What would happen if artists took over the economy?

The Marrickville School of Economics is an (ongoing) artist-led pedagogy and experiment in doing economy differently. It was first conceived by artist and researcher Bek Conroy in the Southern Hemisphere Spring of 2016 and ran for a year at Frontyard Projects in Marrickville (NSW). In 2017 it debuted in Folkestone (UK) with Madeline Hodge as part of the Live Art Development Agency DIY workshop series and in partnership with Folkestone Fringe (and then again with the Folkestone Triennial).

The School runs intermittently or whenever there is an invitation or demand. It is free to attend and open to all and the course is usually designed in a manner that responds to the practical needs of the community. In the original conception, at the end of each 8-week module we would collaborate with an economist or other finance specialist to present an event that brought together the material we covered or else make something useful that could then go into an arsenal of pedagogical tools

The MSE draws on experimentation from other parts of the world, and empirical research from our own backyard, to equip those with the desire to redesign the economy with the knowledge and skills to speak confidently about how we could build a new one.

Artists are workers and as such they do economy. But how we do economy is different in many respects to how it is conventionally talked about and understood. In many ways the artist is a stubborn round peg in an impossible square hole.


  • Increase literacy on economic theories and business models among artists
  • Introduce radical ideas for doing economy differently
  • Share case studies of how other artists and communities are working with economy
  • Practice free education and open source peer to peer learning
  • Bring artists and non-artists together to collaborate on new ideas about economy
  • Create interesting and beautiful tools, platforms, and art works that expand thinking about economy and how we make and measure value


  • To make use of unorthodox sources and expertise
  • To source ideas and materials from non-white european males
  • To generate models for production and distribution that value all human and non-human life forms


This school makes use of open source, pirate materials, excursions, guest lectures, podcasts, youtube lectures, stolen and recycled university courses, kidnapped professors held ransom, events, games, mapping software, random acts of kindness, paper, rock, and scissors.