Plymouth's Nudge Community and Birmingham's Impact Hub both feature on Nesta/Observer's 50 "New Radicals"
We were delighted to see a few organisations included in the list that we’ve associated with, over the last year or so - including the Nudge Community in Plymouth (top right, see Nesta blog), as well as Impact Hub Birmingham (top left, Observer coverage here).
There are plenty of lists of the richest, the most powerful, the most eligible, and the most beautiful. But we thought it would be much more interesting to seek out the people shaping the world, often below the radar, whose work may in the future shape our lives in ways that even the most wonderful participants in Love Island probably won’t.
…The list gives us a snapshot of what’s going wrong in our society as well as what’s beginning to go right. For example, at a time of widening divides across the world, I suspect we’ll see many more trying to bridge divides like UV Arts in Derry, who are using street art and graffiti to break down barriers between communities rather than reinforcing them.
Abuse and recovery is another theme. We were impressed with the many ways The Offside Trust is helping survivors of child sexual abuse in sport, and pulling the support of top clubs and players from golf to football.
A lot of the radicals now, as in the past, respond to personal experience. A good example is Siena Castellon’s Quantum Leap, which targets young people with neurodiversity and helps teachers and others understand autism.
Disability of all kinds is also prompting innovation; like Disrupt Disability transforming wheelchairs by using open source design, digital fabrication and distributed manufacture to make lightweight wheels that are affordable and as individual as the people who wear them.
Others have been forced by events to show how communities best respond to adversity – like Grenfell United.
You could say that these radicals are part of our society’s immune system at work – responding quietly to threats, breakdowns and problems in ways that the official systems can’t do.
Not all of them will succeed. Being a radical means going against the grain and taking big risks. But this list shows that Britain’s radical traditions are as strong as ever.
While one part of our politics and society drifts into a permanent state of angry moaning, another part is getting on with making the best of things. That’s surely the best way to stay sane, and hopeful.
Their example helps us to remember that the crazies running parts of the world won’t be around for ever, and are certainly not the only game in town. And it reminds us too just how important it is to keep our immune systems strong.