Unstrung Lucy Newman
With the introduction of sweeping government cuts and the introduction of the ‘Big Society’ concept is the UK as a nation going to be expected to give up our free time to make up the short fall? As a nation we’re often pushed to work longer hours for increasingly longer periods of our lives in order to provide for ourselves and our families. Between work and families what little free time we have is often cherished and occupied by hobbies and interests of every kind and some of which can require large monetary investments. As individuals is it their responsibility to ensure that money goes straight back into the British economy? With the advent of the internet and global market places like ebay many peoplechoose to spend their money outside of the UK in order to acquire items or collections that are not available without importing them. One such hobby that many British collectors and enthusiasts partake in is the collection and customisation of Asian Ball Jointed Dolls. The largest internet forum dedicated to ABJDs boasts over ten thousand active members world wide, many of whom reside in the UK. Dolls can range from anything between £100 and £1000, not including clothing, wigs and commissioning artists to paint them which can run into hundreds on their own, with some fetching even higher prices for limited edition or rare parts but because the dolls are created by small artist companies based primarily in Korea, Japan and China the vast majority of that money is going straight out of the UK economy and into others. At a time when some public services and charities are receiving 100% cuts in their funding should members of such hobbies feel socially obliged to support their own ﬂoundering economy and seek alternatives to their much loved hobbies that can be found more locally? And likewise, with the government cutting funding for charities and community projects with the onus on the community themselves taking up those projects should the nation put aside their own interests and hobbies in favour of supporting and running them? Of course many hobbies serve a purpose far deeper than simply feeding economies domestic or otherwise, they’re a form of healthy escapism to help us get away from the daily pressures of our lives, are we being social obligated by the government to give up those passions? If so the results can only be detrimental to individual mental well being and personal expression. Unstrung seeks to explore these questions as they’re faced by members of the ABJD hobby in the UK both in images and in their own words.