Social Action in So’ton – The Panini Project

I first learned about Sonia Nieto’s ideas on the importance of social action when I started teaching my Multicultural Studies course back in 2000. It’s a lesson I’ve taken to heart since then, and I try my best to volunteer time, money, or resources in the name of social action & social justice whenever I can.

Recently, Doug Belshaw linked to a fantastic social action project that manages to combine two of my personal passions: technology and football (is it putting on airs for an American to call association football by its proper name?). Kristian Still, a tutor at Taunton’s College in Southampton, England, started The Panini Project with his students.

The Panini Project takes its name from a company that produces, among other things, stickers based on professional football teams. Kristian’s project aims to collect a full team set of home jerseys for:

  1. Each of the 20 teams in the Premiership (top level of professional football in England)
  2. His local pro team, Southampton Football Club (for whom Kristian also works)
  3. The England national team

This amounts to 352 jerseys, each of which retail for around USD 80 (that’s over USD 28,000 worth of polyester, folks). Kristian and his students will then donate these jerseys to needy school and community football teams from Third World countries.

If anyone ever questions the value of utilizing read/write & telecommunication web technology, point them in the direction of The Panini Project. Kristian and his students are using the world’s most popular game (sorry, MLB, it’s not really a World Series, you know) as a basis for social action, and they’re using a wiki and email as a means of spreading the word as far and as wide as possible. Kristian was even good enough to spend a half hour or so Skypeing with me this morning to talk about the project.

Even if sports aren’t your thing, think about the ramifications this could have for similar social action projects, global or local.

I know we’re a minority here in the colonies, but if you’re a footy fan and have any old home tops stashed away, dig ’em out, give ’em a wash, and send them to:

PE & Sport
Tauntons College
Hill Lane
SO15 5RL
United Kingdom

Hey, Taunton students. You guys are doing great things for people you’ll never meet, but who will appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. Keep up the good work.

Update: Per Kristian’s comment, I should have made clearer that his students are seeking old, unwanted jerseys for this project, not brand new ones.


  • is it pretentious…imagine my dilemma living in another ex-british colony: my favorite sport is american football but when i go back to the states i have to remember not to say “american football”. my vocabulary is so mixed up now!

    thanks for sharing the project. think i’ll show it to my footie-mad students and see what they want to do!

  • Thank you for your kind words Damian – and your shirt donotation. The students have bought in the idea and are taking control. I am so proud of them. They have set up their own wiki page, email and now I read Bebo and Myspace accounts in the name of the project. I read on their page that they have even set up a weekly meeting slot! Any help, from any where is greatly appreciated. PS I must add, these are old/unwanted shirts, that we will pass on. Thanks again Damian.

  • cool! i have a student working on a senior seminar project and is attempting to do something similar.

    i will most assuredly point him to this!


  • @jeff – at least you aren’t spelling ‘favorite’ with a ‘u’…yet 🙂

    @kristian – always glad to promote a worthy cause. i should be sending another package your way in coming weeks – keep an eye out.

    @ken – i bet these students would get a kick out of knowing that they’re already serving as a model for another project halfway across the world!

  • Thats amazing, keep ’em coming. We are slowly making head way. We are about to go National, contacting the ‘local school’ near the football clubs, hoping they will be able to source more shirts then we can from Southampton. thanks

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