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Towards a better public conversation | New Public Thinking

Two Stories of Uncivilization

  |  August 30, 2011

These two pieces were originally delivered on August 20th, during the opening lecture on “Collapsonomics” at the 2011 Uncivilization Festival, in Hampshire, UK, an event about the stories we tell ourselves in the face of a difficult future. Rust in the Scabbard Dear brothers and sisters, Dear enemies and friends, Your future ended ten years [...]

Keep calm, clean up – but don’t let things get “back to normal”

  |  August 12, 2011

As the English weather promises an unusually welcome dampness for the days ahead, surely we can all hope that things are calming down. Let us not say “getting back to normal”, though, because “normal” meant ignoring the social and cultural collapse out of which this week’s troubles erupted. The desire to make things better which [...]

3D Crash

  |  August 3, 2011

This Summer, Hollywood takes the easy way out… A few months ago I sat in the pub opposite the British Museum where Karl Marx retreated after writing sessions. I was in the company of some friends from journalism and the anarchist squat scene in London. This was in early March, in the midst of protests [...]

A Prayer to the God of Unsettled Times

  |  July 24, 2011

For the sociologist Ann Swidler, an ‘unsettled time’ is characterized by the transition from workable habits to new ideas. ‘I have come to see improvisation as the deep skill and attitude which we need for the times that  we’re already in and heading further into.’ –Dougald Hine, ‘Remember the Future,’ Dark Mountain Project: Issue 2. ‘We [...]

‘It’s wrong to wish on space hardware’: The power and failure of Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth mythos

  |  July 12, 2011

One aim of New Public Thinking is to create a space in which we can do our thinking in public, sharing work in progress, rather than waiting until there’s a polished artefact to present and defend. It is in that spirit that I want to share the following: a recording of the improvised talk I [...]

The bail row — a loophole to be closed, or an abuse about to be sanctioned?

  |  July 6, 2011

From the reporting of the recent High Court ruling on the detention of suspects, you would think we were at risk of chaos on the streets as criminals walk free. Home Secretary Theresa May is to bring in emergency legislation to “close the loophole” which would prevent the police repeatedly arresting and questioning a suspect [...]

Who are we?

  |  July 5, 2011

This is not the first post I’d want to write for a venue like this; far from it.  I’ve got a list of other things to write — a piece about designer currencies, another about larp as form of embodied thought.  I’m also not particularly happy that I’m the one to write this, and yet someone must.  [...]

Naming the Movement

  |  June 23, 2011

I just had an article posted on Open Democracy called Naming the Movement. It’s a kind of manifesto/provocation/thinking piece that attempts to articulate my feeling that ‘something’ very important is in the process of being born. It ties in closely with – and was partially inspired by – New Public Thinking and the people involved [...]

New Public Bios

  |  May 26, 2011

Here’s my near-daily experience: I read an article I like, I search for the author to learn more about her, I read her five-sentence bio, and I’m resoundingly disappointed. Evidently, she was once a great hunter and now she sits on a throne. Are all public bios, those one to two paragraph haikus, true but [...]

How to ask the race question

  |  May 18, 2011

Through my day job at Sustainable Seattle, I’ve become heavily involved in a project to gather data about happiness with which we hope to inform public policy and get individuals thinking about what really matters in their lives. Our main instrument to do this is a survey that we’re trying to get everybody to take and more [...]