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‎Rob Hopkins

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Every month we take a deeper look at 3 stories of what Transition initiatives are up to around the world. Continue Reading >>
Every month we take a deeper look at 3 stories of what Transition initiatives are up to around the world. << Show Less
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Introducing 'Field Recordings from the Future' Here is a short piece to introduce a new project I'm doing with the amazing Mr Kit: https://kitmusic.bandcamp.com/ Watch this space!
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Introducing 'Field Recordings from the Future' Here is a short piece to introduce a new project I'm doing with the amazing Mr Kit: https://kitmusic.bandcamp.com/ Watch this space!
From What If to What Next: Episode 42 The IPCC report that came out in mid-2021 said “unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5 degrees, or even 2 degrees, will be beyond reach”. “Immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions”. Let’s imagine we were able to actually do that in the time available to us.

It would mean the complete reimagining of food, travel, housing, the economy. A retooled education system. A new sense of shared and collective purpose. It would feel like living through a revolution of the imagination. But what would it actually feel like to live through a revolution of the imagination? It's a question that leads us to our question for today’s episode – what if we are standing on the cusp of an Imagination Age? It was a question inspired by this article I read that one of our guests had written about the second guest.

Gabriel A. Silva, who wrote it, is a Professor in the Department of Bioengineering in the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Department of Neurosciences in the School of Medicine at the University of California San Diego. He holds a Jacobs Family Scholar in Engineering Endowed Chair, is the Founding Director of the Center for Engineered Natural Intelligence, and Associate Director of the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind. In addition to his academic work, he is a regular contributor to Medium and Forbes.

And Rita J. King, who it's about, believes in Applied Imagination for creative, pragmatic problem solving in the Imagination Age. King is EVP for Business Development at Science House, a strategic consultancy in Manhattan. She is a writer, researcher, speaker, designer and artist. As a Futurist at the National Academy of Sciences Science and Entertainment Exchange, she invents novel technologies, characters and stories for film and TV projects. She is a Resident Research Fellow at the Center for Engineered Natural Intelligence at UC San Diego.

I hope you love this conversation and where it goes and, as always, do let us know what you think! Thanks.
From What If to What Next: Episode 40 I'm not going to say much about this episode, other than that it's incredible. We are exploring Afrofuturism, which has been variously described as “speculative fiction from the African diaspora”, “a way of imagining possible futures through a black cultural lens” and “an intersection of imagination, technology, the future and liberation”. It has so much to teach us about imagination and how to keep What If questions alive over time. You will also hear the story of the Zambian Space Programme (a new one on me) which is just amazing.

My guests are both amazing. Dr. Priscilla Layne is Associate Professor of German and Adjunct Associate Professor of African Diaspora Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her book, White Rebels in Black: German Appropriation of Black Popular Culture, was published in 2018 by the University of Michigan Press. She has also published essays on Turkish German culture, translation, punk and film. She recently translated Olivia Wenzel's debut novel, 1000 Serpentinen Angst, which will be out next year. And she is currently finishing a manuscript on Afro German Afrofuturism.

Dr. Dennis Chester is Professor of African American Literature at California State University East Bay (CSUEB) in Hayward CA. His interests include all manner of topics related to African American literature and culture with specialties in the Harlem Renaissance and in contemporary genre studies. Dr. Chester's recent activities include published articles on African American crime fiction and presentations on Afrofuturism and the characteristics of Black speculative fiction. A recent Fulbright fellow, Dr. Chester is also very interested in the diasporic aspects of contemporary Black writing and exploring the ways that Black literature and Black people move within and across national borders.

