New Shared Narratives

Co-creating Trauma-FREE Future 

Whatever our hopes and fears were at the start of the new decade, few people predicted the devastating impact of the current global pandemic and the underlying economic crisis. The effect, as is often the case with crises of this scale, is felt most acutely within communities. Only with this current crisis, the effects feel somehow more visceral, more vivid and more intense. Well before the 2020 pandemic there had been a movement of new, super agile “learning” organisations (e.g. #ICAN, #TheoryU, #WOL) and new trust-based relationships between communities, corporations and public service provision. Consider the following examples of forward-thinking social actions based on the evolving web of trust

“Education is not the filling of a pot but more the lighting of a fire”

– W.B. Yeats

Communities are self-organising on an unprecedented scale. As individuals, we’re becoming more productive or creative in the face of this threat, and in the context of a collective response, there is no hierarchy of endeavour. So hierarchical organisations hoping to participate in this new economics quite simply have to change. They must re-engineer mid-flight to become more agile and more focused on the things the people they serve are concerned about, which means being more human. The spaces where these different perspectives converge are the silver lining to the Covid-19 cloud, the 21st-century villages in a new era of learning

“We’re in uncharted waters.”

In terms of systemic solutions to social trauma, it makes sense for new narratives to emerge to bring together that which was once thought impossible, redundant or simply unnecessary. Why shouldn’t a housing association be primarily concerned with the health and education of its tenants? Or the postman knock on the door of an elderly person who lives alone to see that they’re safe and well while handing over the post? Sounds reasonable in this day and age, right? Now, what if the postman or the staff from the housing association were also trauma-informed? Trained and skilled at recognising the signs and behaviours of a traumatised person. How much of an impact could that have on society’s ability to look after its vulnerable and suffering? 

This is what it means not only to embrace and co-create the new 21st-century narrative but to bring it into being by accepting it as the “new normal”.  Now many retailers are operating a policy whereby the first hour or two after their doors open each morning are reserved for elderly and frail shoppers, why would that need to stop after the current social distancing measures are lifted? Why not plough ahead and ensure the staff on hand are also trauma-informed? We begin to believe the world cannot afford to go back to the way it was before this crisis. Empathy is a genie that cannot be put back inside the bottle and this particular genie is not here to grant us 3 wishes. He is putting an arm on our shoulder and saying, “if you’re not OK then neither am I.


More to explore

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