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Mar 2020
Issue 11

Commons News

2020 has got off to a challenging start: bushfires, floods, racist responses to COVID-19 and increasing authoritarian tendencies here and abroad. Looking forward there’s the likelihood of pandemic, potential global recession, ongoing climate crisis and the high stakes of the US election.

There’s never been a more important time for learning and collaboration among and across social movements. The times call for innovation focused on the future but informed by the lessons of the past. Make use of your library and librarians! If there are things you need to strengthen your social change work, or things you could share that others would benefit from, reach out to us.

It’s also important to take care of ourselves and each other as we ride the waves of change. Check out our featured resources on climate anxiety and grief and our broader topic of wellbeing for help with that. Share these around to show care.

In other news our Library Director Holly Hammond is presenting at the 2020 Policy & Advocacy Essential Briefing in Canberra on 18 March. The event is hosted by For Purpose and registrations are still open.

Let us know if we can support you with your own conference or event (online or in person). We can present sessions; provide reading lists; collect presentations and articles to make available beyond the event; and share a wealth of resources via a stall or in your event's Twitter thread. For an example of what collaborating with the Commons can yield see our collection of resources from FWD+Organise 2019.

Coronavirus and Community Activism

Have you and your organisation or community started preparing for the impacts of COVID-19?

As fear of contagion increases and quarantine measures become more common it won't be 'business as usual'. Online tools will be valuable for keeping people connected and engaged - like mass conference calls and webinar training (see these from Momentum Training Institute for example). Good timing to brush up on your online training and facilitation skills!

Show solidarity with communities experiencing racist attacks through supporting Democracy in Colour and other organisations led by people of colour. Be prepared to interrupt racism with these tips from All Together Now

Learn lessons from the community response to HIV, read a beautiful poem, and wash your hands!

Maxwell Smith pointing at a blackboard advertising his show

The case for laughter in social change

At times like these we could all use a laugh!

Maxwell Smith, comedian and community organiser, makes the case for humour in social movements. He shares great tips on comedy techniques, getting started in standup, ways to bring laughter into social change work... and some quality jokes. Read article.

computer screen surrounded by accessibility icons including a speaker, eye, ear, brain, mouse pointer

Website accessibility 

You've gone through all the work of setting up a website - but what if you're excluding people from accessing your information and services?

To ensure access and prevent discrimination check out this comprehensive list of tools, checklists and links to improve website accessibility. Includes quick guides and deeper dives into standards, colours, documents, design, images, and much more. Read article.

a colourful group of empty picture frames

How to frame issues for social change impact

Clear values based communication can make a huge difference, engaging your base and persuading others to be supportive.

We've collected research and communications recommendations all in one place for you. Includes reports, articles, videos and podcasts to help you develop powerful messages and narratives on a variety of issues. Read article.

Feature Resources:
Coping with Climate Anxiety & Grief

As more climate change impacts are felt and people become increasingly aware of the challenging future we face it is understandable that many people are experiencing anxiety, grief and a myriad of other feelings.

These resources are provided to increase understanding of the emotional and psychological impacts of climate change and to promote the range of coping strategies available. Includes articles, podcasts, books, media coverage and blog posts, and supportive organisations and networks.

"Your body, mind and spirit, just like those around you, has basic needs in this climate crisis... Keep learning about your mind, growing beneficial resources, and see how this can inform your engagement with climate change." – Psychology for a Safe Climate

Access the resources now and share the Facebook post.

The Commons pays respects to the traditional owners of the land in which we operate and wherever this site is accessed. We recognise the central importance of struggles for Indigenous self-determination and justice within the broad project of creating a progressive future.
Image credits:
I Am Not A Virus - Van Nishing
Maxwell Smith - Maxwell Smith
Website Accessibility - Antje Dun
Frames - Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash
Gum leaf - Antje Dun

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