Confinement Day 15 :: My Work

OK this is hard. I can dig deep and I can seek inspiration and I can enjoy all those precious moments with little one. BUT. But. but. Knowing that schools may not start until September, and even then there is the prospect of further closures over winter cold and flu season. AND. And. and. Knowing the rough set of emotional and material needs in the family (including my own). AND. And. and. Knowing that if any of us get ill, the set of needs on the cards will ramp up exponentially. ERGO. Therefore. ergo. This is hard. NOT EVEN TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the wider social picture. The doctors and nurses without sufficient PPE. The communities without doctors at all. The people living in loneliness, in hunger and/or in fear of an abuser. The challenge of ‘walking through the portal of Covid19 ready to imagine a better world and fight for it‘. ERGO. Bloody. ergo. Gotta prioritise and put in some space and structure. Gotta get to work.

#Breathe. And literally put words infront of each other as stepping stones to walk out of the hardness. One word, one step, at a time. Gotta get with the plan. OK… so… the plan is to work while little one still sleeps. This work, MY work, is where I get to combine everything into something synthesised, something managaeable, something shareable, something I can inhabit, a little bit of space away from the daily chores. With even that little bit of perspective, I can try and articulate my life in relation to other people’s lives and all the events we are living. Get some agency. The personal is political yada yada yada. But it’s true. And the best thing I saw these last days was this brilliant teach-in with so many strengthening words and lived experiences.

And all of that is too big as well. So got to distill it down further. And that’s where I get to the nuts and bolts of my work. From one angle it looks like a PhD, from another angle it’s a grassrootsy project inspired by co-creative and co-analytical practices. For the sake of brevity, I’ll refer to it as a PhD 🙂 After an investigatory journey FROM (apparently) more abstract questions about decentralised ways of being, knowing and learning, TO finding the Tecnopolitica body of work around collective intelligence (thanks to @LoQueSigue), I DECIDED on Collective Intelligence as the core concept to organise everything else around. Following the Tecnopolitica body of work, I did video-based fieldwork with Decidim Barcelona, the online-offline participatory democracy platform of Barcelona City Council and I’m in the analysis phase with that material.

And this feels so bloody critical right now. Given so many of us are living in self-isolation and practising social distancing right now, we need digital ways to do democracy. Otherwise, how are we going to hold our governments to account and change government? How are we going to deliberate and make decisions together on a mass scale? And these digital ways to do democracy need to be seriously technically robust, politically savvy and socially inclusive. Which is precisely what Decidim Barcelona has been working on, drawing on histories of knowledge from social struggle, hacker communities and grassroots self-organisation.

So, it’s time to work.

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