How Do We Build Better Futures, Together? Jon Alexander
Political violence. Global inequality. Climate catastrophe. The headlines of our time are enough to make anyone feel helpless. So what do we do now? How do we begin to build something better, together?
Jon Alexander (author of Citizens: Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us) spent the first decade of his career in the advertising industry, selling some of the world’s biggest brands. Then he realised he was caught up in a story he didn’t believe in – the ‘Consumer Story’, a foundational story of humans as inherently self-interested and competitive.
This story has shaped not just individual behaviour but organisational design, economic theory, the role of government, morality – all of culture and society. But now the consumer story is failing, and we have the chance to embrace a new story, one in which we actively shape the world around us, cultivate meaningful connections to our communities and institutions, imagine different and better lives, care and take responsibility, and create opportunities for others to do the same.
In conversation with Andrew Kelly, Alexander puts forward compelling new narratives for our current moment, and discuss the ways in which we can become collaborative, caring, creative citizens who can work together to shape our communities, organisations and nations for the better.
Award-winning political commentator Ece Temelkuran was supposed to be joining Jon Alexander to talk about her latest book, Together, but due to delays in her visa, she is now unable to travel to the UK in time. We are disappointed about this but grateful to Jon Alexander who has agreed to go ahead with the event. All existing ticket buyers will receive a message via Eventbrite.
Jon Alexander’s Citizens: Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us is published by Canbury Press. Ece Temelkuran’s Together: A Manifesto Against the Heartless World is published by 4th Estate. Buy copies online or at the event from Waterstones.
Jon Alexander began his career in advertising, winning the prestigious Big Creative Idea of the Year, before making a dramatic change. Driven by a deep need to understand the impact on society of 3,000 commercial messages a day, he gathered three Masters degrees, exploring consumerism and its alternatives from every angle. In 2014, he co-founded the New Citizenship Project to bring the resulting ideas into contact with reality. Citizens: Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us is his first book.
Ece Temelkuran is an award-winning Turkish novelist, a political thinker and a public speaker whose work has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, Le Monde, La Stampa, New Statesman and Der Spiegel, among other international media outlets. She won the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book award for her novel Women Who Blow On Knots and the Ambassador of New Europe Award for her book Turkey: The Insane and the Melancholy. She is the author of the internationally acclaimed How to Lose a Country. Together: A Manifesto Against the Heartless World, her latest book, was recently shortlisted for the Terzani Award in Italy. For the last five years she has lived in Zagreb, after the military coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. She is currently a fellow at The New Institute, Hamburg, working on the project ‘A New Vocabulary for 21st Century Progressives’. She runs lettersfromnow.com, a digital communication project based on her book Together. She is on the advisory board of Progressive International and a regular contributor to Internazionale magazine. Follow her on Twitter @ETemelkuran
Image credit: Joanna Paciorek
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