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Part 1: Unimaginable times

Pandemic Response: Part 1Unimaginable times An evolving resource

Just a few weeks ago, this moment was unimaginable. We would not have believed the headlines, or been able to picture how the high street looks today. COVID-19 has abruptly pressed pause on anything that resembles ‘normal’ day-to-day life.

This is a moment of anxiety. We are fearful for our health and the health of those around us. We are all trying to make sense of what is happening and calculate the true impact of this crisis. This virus will affect us all, but we know it will not be felt equally. It will leave some people more exposed and vulnerable than others, laying bare the reality of existing inequality. 

But this is also a moment of connection. 

The shared experience and interconnectedness of being human has been brought sharply into focus. Our health is inextricably linked to the health of our neighbours. Our resilience is community resilience. In the face of this crisis to cooperate and collaborate is not a choice, it is the only way to respond. In our illness, anxiety, solidarity, concern for loved ones, boredom and need for light relief we share in this surreal and scary collective moment.

What we are doing

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Martin Luther King, Jr.

At PIRC, we are reassembling our work in the face of this crisis. This means developing new ways to support one another and work together. It means making sure we can be actively involved in our communities, contributing to solidarity and mutual aid networks. It means re-assessing our priorities and figuring out how to take our face-to-face work online. We want to meet this moment by increasing connection: in the team, in the networks we’re part of, and in the wider movements for social and environmental justice.

We know that in moments of change new worlds come into being. The way this crisis is being talked about today will shape the world we emerge into. To begin to help us understand, and intervene, in the COVID-19 narrative we mapped the key beliefs that are shaping our understanding of this moment. We hope this resource will help progressive communicators develop messaging strategies, or serve as a checklist to evaluate ideas against. 

We will be adding to this piece over the coming weeks and months, whilst we track how the narrative unfolds. Alongside this, we will be identifying and dissecting the prominent metaphors that are being used to make sense of this moment. We will be referring back to the findings in The Narratives We Need to better understand the emerging story from COVID-19.  To get updates about this work and stay in touch with us throughout this time sign up to our newsletter here.  

Next up

Over the coming weeks and months we will be tracking how the COVID-19 narrative unfolds. That means updating these beliefs as the discourse changes and develops and tracking the prominent metaphors being used to make sense of this crisis. In all our work, we will be applying the key findings from The Narratives We Need to the unfolding pandemic story.

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