Moral Imaginations
Published in

Moral Imaginations

The Pandemic as Portal — Harvard Berkman Klein Center

Video recording and description of a panel I took part in at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center that selected a group of projects to platform that came out of the Covid-19 pandemic and helped people imagine new societal and political possibilities.

Image taken from

This panel discussion at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center invited 4 people to share about their projects that focused on expanding peoples’ imaginations of what was possible during the Covid-19 pandemic. All explored the new narratives and myths that were opening up — the cracks in the dominant paradigm — making sure that in that time of emergency, trauma, and narrowing, communities and leaders alike could keep feeding their imaginations of what was possible.

During the first 3 months of the pandemic, I launched two projects:

  • Moral Imaginations (newsletter here), a community and approach towards rigorous (collective) imagination towards moral futures — creating immersive, experiential spaces for people to access the liminal of adjacent possible worlds.
  • Don’t Go Back To Normal, a platform and movement to use the “pause” in the narrative of normal to divest from old platforms and services which don’t serve a new paradigm — and transition to new platforms and services which prioritise open-source, decentralised, cooperative and commons-based economies.

#dontgobacktonormal is a movement of people who commit to change every corner of their lives, and build a movement around these changes. Each divestment from the old normal and each transition to a new platform or service or subscription brings all of us closer to the new world that is possible, and is reachable in this pandemic.

Now is the time for breaking out of our usual habits and siloed issue areas. We must re-imagine every corner of society, from food systems to education to how we use technology, how we do waste, how we generate energy, and the rhythms and behaviours with which we live our lives. We must do this so that we #dontgobacktonormal.

In June 2020, Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center reached out to invite me to speak about Moral Imaginations and Don’t Go Back To Normal alongside four brilliant panellists. You can now:

Watch the entire panel on Youtube (see below)

Download original video and audio from this event

Subscribe to the Berkman Klein events series podcast

Download the transcript

Video recording by Harvard Berkman Klein Center of “The Pandemic As a Portal” — Tracking and Enabling New Possibilities

The event laid out the context to these projects:

“In many ways, the coronavirus pandemic has resurfaced and amplified the worst in the world: intensification of surveillance, racism, nationalism, anti-scientism, bigotry.

But something strange has happened as well. Changes, ideas and solutions that were previously deemed impossible have suddenly become possible. Many of these changes still don’t go far enough, come with caveats and fine print, are subject to absurd means-testing, or are only temporary. These aren’t necessarily the changes we want, but they give us a glimpse of what has suddenly become possible.”

They invited two other projects to join the panel: the COVID-19 Policy Response, The New Possible — all projects that are seeking to capture and document the new possible. We spent the panel talking about our experiences and debating how we can ensure that the new normal doesn’t turn into the old normal.

Hope you enjoy listening — keep in mind the video is now 1.5 years old!

If you think this article is important, please make an effort to share it with your networks, and show your encouragement with some claps and remember you can clap up to 50 times if you like it a lot!

Follow my work and newsletter by visiting

Phoebe Tickell — Narratives, complexity, systems. Catalyzing transformative innovation in the face of converging crises, advising on complexity approaches, systems design, regenerative leadership, and education for regenerative development.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Phoebe Tickell

Phoebe Tickell

Cares about the common good. Building capacity for deep systems change. Complexity & ecosystems obsessive. Experiments for everything. 10 yrs #systemsthinking.