How do you promote the four-day week? With Stephen Fry and a whole of host of brilliant animators of course

Featuring animation segments by Alex Gamsu Jenkins, Pia Graf, Dal Park and Cheng, the Change the Week film aims to present research into the benefits of the four-day week in a visually appealing, accessible and playful way.

Date
7 June 2022

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Change the Week is a short film championing the innumerable benefits of a four-day week. Taking a purposefully creative approach to a fairly dense topic, the film features a number of inventive animations from creatives based all over Europe. And to boot, the film includes a very special feature from a soothing voice we’re sure many know well: Stephen Fry. Masterminded by Ian Pons Jewell who was inspired by the 4 Day Week Global pilot and helped along by creative agency Mox, the project has brought together a number of brilliant creative minds. 

Matt Bolton, co-founder and creative director of Mox, explains the creative agency to have been “born out of frustration with the outdated ways of working” that he and co-founders Oscar and Xander all experienced in traditional ad agencies. It makes sense, therefore, that Mox should be one such organisation pioneering the four-day week. As part of the 4 Day Week initiative pilot being run by academics at Oxford and Cambridge universities, and the non-profit organisation 4 Day Week Global, Mox believes the initiative to have particular benefits for the creative industries. “As creative businesses we’re meant to be touchstones for the future, using creativity to drive the innovation, disruption and change that trickles down to the rest of society,” Matt says. “But creativity needs time, it needs inspiration, and it’s seldom found stuck at your desk on a Friday at the end of a 60-hour week.”

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Change the Week (Copyright © 4 Day Week, 2022)

The “brainchild” of the short film is director Ian Pons Jewell, another figure passionate about the four-day week project. Inspired by the changes he saw to usually rigid workplace rules over the pandemic and “a trust that was previously nonexistent” being ushered in, he was compelled to explore the other potential for change engrained in 9-5, Monday-to-Friday work culture. And whilst there may be a number of brilliant articles and papers addressing the subject, Ian sought a more creative way of presenting the findings: “Reading articles is fine, but we are also swamped with information every day by way of the news media,” Ian explains. “So an animation felt like a great way to distil all the research into an engaging piece that could be shared and digested much more.”

The film pieces together the work of six different animators, and whilst all have such a unique style – from Pia Graf’s futuristic, sci-fi centric approach to Matteo Dang’s Eastern European-inspired animation style – the seamless transitions in the film create an energetic yet unified finish. Dal Park, one Berlin-based animator included in the film, spoke of how the animators were encouraged to stick to their personal aesthetics: “we were very lucky to be asked to utilise our own drawing and animation style for this project”. And, working off such a “free” brief and fast pace really gave the animators creative freedom with their storylines. Juan Carlos Roberto, another of the creatives featured, really stretched his imagination for the project. “I wanted to emphasise in a metaphorical way the advantages of this work approach, portraying a person in a kind of adventure in which he symbolically ‘clones’ himself by making better use of his time, changing his size in his own home as a way of explaining the comfort of doing the same things he does in the city,” the animator explains. “Everyone ends up winning.” To encourage such a vast structural change as the four-day week, you need to do some pretty good convincing. Change the Week has certainly won us over.

GalleryChange the Week (Copyright © 4 Day Week, 2022)

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Change the Week (Copyright © 4 Day Week, 2022)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in illustration, photography, ceramic design and platforming creativity from the north of England.

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