Skip to main content

How Do We Build Better Futures, Together? Jon Alexander

Festival of Ideas
Jon Alexander

Waterstones  |  £8 / £6

Share this

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

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

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, 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

Booking Information

Waterstones and Bristol Ideas want to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit for all. The event capacity has returned to normal and seating will not be socially distanced. In the interest of audience and staff safety we are grateful if you would continue to wear a mask if possible and make space when moving around the venue. Please stay home if you’re experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 (these are listed on the NHS website) or if you’ve recently been in contact with someone who has the virus. 

Ticket booking is via Eventbrite. Please note that Eventbrite is a third-party service that is not owned or managed by Bristol Ideas. Please review Eventbrite’s terms and conditions and Privacy Policy as we do not accept any responsibility or liability for the policies. You can read Bristol Ideas’ Privacy policy here.

CONCESSIONS apply to Full Time Students, Job Seekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit claimants, over 60s and disabled people. PARTNER RATE is for staff, students or members at the following organisations: Arts Council England, Bristol City Council, Business West, University of Bristol and UWE. Please note that you will be asked of proof for your eligibility of a concession or partner rate ticket. No refunds/exchanges are possible for tickets already purchased at the higher price.

One free carer ticket can be provided for each paying disabled visitor, please contact us before booking to arrange.

We only refund tickets if the event is cancelled. Events start punctually and, out of consideration to other audience members and speakers, our policy is not to admit or issue refunds to latecomers. Full Terms and Conditions here.

Accessibility: Waterstones

One free carer ticket can be provided for each paying disabled visitor, please contact us before booking to arrange. More information about Waterstones Bristol – Galleries can be found on the Waterstones website and on AccessAble.

• There are Blue Badge parking spaces on Union Street.
• There is level access to the event space.
• Events are amplified but there is no loop system.
• There are toilets for public use.
• Guide and assistance dogs are welcome.

Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Find out how to update