07/10/20: GOSSIP Interdisciplinary session on post-Covid landscapes

Friday 2 October 2020

The idea of this session is to explore and create visions for alternative futures, ones that encompass the “build back better” ideal.  What changes are we seeing already, in terms of environmental, social or social-ecological shifts, in our Covid-infused landscapes?  What changes would you ideally like to see once lockdown eases (eventually)?  What changes do you think are actually possible, given some of the promises that have already been broken?  However challenging, to devastating, this pandemic has been for people, perhaps a silver lining lies in the opportunity it has created for change.  What role can/do our imaginations of the future play in shaping it?  The goal of this session is to provide an open forum in which people can share and interrogate visions of the future.  And at the end, perhaps we might have some shared visions that we can work towards, as a school, a university or a society, or even just at a personal level for anyone with aspirations to share.  

Alongside this discussion, an underlying intention of the session is to encourage cross-disciplinary communication and interdisciplinary discussion.  Though GOSSIP was primarily set up by and for the human geography community of the School, a few physical geographers have been gate-crashing the Zoom meetings since Lockdown Strike I.  Thank you for inviting and welcoming us, and for some fascinating talks and discussions.  A few of us have admitted, however, to finding some of the discussions tricky to engage with due to our limited understanding of the language and theories of human geography.  Therefore, to experiment with promoting interdisciplinarity, starting with communication, it would be great if everyone attempts to: (i) explain any concepts they think might be particular to their discipline/could be explained in lay person terms to the group; and (ii) ask a question/flag up in the chat whenever there is a concept that they don’t understand.  ‘Silly’ questions don’t exist!  And if this flops, we can learn from the experiment!