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Oh wow, you're in for a treat. Today we bring together Anthea Lawson, author of the fabulous new book 'The Entangled Activist' and Alastair McIntosh, author of 'Soul and Soil' and 'Riders on the Storm'. I usually try to constrain the conversations we have here to around 45 minutes, but this one was so fascinating that we just kept rolling, and just…
 
Today’s episode of From What If to What Next is about care. Care has been very much on our minds of recent. COVID has highlighted how vitally important care is and yet how undervalued it is. It is so often seen as being the domain of women, and around the world it is often either underpaid, or unpaid work. As the populations of the Global North liv…
 
You are in for such a treat. This is one of the most thought-provoking and inspiring episodes of this podcast yet. It was my huge honour to be joined by Yumna Hussen and Lottie Cooke to discuss what a reimagined education system would be like. Honestly, spending an hour in the company of these two remarkable young people, so articulate and well inf…
 
Here is the perfect accompaniment to the long summer days. Or the deluge. Or perhaps a bit of both. Today we are talking about travel. As many cities begin to actively take steps away from the dominance of cars, we are asking what might it be like if that had already happened? What might it be like to live in a city in which more travel now takes p…
 
Here are some people I spoke to on my third day at COP26 in Glasgow. The voices you'll hear here at Dorothy Grace Guerrero, Head of Policy at Global Justice Now, Nick Dearden, Director at Global Justice Now, Rupert Read, former XR spokesperson, Heidi Chow, Executive Director at Jubilee Debt Campaign, and Asad Rehman, Director at War on Want.…
 
Here are a few conversations I had with people while in Glasgow on my first day in the city for COP26. Here I talk to Bill McKibben, to community supported organiser Jacob Johns, to Anthony Diaz of the Newark Water Coalition and to Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch. Enjoy. I ask all of them two questions, what could a successf…
 
Usually our podcasts aren’t that topical, you can hopefully listen to them at any time and they are still relevant. Today’s is not like that. It is being released just 6 days before the beginning of COP26, the vitally important climate summit happening in Glasgow. The world’s governments will be coming together for 2 weeks to, hopefully, reach some…
 
This episode is one of my favourites so far. This week we are exploring the black imagination, with two amazing guests. A little more about your guests: Natasha Marin is an antiracism consultant based in Seattle, specializing in communications, community building, and digital engagement. She is the curator of Black Imagination: Black Voices on Blac…
 
This is such an incredible episode. One of those ones I had to go off and sit under a tree afterwards to absorb. Today we talk about gender. I grew up in a society that thought in terms of two genders, you were male or you were female. This was accompanied by expectations that men behaved in ways that were ‘masculine’, and women in ways seen as bei…
 
Episode Thirty. Wow. Whoever thought we'd get this far? Thank you so much for your support in making that possible. We have a delicious episode to mark this moment. We are joined today by Farzana Khan and by Looby Macnamara to explore 'What if the revolution was well facilitated?' It's a beautiful exploration of why good facilitation is such an imp…
 
If you had a Time Machine, which year would you set the dial to? This episode is about time travel. More specifically, it is about using imaginary time travel, or futurism, or deep dreaming, or whatever you want to call it, in our activism. Why is it so powerful to invite people to imagine the future? What does it do to us to step into an imaginary…
 
The time for imagining that change happens in small, incremental steps is now way behind us. As Naomi Klein says, "there are no non-radical solutions left". Today we are thinking big. Really big. With big thinkers. While some of our episodes focus on what if questions that are quite specific and focused, in this episode, Episode Twenty-Eight, we ar…
 
This new episode, one of my favourite so far, comes with a challenge. Can you listen to it and not reimagine your own relationship with flying or, as one of our guests puts it, being "twanged around in an aluminium sausage"?I stopped flying in 2006. I travel to the far reaches of Europe on the train, travelling to Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Italy, M…
 
These days of COVID have shown us that extraordinary profound reimagining of many aspects of society are entirely possible. Might this be the time to forever do away with the idea that the only way to measure our progress, cultural, social, spiritual, economic, is purely by how much bigger our economy is than it was last year? It’s a weird metric… …
 
