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New Social Art School sticker, made for donation boxes in Aberdeen City


by Merz, Vykoukal, Rodriguez-Remedi, Dobson and Steadman

For the past three years Aberdeen City Council has tried to rid the city of street beggars.

In 2004 the council proposed a bylaw to ban begging, which initially led to the New Social Art School project and publication Get a fucking job. The begging ban proposal was turned down by the Scottish Executive in January 2005. The council then decided to introduce the so-called donation boxes; an attempt to discourage people from giving money to street beggars. In 2007, once again the city council brought to attention the begging ban and waited for the Justice Minister to reconsider the proposed bylaw.

In April 2007 the already infamous boxes were mounted on various locations in the city centre, carrying the logo: Give a hand up - not a hand out.

New Social Art School designed some special stickers for the boxes and for the city, trying to raise public awareness to the fact that Aberdeen has little to offer in terms of help and services, and petty donations will make no difference for people on the streets.


August 2007 it was revealed that the donation boxes had collected only £350 in three months.

October, at a visit in Aberdeen, the Justice Minister said that Aberdeen has to prove that it needs a ban on begging. He said: "Do I think it is necessary for the country as a whole? No, I do not think so... What we really need to do is address the underlying causes of homelessness and begging."

October, with no media coverage, the donation boxes were dismantled. New Social Art School contacted the responsible authorities to enquire about the decision, but we got no reply....

November, out of the blue, an article in Press & Journal brings up the donation boxes and sticker campaign again - almost six months after it happened. Merz responds in a letter to the editor and reveals that the donation boxes have been removed. A journalist from Press & Journal looks into the case and finds out that, apparently, the boxes have been robbed by thiefs who changed the padlocks! Surprised? City council says that they are considering to put the boxes back up: '... the programme will continue'.

We await further progress from Aberdeen City Council, while no more has been said about the fact that the begging ban proposal for the second time has been turned down by the Justice Minister.

Meanwhile our people are out on the streets....

Official design for donation box with logo 'Give a hand up - not a hand out' - and the 'corrected' version...

The 'brains'

Merz and Steadman

Press and Journal, frontpage, six months after the 'sticker protest'

Keith and Colin aka Spunjz, also known from 'Get A Fucking Job', Union Street, Aug 07

Simon, also known from 'Get A Fucking Job', Backwynd, Aug 07

John, also known from 'Get A Fucking Job', at Somerfield, Union Street, May 07
(note the stickers). John did every single bus shelter on Union Street. Thanks!