Every month we take a deeper look at 3 stories of what Transition initiatives are up to around the world.
Episode Fourteen: What if we were to respond to the debt crisis with art and playfulness?
One of the things we love most here at 'From What If to What Next' is stories of people bringing imagination to their activism, of impactful, thought-provoking projects that engage our imagination and our playfulness. One of the very best examples of this that we've ever seen is The Bank Job in Walthamstow, London, the work of printmaker Hilary Powell and filmmaker Dan Edelstyn, once described as "an act of generosity rare in the art world".
Following the release of the great new book 'The Bank Job' (published by Chelsea Green, and keep an eye on your emails as on Wednesday we will have a subscriber-only competition to win a copy) and their impending new film about the project, we were thrilled to invite Dan and Hilary onto the podcast. The Bank Job eradicated £1.2 million of payday lending debt in their community and so much more besides. I already interviewed Hilary and Dan once before when researching 'From What Is to What If', you can find that interview here. It feels like something we will now do on a regular basis!
As ever, thanks to Ben Addicott for theme music and production, and do let us know what you think of this episode.
Ministry of Imagination Episode 14 introduction
Here are the opening couple of minutes from Episode 14 of the bonus Ministry of Imagination podcast. Subscribe now at www.patreon.com/fromwhatiftowhatnext.
The Best of 2030: from episodes 1-9 of 'From What If to What Next'
Every episode of 'From What If to What Next' begins with my inviting my guests to close their eyes and to walk us through what they imagine 2030 could be like if it were the result of our having done everything we could possibly have done. What would it feel like, taste like, sound like? It is often the most powerful and beautiful part of the podcast.
And so, our producer Ben Addicott has painstakingly pieced together the best bits of those visions, and together with Tamsin Cornish, written beautiful music to accompany them. When all pieced together, this podcast offers you a deep and rich immersion in a future that is still possible to us, just. It's not Utopia, but it is a walk through the possible. As the poet Rilke once wrote, "the future must enter into you a long time before it happens". This podcast allows it to do so in the most beautiful way.
If there was ever a time in history when clear, abundant and positive visions of the future were vitally needed, this is that time. I so hope you love this, and that the time Ben and Tamsin put into lovingly crafting has produced something you will cherish and love.
Episode Thirteen: What if governments factored future generations into law and policy?
And so we reach our thirteenth episode. Wow. Thank you so much for being with us on this journey so far. We have an amazing episode for you today. We live in a world where so much political decision-making seems to be based on short-term thinking, the next opinion poll, next quarter, next election, yet so many of the problems we face are the result of our failing to think in the long term. We use the future as a place to dump the problems we can't resolve, to dump our pollution, carbon emissions, the thorny issues we'd rather avoid. Indigenous cultures and wiser civilisations of the past planned and thought with future generations in mind, so why can't we? And how different would the world be if we did?
I am joined for this episode by Roman Krznaric, author of the recent book 'The Good Ancestor: How to Think Long Term in a Short Term World' and one of Britain’s leading popular philosophers, and also by Jane Davidson, author of '#futuregen: Lessons from a Small Country', Pro Vice-Chancellor Emeritus at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and former Minister for Environment and Sustainability in Wales where she proposed legislation to make sustainability the central organising principle of government - the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act.
Our deep and far reaching conversation will hopefully give you a rich and delicious taste of how different the future would be if we lived in a world in which governments, organisations and indeed all of us, factored future generations into all of our decision making. Prepare your imagination for a good workout. As always, do let me know what you think....
Episode Twelve: What if criminal justice resources were instead invested into communities of colour?
You are in for such a treat today. It is my honour and privilege to share with you our twelfth episode of 'From What If to What Next'. In the US, as elsewhere, vast amounts of money are poured into mass incarceration and brutal and violent policing. What if instead that money was invested into the communities that bear the burnt of this approach to criminal justice, into healthcare, wellbeing, opportunity, safety? It's a huge question, and such a rich What If question. Luckily we are joined in this podcast by two amazing guests to explore it.
Andrea J. Ritchie is a Black lesbian immigrant police misconduct attorney and organizer whose writing, litigation, and advocacy has focused on policing and criminalization of women and LGBT people of color for the past two decades. She is currently Researcher in Residence on Race, Gender, Sexuality and Criminalization at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, where she recently launched the Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action initiative.
Zach Norris is the Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, author of We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities, and co-founder of Restore Oakland, a community advocacy and training center that will empower Bay Area community members to transform local economic and justice systems and make a safe and secure future possible for themselves and for their families.
These are tough times in the US. I was touched by both Andrea and Zach telling me how much they had been looking forward to recording this episode, how they had been looking forward to stepping out of the grave and knife-edge moment the US is living through and into some space to imagine how it could be. As Andrea puts it in this podcast, "our dreams are what will save us in this moment".
I hope listening to this podcast moves you as much as it did to record it. My thanks for your support for this podcast, my thanks to Zach and Andrea, and to Ben Addicott for theme music and production. I would love to hear what you think of this episode. Do share your thoughts below. Thank you.
Episode Eleven: What if we had the skills and abilities to talk to decision makers?
Welcome to Episode 11 of From What If to What Next. So many of those who listen to this podcast are trying, in one way or another, to bring about change in the world. Whether it is the more confrontational activism demonstrated by groups like Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter, or grassroots organising and working to build the alternative, we are all trying to understand how to be the most effective activists we can possibly be.
Which leads us to this episode’s question, one that feels increasingly timely, one sent in by subscriber Elke Himmelmann. “What if we had the skills and abilities to talk to decision makers and convince them to act differently?”. What would those skills be, and how might we become adept at using them? We are joined by two amazing guests to explore this.
Scilla Elworthy is a three times Nobel Peace Prize nominee for her work with Oxford Research Group to develop effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers worldwide and their critics. Her most recent book is The Mighty Heart: how to transform conflict (2020 ). Robert Philips founded Jericho in 2013 after a 25-year career at the top of the global communications industry. He leads its work on Responsible Tax, Good Work, Social Justice in Tech, Housing, Energy and Infrastructure. He is the chair of #JerichoConversations.
As ever, my thanks to you for subscribing and for listening, and my thanks also to my guests and to Ben Addicott for production and theme music. Do let me know what you thought of this episode below.