The Pandemic as Portal — Harvard Berkman Klein Center video recording
During the first 3 months of the pandemic, things were quite a blur. There were so many events, initiatives, coming together virtually, and different ways of trying to meet the need of the moment: supporting communities and organisations to respond.
A subset of these projects focused on expanding peoples’ imaginations of what was possible, exploring the new narratives and myths that were opening up — the cracks in the dominant paradigm — making sure that in that time of emergency, trauma, and narrowing, communities and leaders alike could keep feeding their imaginations of what was possible.
During the first 3 months of the pandemic, I launched two projects:
- Moral Imaginations (newsletter here), a community and approach towards rigorous (collective) imagination towards moral futures — creating immersive, experiential spaces for people to access the liminal of adjacent possible worlds.
- Don’t Go Back To Normal, a platform and movement to use the “pause” in the narrative of normal to divest from old platforms and services which don’t serve a new paradigm — and transition to new platforms and services which prioritise open-source, decentralised, cooperative and commons-based economies.
#dontgobacktonormal is a movement of people who commit to change every corner of their lives, and build a movement around these changes. Each divestment from the old normal and each transition to a new platform or service or subscription brings all of us closer to the new world that is possible, and is reachable in this pandemic.
Now is the time for breaking out of our usual habits and siloed issue areas. We must re-imagine every corner of society, from food systems to education to how we use technology, how we do waste, how we generate energy, and the rhythms and behaviours with which we live our lives. We must do this so that we #dontgobacktonormal.
In June 2020, Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center reached out to invite me to speak about Moral Imaginations and Don’t Go Back To Normal alongside four brilliant panellists. You can now:
Watch the entire panel on Youtube (see below)
The event laid out the context to these projects:
“In many ways, the coronavirus pandemic has resurfaced and amplified the worst in the world: intensification of surveillance, racism, nationalism, anti-scientism, bigotry.
But something strange has happened as well. Changes, ideas and solutions that were previously deemed impossible have suddenly become possible. Many of these changes still don’t go far enough, come with caveats and fine print, are subject to absurd means-testing, or are only temporary. These aren’t necessarily the changes we want, but they give us a glimpse of what has suddenly become possible.”
They invited two other projects to join the panel: the COVID-19 Policy Response, The New Possible — all projects that are seeking to capture and document the new possible. We spent the panel talking about our experiences and debating how we can ensure that the new normal doesn’t turn into the old normal.
Hope you enjoy listening — keep in mind the video is now 1.5 years old!
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Phoebe Tickell — Narratives, complexity, systems. Catalyzing transformative innovation in the face of converging crises, advising on complexity approaches, systems design, regenerative leadership, and education for regenerative development.