Creative Temporal Costings

Lead Research Organisation: Northumbria University
Department Name: Fac of Arts, Design and Social Sciences


Timebanking is emerging as a new parallel economy: in the UK, the charity TimeBanking UK (project partner) supports a membership of around 300 community timebanks nationwide. A key defining characteristic of timebanks is the unit of exchange: all activities are valued equally and in terms of time, with an hour contributed by a legal expert rendered equivalent to an hour of dog-walking or baby-sitting. Leeds Creative Timebank (LCT), the primary partner in this project, shares this principle, but is currently the only UK bank dedicated to facilitating and promoting the collaborative exchange of time among creative practitioners.

We propose an agile, experimental social design intervention that explores the practices of collaborative exchange as experienced by, and through a co-commissioned study undertaken with members of the LCT. The project will investigate the value(s) of creative collaborative exchange through creative collaborative exchange. Put another way, it takes collaborative exchange as both the means and object of study.

We have chosen LCT as the object of the study precisely because it employs a non-monetary form of exchange. The project will not consider LCT as an independent or alternative economy but rather, as a parallel economy: one that co-exists alongside other economies. To do this, we will employ methods that allow us to work within the ethos and economy of both the LCT and the money-based UK research economy. Each investigator will have an equal number of hour-long denominations deposited for them in the bank. These hours will be 'coined' by the bank, as a kind of temporal quantitative easing, to enable our participation in the bank on the same basis as other members. The assembled 'hours' will be invested in individuals' participation in two workshops and the co-production of two outputs: a research report and a creative publication. As investigators we will work simultaneously both within and outside the parallel economies of LCT and research councils. This experimental method assemblage will allow us to explore how collaboration supports the creation of multiple values from within, while also affording us a position from which to develop critical approaches to collaborative exchange from without. At the core of this collaboration will be the production of the two outputs.

Planned Impact

Impact pathways will lead to two parallel outputs: a report and a creative publication, each of which will be designed to create impact in different ways, made available online and publicised on social media, and delivered directly to specific contacts.

Economic performance and competitiveness of parallel economy mechanisms esp. timebanks:
The project will contribute to an understanding of time banks for the creative economy, at the same time as providing for an understanding of economies as having multiple values. Likely audiences will include LCT members, TimeBanking UK and international counterparts, Arts Council England and Leeds City Council.

Increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy:
The project will trial methods that may be useful in public service and policy design and implementation. More than mere consultation, co-production has the aim of using people's knowledge, skills and experience to help deliver services by promoting shared responsibility and networks of mutual support. Findings regarding timebank performance and competitiveness will be put forward as a way of provoking debate concerning the values of parallel economies more broadly and to outline guidance ('what works') for policy design. Likely audiences include councils seeking to deliver services within shrinking budgets, third sector organisations seeking to enter public service delivery and the Department for Communities and Local Government. The report and, depending on content, the creative publication will be publicised through emails and tweets to key contacts and 'influencers' such as the Institute for Government, New Economic Foundation, Local Government Association and made available for download on the research teams' individual university websites and those of LCT and Timebanking UK.

Academic impact:
In addition to developing current thinking on the creative economy, social design and community and policy levers for local economic development, the cross- and interdisciplinary nature of the research will provide methods and examples for experimental, co-designed, socially engaged and immediately impactful research practice in social science and humanities. The interdisciplinary research will model working methods that combine design, social science and humanities approaches, literatures and methods for meaningful research with direct transformative outcomes. We anticipate that in time, one academic article will be produced; more immediately we will reach academic audiences through the project report and creative publication.


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Description Please see Creative Temporal Costings: A ProtoPublics Research Project with Leeds Creative Timebank.
Exploitation Route The research will continue to inform LCT timebanking practices and associated work by the community co-I and academic research.

Leeds Creative Timebank has actively promoted the project findings with Leeds City Council which is adding timebank hour credits as valid inkind match funding to their Guidance Notes for arts and regeneration funding, as well as supporting a workshop with senior arts and regeneration officers in March 2016 to promote the model.

The project was commissioned as part of Protopublics ( and will inform future enquiry into/through prototyping new kinds of research collaboration oriented towards achieving societal change.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy

Description Links to downloadable pdfs of the two publications have been widely circulated and hard copies posted or handed to key individuals e.g. at Timebanking UK, Nesta, Leeds City Council, Newcastle City Council, Arts Council England among others, as well as to many academics working in the broad area.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

Description Designing for Crowdfunding Social Innovation
Amount £43,659 (GBP)
Organisation Northumbria University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2020
Description Leeds Creative Timebank 
Organisation Leeds Creative Timebank
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The project was an experimental social design intervention that explored the practices of collaborative exchange as experienced by, and through a co-commissioned study undertaken with Leeds Creative Timebank. The research team included a founder member of the timebank as a community co-I. The academic PI and co-Is took the lead on writing the proposal, capturing and analysing qualitative data and producing the more textual output.
Collaborator Contribution Leeds Creative Timebank contributed 100 timebank hours and was intrinsically involved in the organisation and running of the two participatory workshops, took the lead in commissioning the artists, and contributed to the generation of data and findings including creative publication and research report. Leeds Creative Timebank has also been proactive in promoting the research findings among other timebanks, local authorities and arts agencies etc.
Impact Creative Temporal Costings: A ProtoPublics Research Project with Leeds Creative Timebank Creative Temporal Costings (Creative Publication)
Start Year 2015