Society in flux. Have communities become more cohesive?
Wherever you are, what is around you? And who is around you? Who is your tribe, and has that changed in the past 16 months?
In every single episode of this After Corona? series of podcasts, contributors have spoken of a change to their sense of community. There are clichés of the ‘Blitz Spirit’, or more nuanced takes on business being unusually in-tune with food banks; teachers and parents having a more shared understanding about how learning works; politicians acknowledging the power of grassroots togetherness around topics that matter.
We don’t know what your experience of the pandemic has been, but chances are you’ve had to look at your communities in a new light. Friends you’ve missed, local businesses you’ve tried out for the first time, studying the data on how your area is doing and what is being said about it.
Some of the contributions in this episode are from a year ago, some six months, some more recent – painting a picture of what was surprising, and what wasn’t, about the way people rallied around one another at different stages of the pandemic.
What aspects of our new approaches to community do we want to keep?
Our guests in this episode:
- Father Oliver Coss from All Saints Church in Northampton.
- Dr Catherine Okoronkwo from All Saints & St Barnabas Church in Swindon.
- Caroline Wood is the director of a public, private partnership looking at the economy, regeneration and skills in Coastal West Sussex.
- Ryan Huttley, a youth worker in Essex.
- Ben Clench is a speaker and writer on his past decade recovering from a traumatic brain injury.
Communities in the spotlight
always possible works with organisations on projects that bring people together.
Changing the Conversation
Earlier this year always possible were commissioned by the University of Sussex and the Economic and Social Research Council to develop two communities of practice around the topics of ageing well and modern slavery.
A series of online events and podcasts bring together professionals, academic researchers, volunteers and other interested parties to discuss and dissect the latest research and interrogate where current accepted best practice fits within that.
An online community content hub for each topic was set up via always possible’s peer networking platform The Possibility Club.
The project’s aim is to develop a stakeholder communities to share learning and translate academic knowledge into action.
This ambitious project, conceived by Essex Partners, centred around the British Science Festival and key anniversaries of Essex’ heritage in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM). Its aim was to bring communities together to celebrate Essex STEAM and increase civic pride. always possible were tasked with creating the infrastructure to enable people to organise and come together and the curation of the programme.
The resulting calendar of more than 500 events – and a website full of resources – connected grassroots organisations, big businesses, education, arts and culture.
The strength of community, resilience and flexibility of the hundreds of organisations involved was inspiring, as demonstrated in the finale showcase.
Different perspectives on community
// Modern slavery in Sussex – supporting survivors
Victims of modern slavery are usually excluded from the general community or wrapped within small, toxic communities. How do we best support survivors to join and feel part of an inclusive and supportive community and find their place in the wider society?
(84 minute watch)
// Stella Creasy MP on community power
We spoke to Stella towards the end of November 2020 about power, community, social mobility and what the hell it is like being a British MP through a decade of austerity, Brexit and a global pandemic.
(40 minute listen)
// Radical collaboration & pooling resources
We put on this roundtable in June 2020 at the height of Covid uncertainty. It brought together representatives from across the spectrum of arts, culture, creative making, media and digital to make an offer of a skills or resource, ask for specific help, and to share ideas.
(80 minute watch)
// Mark Davyd on grassroots music venues
Mark, and the Music Venues Trust, have been hailed as heroes by many in the UK for running some very hard-hitting campaigns that put small and medium pubs and gig venues at the forefront of cultural recovery funding.
(40 minute listen)
// Ageing Well – digital inclusion and inclusive design
always possible Associate Lucy Paine discusses digital inclusion and inclusive design with Dr Ralitsa Hiteva from the University of Sussex’s Science, Policy and research unit; and Social Entrepreneur, Eric Kihlstrom – with a special guest appearance from Oscar the dog!
(34 minute listen)