics, finance, academia, and education on how they communicate about economics, democratising the subject across the board.

Who might be interested in the project?

Economic communicators, youth education organisations, those interested in financial literacy, democracy campaigners, financial institutions, economists, civil service. Anyone who wants to learn a little more about economics!

Photo credit: Marc Wathieu on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC