Social change is often decades in the making, acquired through the gradual and sustained efforts of dedicated advocates. At other times, change sweeps irresistibly across whole systems, transforming practices and policies in a matter of days.
External shocks and crises can pave the way to lasting change, by exposing flaws in the status quo, invoking new patterns of behaviour and necessitating previously unimaginable choices. Yet, our desire for change is often tempered by the understandable need to cling to normal behaviours and processes in times of upheaval. As we live through the Covid19 crisis, it is important to reflect on how social change happens, so that we can resist this impulse and make good on our desire to ‘build back better’.
In this interactive workshop, we will investigate how short-term upheaval can be converted to long-term progress, how social movements can play a unique role in challenging the status quo, and how nuts-and-bolts pragmatism can be combined with visionary idealism to build bridges towards a better future.