CALL FOR ARTISTS, No Chains Project


Summary No Chains, a collaborative project undertaken by the two worker cooperatives “20th of December” (La Alameda) in Argentina and “Dignity Returns” in Thailand, seeks artists, designers, and activists to assist in creating images for a global “sweat-free” brand of t-shirts to be launched in April 2010. The application deadline is 25 February 2010. Five submissions will be chosen by the joint vote of both cooperatives in early March 2010 and produced as t-shirts that will be marketed to ethical consumers and distributed among unions, NGOs, labor activists as part of an international campaign to promote non-exploitative garment production, international labor solidarity, and sustainable workers’ self-management.

Background On 12th March 2009 a representative from La Alameda met with members of the Dignity Returns cooperative in Bangkok. After discussing the factories’ respective goals and difficulties, members decided to jointly produce and advertise sweat-free goods both to act as a model for viable worker-operated garment production and to raise awareness about non-exploitative labor. Expanding their existing media networks and activist alliances, both cooperatives would participate in a coordinated campaign about safe and ethical consumption, while addressing abuses specific to the garment industry’s global supply chain, which depends upon the exploitation of gendered, migrant, and subcontract labor in Argentina, Thailand, and throughout the global South.  

Aims The No Chains project model will hold quarterly t-shirt design contests that invite the direct collaboration of artists, designers, and art collectives with the workers of La Alameda and Dignity Returns, of which February 2010’s selection will be the first installment. The momentum generated by a joint brand consistently renewed by artists’ participation, coupled with each cooperative’s longstanding commitment to labor activism, will enable No Chains to serve as a platform that highlights various labor struggles throughout the globe, connecting artists, consumers, and supporters at these important global flashpoints. While maintaining this momentum through the projects’ stability, both La Alameda and Dignity Returns will remain open to the prospect of collaborating with other worker-owned factories that wish to join in producing under the No Chains brand.

Submission Specifications

The Design The design must represent the general theme of “No Chains”. T-shirt designs may be produced using any visual medium, but should:

1)    be suitable for silkscreen reproduction on various colors of cotton fabric.

2)    use a maximum of three colors.

3)    be in .jpg file format.

The Artist/Designer

1)    Please include a brief artist/collective bio, along with an optional artists’ statement. It may be 50-150 words long (if in English or Spanish). The file should be in MS Word, Open Office Writer, or as an .rtf file.

2)    Artists must either grant the copyright of their submitted designs to No Chains, or place their design under a Creative Commons license by which No Chains is authorized to produce shirts bearing the design.

Translation Offered If Necessary We are happy to assist with translation of brief phrases into Spanish, English, or Thai. However, please remember that because of the broad scope of existing labor networks, from Brussels to Jakarta to Porto Alegre to Seoul, it is best to communicate through a visual graphic image rather than through words. Submission Please submit your design or any further queries electronically by email to by 25 February 2010.   Remember: images must be as .jpeg files, and the description of the artist must be as Word/Open Office/.rtf files.   Selection Process Maintaining a commitment to collective principles, the full memberships of both groups will decide on the selection of the five winning images by vote, and the results will be informed to the winning artists and also announced on the No Chains website in early March 2010. The t-shirts will be marketed to ethical consumers, supportive labor unions, and NGOs. In addition, some NGOs will sponsor the donation of some shirts to members of selected workers’ struggles as they arise.

Because both collectives operate autonomously without access to external funding, No Chains is unfortunately unable to provide financial compensation for artists’ contributions that are adopted for use in the global “sweat-free” brand. However, artists whose work is selected will receive five shirts bearing their winning designs.

good luck

Jene Youtt, nyc


2 Responses to “CALL FOR ARTISTS, No Chains Project”

  1. seo Says:

    Hi, great comment. I look forward to your next topic. Thanks, Saskia

  2. Hyacinth Molzahn Says:

    I really like the fresh perpective you did on the issue. Really was not expecting that when I started off studying. Your concepts were easy to understand that I wondered why I never looked at it before. Glad to know that there’s an individual out there that definitely understands what he’s discussing. Great job

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