Let’s imagine, and this takes quite a leap in Britain in 2021 I’ll grant you, but stay with me, that we had a government who recognised that we are living through a time of imaginative contraction alongside a climate and ecological emergency, a social justice emergency and so much more. Let’s imagine that they were able to recognise this as the cri…
 
In which, with the help of specially-composed music by Ben Addicott and Rosie Issitt, we take a step into the 2030 that could result from our doing everything we could possibly do. Join Kwame Boateng, Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, Brian Eno, Scilla Elworthy, Robert Philips, Zach Norris, Andrea J. Ritchie Roman Krznaric, Jane Davidson, Hilary Powell, Dan …
 
When was the last time you read a book cover to cover? And if you are still able to do this, do you feel you read in the same way you did, say, 20 years ago? How is the decline in our collective attention span affecting our ability to read and, by extension, our collective capacity for knowledge, wisdom and art? What do we lose when we lose our abi…
 
Welcome to Episode 23 of our journey together into the imagination and into the powers of What If. Today we are looking at street art. Street art has stood alongside the fight for climate justice, the Black Lives Matter revolution, and pretty much every mass uprising for change through history. But is it just decoration? Or does it have the power t…
 
Welcome to Episode 22 of 'From What If to What Next'. This week we are exploring failure. More precisely, what if we were able to create a culture in which failure is embraced, celebrated even, rather than feared, avoided or ridiculed? What would society look like if we embraced failure in politics, education, economics and everyday life, indeed if…
 
Welcome to Episode 20 of From What If to What Next. This feels like a bit of a landmark for us, our twentieth episode! Thank you for joining me on this journey. Do tell your friends to come join us... Any reflections on how you're finding the journey so far are most welcome. Seems like a good moment for that. The good news is that we have saved one…
 
It was recently announced that Chuck Feeney, the Irish American former airport duty free shopping entrepreneur who was worth $8bn, had, at the age of 89, succeeded in his goal of giving away all of his money to initiatives working to make the world a better place. Every cent. He suggested that to give away a huge fortune was far more fun than holdi…
 
By now, in this journey into 'From What If to What Next', it is clear that one of the key things in our world in 2021 that needs reimagining is our education system. In this episode, we explore how it might be if at the heart of that reimagining were permaculture principles. How would the underpinning of the National Curriculum with permaculture pr…
 
Welcome to our first episode of 2021! We are planning an amazing series of podcasts for this year, and love that you are part of this exploration. In today's episode we bring together Josina Calliste, a health professional and community organiser who is one of the co-founders of Land in Our Names (LION), a black-led collective addressing land inequ…
 
Of all the 17 episodes of this podcast so far, this is the one that I had to go off somewhere quiet afterwards for a while to digest. It is a very powerful and fascinating discussion. My two guests are extraordinary, and I feel so blessed that they could make the time to join me in this wonderful What If exploration. Sherri Mitchell (Weh’na Ha’mu’ …
 
In Episode 16 of 'From What If to What Next' we explore the question of play. Play is a devalued aspect of both childhood and adulthood which has been declining now for decades, and its decline has had many knock-on effects across society. What would it be like if we decided to give it a huge boost, to create the ideal conditions for a re-emergence…
 
During the first Coronavirus lockdown in the UK, a strange phenomenon was seen in towns and cities across the country. As councils became unable, or unwilling, to maintain their usual programmes of spraying weeds and cutting grass, pavements began to feature what had previously been dismissed as 'weeds'. In response, and using a hashtag #MoreThanWe…
 
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 Pow…
 
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 podca…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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,…
 
The uprising of Black Lives Matter and other organisations have led to many calls for the decolonisation of education at every level. But what does it mean to decolonise education? As Boris Johnson dismisses such calls as a "national orgy of self-embarrassment", does decolonising education mean simply changing the curriculum, or does it go much, mu…
 
