Money and finance carry traces of the past. Sometimes these traces are visible, inscribed on physical money. Sometimes they are less visible, as when money and finance are implicated in historical or current injustice, violence or ecological harm. Sometimes they persist in collective memory, where understandings of past financial experience help shape expectations and behaviour in the present. How might the arts and humanities help us to engage with the legacies of money’s past in the present day? What place might the history of finance have in addressing racial injustice, or approaching climate justice? As societies become increasingly cashless, in what material forms might we visualise and imagine money’s histories?
The history of finance also offers important insights into a wide range of experiences of financial change. Key turning points in the history of finance can help us to understand how cultures have responded to major financial changes, broadening our points of reference as we confront contemporary issues in finance. How are key moments in the history of finance – from Solon’s Laws in the 6th c. BCE to financial liberalisation in the late twentieth century – remembered and mythologised? What role might memory of those moments play in the way institutions and individuals conceptualise money and finance in the twenty-first century? What light can these past financial turning points shed on current changes in finance?