About

How can we shift public opinion away from the idea that tax is a burden? Tax is the lifeblood of public life. It funds public services and contributes to the formation of citizen identities and solidarities. If we are to challenge anti-tax sentiment and foster public confidence in the tax system, it is crucial to examine the way we communicate about tax.

Communicating Tax is a research project led by Rebecca Bramall and Liam Stanley. The project examined the government’s Annual Tax Summary (ATS), a personalised tax and spending statement sent to income taxpayers, and explored alternative ways of reporting on tax and public spending.

The Ministry of Tax is a design intervention which tests out recommendations from the project through the generation of an alternative tax summary. It was created by Alistair McClymont, David Sims and Oliver Smith and exhibited in autumn 2018 as part of Everything Happens so Much at London College of Communication.

Research Team

Project researchers

Rebecca Bramall is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. Rebecca is currently researching tax culture in the UK after the global financial crisis, examining the cultural frameworks that help people to make sense of tax, public spending, and their taxpaying identities. Articles from this project have been published in New Formations (2016), Celebrity Studies (2017) and Soundings (2017).

Liam Stanley is a Lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield, and an Associate Fellow at the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI). Liam’s research centres on how the world has changed since the 2008 global financial crisis. Recent publications include an experimental study into annual tax summaries in Political Studies (2017) and a study into how fiscal consolidation has been governed in the UK in Economy and Society (2016).

Designers

Alistair McClymont Artist, designer, and developer. He is Subject Lead in Emerging Practice on BA Graphic Media Design at the London College of Communication. Alistair exhibits internationally with a varied practice encompassing installation, sculpture, image, sound, video and digital. Recent exhibitions include the Tate Modern, Stereolux (France), STUK (Belgium), MU (Netherlands) & the Victoria and Albert Museum.

David Sims is the Programme Director for Graphic Design Communication at London College of Communication. David is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and his continuing research output has focused on the use of technology in learning and teaching. David has recently undertaken a Knowledge Exchange sabbatical at Beyond Words Studio with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the design process and workflow of data storytelling within the public and private sector.

Oliver Smith is an artist investigating the myths surrounding large-scale systems, processes and computation. His work engages directly with these systems as interventions, performances and installations. Oliver is a member of the Demystification Committee and Lecturer in Critical Digital Design and Image Making at the London College of Communication.

Supporters

Funders

The project is a collaboration between Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) and London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. It was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the University of Sheffield.

Workshop Participants

  • David Byrne, Durham University
  • Tim Dhoul, Common Vision (COVI)
  • Naomi Fowler, Tax Justice Network
  • Caroline Macfarland, Common Vision (COVI)
  • Alistair McClymont, London College of Communication
  • Robert Palmer, Tax Justice UK
  • Sally Ruane, De Montfort University
  • David Sims, London College of Communication
  • Oliver Smith, London College of Communication
  • Matthew Watson, University of Warwick

Contact

To contact us about the project, please use this address:
info [at] ministryoftax.uk