I hope you love this, and do let me know what you think. And thanks, as ever, to Ben Addicott for making it all sound so great.
From What If to What Next: Episode 43 Although not planned as some kind of 'Christmas Special', that's kind of what this episode is, so hopefully it will give you the opportunity to treat your imagination to something very special over the festive season. This episode will introduce you to Flora Collingwood-Norris and to Orsola de Castro, cofounder and Global Creative Director of Fashion Revolution. Flora's book is 'Visible Creative Mending for Knitwear', and Orsola's book is 'Loved Clothes last: How the Joy of Rewearing and Repairing Your Clothes Can Be a Revolutionary Act'. I hope this episode inspires much stitching and loving repairing.
From What If to What Next: Episode 45 Here's Episode 45 for you, I hope you're going to love it. Meet Tim Gill and Alice Ferguson of Playing Out, brilliant guests for a vital discussion. Today we're talking about kids, and play and about the places where we live. Kids have almost entirely vanished from our streets. Retreating indoors in the face of the car’s domination of our city spaces, and a perception of the lack of safety, kids are all too often starved of play. ‘No ball games here’ signs. Horrible noises only audible to teenagers to chase them away from sitting near certain buildings, The privatisation of public space. Cities are increasingly being designed around the needs of adults and capital rather than kids. So what might we do about it? Some beautiful visions of the future from our Time Machine adventure this week. I hope you love it. Do let me know what you think.....
From What If to What Next: Episode 44 Welcome to 2022. We start this year with a fantastic episode and a really important question. What if we were to implement every solution that we already know exists in order to tackle the climate crisis the sense of urgency that an emergency should inspire? After the damp squib of COP26, it's a vitally important question. Can we do it? Is there still time? And most importantly, what would it feel like to live in a time when that was actually happening, when all around us, all hands were applied to this most momentous of tasks? It's not a question we ask often enough.

And it is a big question. Joining me for the first episode of this year are Clover Hogan and Paul Hawken, both brilliant thinkers on this question. Paul's book. 'Regeneration', which we refer to throughout the podcast, can be bought here (never Amazon). Do let me know what you think of this episode, of thoughts for future What If questions it raises for you, or anything else it inspires in you. And Happy New Year!
From What If to What Next: Episode 41 Welcome to Episode 41 of 'From What If to What Next'. Powerful psychology is used to convince us, often subliminally, that we want and need things we previously never knew even existed. This is especially dangerous at a time when we need to urgently cut consumption of high carbon-generating products and lifestyle choices. It is estimated that in the UK companies spend over £23bn a year on advertising.

Research shows that the more advertising we are exposed to, the more unhappy we feel, the more materialistic, the less we engage in positive social activities and the less we care about the environment. Advertising, in other words, is incompatible with the decarbonisation we so urgently need.

There is a very real, and dangerous, link between living in cities overrun with cars and the fact that we are surrounded by billboards and newspaper stuffed with seductive car ads. What if instead those spaces presented us with different messages, messages celebrating more inclusive cities with far less cars, cities with clean air, cities rich with biodiversity - messages that told different stories? Our What If question for today then is … “What if we reclaimed our public spaces from advertising?”

My two guests on this episode bring a huge amount to this conversations. Rosa ter Kuile is Campaigns and Communications manager at Rising Arts Agency. and is part of the Bristol Womxns Mural Collective. Robbie Gillett works part-time from Bristol on Possible’s Badvertising campaign (you can find some of their excellent publications here) and at Adfree Cities. More about their work at these links.

I hope this episode will help you to see the spaces around you differently, to reimagine what your corner of the world would look like without adverts, and how that might impact your imagination. As always, do let me know what you think. And thanks to Ben Addicott for making it all sound so great.
From What If to What Next: Episode Thirty Eight Everywhere, where you live included, has a patchwork of organisations of different sizes who are doing business and making things happen in a way that is not solely about the generation of profit, but about serving a larger social purpose. They might be called social enterprises, or socially-trading organisations, or all sorts of other things.

Today’s episode asks what if they got together and designed how better they might join up and work in a more connected way? What if they offered peer to peer support between each other? What if the Mayor of the city got behind this new network, and saw it as an opportunity to invest and support the emergence of a new economy? What if that investment was then, as each enterprise found its feet and generated surpluses, reinvested back on a pay-it-forward basis to help other emerging enterprises? And what if this skilful support for a new economy spread and spread and became the default model for how to regenerate the economies of towns and cities across the land?

