Next phase in making sense of ’emergent agency in a time of Covid’ kicking off this Wednesday – please join us

A plug for two rounds of online conversation taking place on Wednesday (2nd December) around the theme of ‘Emergent Agency in a Time of Covid’

The Emergent Agency in a Time of Covid project is definitely the most fun thing in my work at Oxfam right now. Why? First, the discussions so far have been fascinating (check out our webinar earlier this month, or our paper on what we are initially seeing).

But also because – true to the ‘emergence’ idea – we are constructing the project as we go and, at an emotional level, because we are looking for (and finding) some positives – silver linings in the dark global Covid cloud. Namely, the nature of grassroots responses to the pandemic, and whether/how they could change politics and power even after the pandemic subsides.

The next stage takes place on Wednesday, when we kick off a series of ‘cluster conversations’ around particular themes that have arisen from those early discussions.

There are two 75 minute sessions:

at 1PM UTC

  • Informal leaders vs the State
  • Children and Youth
  • HIV
  • Women’s Organizations

A second session at 4.30PM UTC

  • Faith Organisations
  • Social Movements
  • Livelihoods
  • Education

You are welcome to attend a cluster conversation in either or both sessions – sign up for your preference here (we need to manage the numbers a bit). If you’re new to the project and want to register for updates etc, please sign up here.

Each cluster is being convened by someone with a deep engagement of/knowledge of the area, and the idea is to build a community of practice and thought around each, to discuss questions such as

  • What is emerging?
  • What aspects of Emergent Agency are likely to be lasting? What are ephemeral?
  • What surprises us and why? Which of our assumptions are being challenged?

Needless to say, we’ve been kicking around 2x2s to start thinking about typology – here’s an example

All of this is emergent: we’ll follow the energy and interest; each cluster will decide for itself whether to use these questions or discuss other, more relevant ones, and how they want to work. Come on and join – it’ll be fun!

To give you a flavour here’s the video of the November webinar again, which featured three of the cluster convenors. And here’s my blog write-up.

Hope to see you on Wednesday

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6 Responses to “Next phase in making sense of ’emergent agency in a time of Covid’ kicking off this Wednesday – please join us”
  1. Debbie Hillier

    This all looks great Duncan! This might be an interesting input to your discussions: the Maintains programme looked at the role of traditional leaders in district-level Covid response in Sierra Leone. Here’s the two page policy brief: (longer report also available)
    A key finding was that participation in decision-making and coordination was uneven – Paramount Chiefs were central, Youth Leaders’ involvement came late, and Mammy Queens could not participate. The District Youth Coordinator had to push for a seat at the table, and only succeeded because of institutional links, which did not exist for Mammy Queens.
    Worth noting that as all of the district’s 14 Paramount Chiefs and 14 Chiefdom Youth Leaders are men, the voice of ‘traditional leaders’ is actually the voice of men.

  2. MarySue Smiaroski

    I would like to join as I am able, I just need a bit more lead time to get it into my agenda – but that wasn’t an option in the survey that you offered. I am really interested in this work.