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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 st…
 
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 spac…
 
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 Fashi…
 
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 th…
 
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 wou…
 
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 s…
 
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. And usually they are released, initially at least, just to you as a subscriber. But t…
 
The decline of insect populations around the world has been nothing short of terrifying. Last year I visited a school in an intensive wine-producing region in France, and suggested to the kids that they might build an insect hotel, only to be told by the head teacher "we don't have any insects here". It has stayed with me ever since. So in today's …
 
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. Toda…
 
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 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…
 
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