Sounds good doesn’t it? Well stand by. You’re about to hear a story of how this is actually happening, one you won’t have read about in the papers or seen on TV, but it’s very much a reality. I am joined by two amazing guests who have played an active role in making this happen.

Danielle Cohen joined Power to Change, the independent trust that supports community businesses in England, in 2018. She works in cities and regions to enable the community business sector to flourish as part of the local economy. Her work has included partnering on the development of Kindred, a social investment vehicle owned and led by the social economy in Liverpool City Region, backed by the city region’s Combined Authority and Power to Change. Before joining Power to Change, Danielle worked in urban regeneration, community engagement and corporate responsibility, including as deputy CEO of a central London BID. She believes passionately in building a regenerative economy which nurtures people and planet.

Erika Rushton has 35 years of experience in supporting and investing in communities and creative enterprises to create, grow, occupy and reinvent their own economies. She has worked with homes, workplaces, towns, whole cities, industry sectors and communities of interest at a regional, national and international level.

She is the Director of Creative Economist whose current contracts include Islington Mill Arts Club to deliver The Other City – an Artist led £7 million redevelopment of heritage and modern buildings accommodating 150+ creative enterprises; Women In Space a network of 25+ creative women from across the UK who have taken over unwanted land and buildings, creating value and giving places new purpose; and Kindred, which you’ll hear more about shortly. She mentors creative women leaders nationally and internationally; lectures internationally; and works voluntarily to address intersectional gender discrimination in the UK.
From What If to What Next: Episode Thirty Eight Everywhere, where you live included, has a patchwork of organisations of different sizes who are doing business and making things happen in a way that is not solely about the generation of profit, but about serving a larger social purpose. They might be called social enterprises, or socially-trading organisations, or all sorts of other things.

Today’s episode asks what if they got together and designed how better they might join up and work in a more connected way? What if they offered peer to peer support between each other? What if the Mayor of the city got behind this new network, and saw it as an opportunity to invest and support the emergence of a new economy? What if that investment was then, as each enterprise found its feet and generated surpluses, reinvested back on a pay-it-forward basis to help other emerging enterprises? And what if this skilful support for a new economy spread and spread and became the default model for how to regenerate the economies of towns and cities across the land?

Sounds good doesn’t it? Well stand by. You’re about to hear a story of how this is actually happening, one you won’t have read about in the papers or seen on TV, but it’s very much a reality. I am joined by two amazing guests who have played an active role in making this happen.

Danielle Cohen joined Power to Change, the independent trust that supports community businesses in England, in 2018. She works in cities and regions to enable the community business sector to flourish as part of the local economy. Her work has included partnering on the development of Kindred, a social investment vehicle owned and led by the social economy in Liverpool City Region, backed by the city region’s Combined Authority and Power to Change. Before joining Power to Change, Danielle worked in urban regeneration, community engagement and corporate responsibility, including as deputy CEO of a central London BID. She believes passionately in building a regenerative economy which nurtures people and planet.

Erika Rushton has 35 years of experience in supporting and investing in communities and creative enterprises to create, grow, occupy and reinvent their own economies. She has worked with homes, workplaces, towns, whole cities, industry sectors and communities of interest at a regional, national and international level.

She is the Director of Creative Economist whose current contracts include Islington Mill Arts Club to deliver The Other City – an Artist led £7 million redevelopment of heritage and modern buildings accommodating 150+ creative enterprises; Women In Space a network of 25+ creative women from across the UK who have taken over unwanted land and buildings, creating value and giving places new purpose; and Kindred, which you’ll hear more about shortly. She mentors creative women leaders nationally and internationally; lectures internationally; and works voluntarily to address intersectional gender discrimination in the UK.
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