Make it Better Table: April ’20
Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors…disconnected from each other. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it.
(Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking)
Just when we had made it through a disturbing summer…we are faced with an autumn that has been disorientating on both an internal and external level. TS Eliot once called April ‘the cruellest month’, and many will resonate with that – jobs and businesses under threat or gone, social connections on remote, and the fragility of our health suddenly exposed. ‘Interior living’ has hit home. Our tables are empty.
Despite the risk of people being over-Zoomed, we put April’s Make it Better Table on a digital platform – something that we thought we’d never do. Circumstances demanded it, however, and we were pleased that over 20 people ‘gathered’ on-line to discuss these questions: How has COVID-19 changed you? What have you learned about yourself? What emotional responses have surprised you?
Given the diverse personalities of the MiBT attendees, we’re not surprised at the range of responses:
We definitely needed to slow down. Running at the pace we were was unhealthy.
COVID-19 hasn’t broken society, but has shown us the elements already broken.
We don’t want to revert to ‘normal’ – what opportunities are before us to create something new?
Some are feeling energised, some are feeling overwhelmed, and some others are feeling guilty.
It’s great that some of society’s flaws are being addressed – it’s a shame it happened in this context.
It was important to gather and still have these creative conversations.
Many of us will resonate with some of these feelings, with more to add.
Given the shifts we’re all experiencing, we have introduced more opportunities for your involvement. We’re asking you to reflect on the questions asked at the MiBT and, if you feel inspired, to send us some copy for the blog on the makeitbetter.org.au website. Just send it through to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put it on the site.
There is also a MiBT Linked In group that you can join, and feel free to use that to float ideas, resources or conferences that you think would benefit others. This gives people an outlet to spruik resources or even products that may feel out of place at our relational MiBT experiences.
Paul Steele floated the idea for a Design Lab focused on the post-pandemic world when we can gather in the same place (remember that?). The aim of this Lab is to not merely be a place of collaboration or coordination, but to be a communication hub that allows us to work together beyond a consensus approach. We’re hoping that this will be an invigorating resource that will encourage different sectors to experiment, cross connect and prototype together. More information will be coming soon to our Linked In group.
These are challenging times – but they also present opportunities. Let’s take up Col Duthie’s encouragement to do the thing that we needed to do, rather than looking back and regretting that we didn’t do it.
Go well and go gently with yourselves,
On behalf of the MiBT Team.