Oh snap, it’s EconFrame!

Ramin's tweet of negative externality

Dr. Ramin Nassehi recently launched a new photo competition called EconFrame. We did a quick interview to see what the hype is all about.

What is EconFrame?

It’s a photo competition open to undergraduate students. It’s focused on making a connection between economics and the real world. We’re living in a photo age so why not take advantage of it to help understand economics?  

What was the inspiration for EconFrame?

As explained in the above video, I came across a rental bike on the way to the department. By the way it was parked in the middle of the pavement, it reminded me of the economic concept of negative externality and I thought that taking a picture of the scene could explain this.

In a more general point of view, there is a problem within economics in terms of presentation and communication. Economists tend to use the same font and style, and concepts/research aren’t usually presented in a creative way. Even in textbooks, the pictures there are of abstract art and concepts. The exception to this is the Phillips Machine.

Phillips Machine

To present Keynesian economics, a hydraulic machine was built to explain this. It was a much more creative way of presenting economics. That is what this competition is about! In economics we have cliché pictures to outline concepts like a factory polluting the air though that might not be an everyday scene. EconFrame allows for students to present economics in a relatable way.

What makes EconFrame unique from other competitions such as the First Year Challenge?

EconFrame is open to all undergraduate students and uses a different medium that is less staged than a video. What I mean by this is you can shape how a video is presented but in photos you can still frame it but you have to let what is out there tell their own story. It’s a less mediated and more direct link with the real world and economics and arts and humanities.

How will EconFrame be judged?

There will be two criteria: content and visual quality. The picture has to look good but also have substance. It needs to be econ-related, interesting and capture the audience. Humorous submissions are allowed but no memes or photoshopping! Filters and cropping are fine.

What are the guidelines for submitting to EconFrame?

Everything is explained in the video! The photo has to be an original – not someone else’s work from Google. Students can take a photo of statues, scenery, people, etc. as long as it’s their own work. There needs to be a title along with an abstract (max. 150 words).

It will be an online submission via the ExploreEcon page. Submissions will be accepted from the beginning of Term 2 (13 Jan 2020) until the deadline (10 Feb 2020). Top 3 photos will be awarded during ExploreEcon 2020.

Any advice to students on their submission?

My only advice is to be creative! Submit a photo of a community, a photo of anything. It doesn’t have to even be a specific economic concept. It could be an important economic event happening like if you want to summarise trade wars in a picture – be my guest!

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