Our question this time was slightly adapted from one sent in by subscriber Pamela Barnes. As the world attempts to claw its way back from the COVID19 pandemic, and as opinion polls show an overwhelming support for not ‘going back’ to how things were before, people are increasingly discussing and exploring new models for an economy that better needs…
 
In this episode we are exploring a question sent in by subscriber Joy Cherkaoui. One of the things a future in which imagination is able to flourish will need is spaces in which imagination and creativity are invited. Intentionally. These can take many forms, but we need them. What then are the ingredients of such spaces? What makes a good one? Who…
 
Doughnut Economics is rapidly moving from the fringe to the mainstream. Amsterdam in Holland was recently confirmed as the first ‘Doughnut City’, using the model to underpin its economic development strategy. Many other cities are also moving towards adopting this powerful and fascinating tool for reimagining cities and their economies. Our questio…
 
Allow me to present one of my very favourite episodes of ‘From What If to What Next’ thus far. The question we explore is ‘What if imagination were a universal right?’ It emerges from the argument in ‘From What Is to What If’ that imagination is, to a degree, a function of privilege, and that we need to create the conditions for everyone to be able…
 
This fifth episode of 'From What If to What Next' has the longest title of any of our shows thus far! It was sent in by subscriber Chris Wells. As we start, hopefully, to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately affected older people, many people have experienced an end to their lives that was lonely and traumatic. How differ…
 
In our fourth episode, we bring together two of the UK's most pioneering doctors to explore what a very different future for healthcare could be like. What would it be like if doctors' surgeries were key players in the wider Transition of the community, actively stimulating a reimagining of food, energy, community and much more? In this episode we …
 
FWIWN3.mp3In this third episode of 'From What If to What Next', we're talking about food. Taking a question from Patreon subscriber Tony Buck, we are asking "What If towns and cities set out to intentionally relocalise their food production?" How would it work? Where would you start? How would you involve the local government? How would you ensure …
 
In this second episode of 'From What If to What Next', we're talking about Universal Basic Income with Alexis Frasz, researcher and cultural strategist with Helicon Collaborative, and Phil Teer, author of 'The Coming Age of Imagination'. What would it be like to live in a world in which UBI was now an integral part of everyday life? How would life,…
 
Welcome to this, the first ever episode of 'From What If to What Next'. In this first episode, we meet singer, curator, event creator and lover of birdsong Sam Lee, speaking to us direct from a birdsong-filled forest, and Mya-Rose Craig, also known as 'Birdgirl', who is doing amazing work promoting birdwatching among young people and promoting BME …
 
Here is a taster of Episode One of 'From What If to What Next', my new podcast series. You can unlock this full episode, as well the exclusive 'Ministry of Imagination' podcast, and other exclusives, by subscribing at www.patreon.com/fromwhatiftowhatnext. This first episode speaks to Sam Lee and Mya-Rose Craig, and is deeply lovely.…
 
On Sunday 20th October, at Battersea Arts Centre, following an incredible day of 'Pop Up Tomorrow', I launched 'From What Is to What If'. Here is the audio of the evening, which also features appearances by improv expert Jeremy Finch and Ruth Sapsed of Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination. I hope it gives you an inspiring taste of the evening.…
 
One of the very best books I read while researching 'From What Is to What If' was 'Free to Learn' by Peter Gray. Peter is an evolutionary psychologist who taught for 30 years at Boston College as a Professor. He is now retired from teaching but still does research on children’s learning and children’s development. 'Free to Learn' became the most-un…
 
One of the perks of running this website and of writing 'From What Is to What If' has been the opportunity to speak to some of the people who have had the biggest impact on my own imagination. Today's interviewee, John Crowley, is one of those people. I first read his novel 'Little, Big' sometime in the mid-1980s, and it blew me away. About a year …
 
One of the finest books I’ve read recently was ‘Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter’ by Ben Goldfarb. Ben is an American environmental journalist who has taken great interest in this remarkable creature and its ability to, as he put it when we spoke, “help tackle many of our ecological problems if we just get out of th…
 
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