Spring 2022 #37

In this issue:

Alone in a sea of marshmallows: Understanding and dismantling the attention economy  – Inez Aponte

In the lead feature, Inez Aponte interrogates the notion of ‘attention’ as a scant resource and explores how a shift in our understanding of paying attention – what the French philosopher Simone Weil called the “rarest and purest form of generosity” – as an intensely relational act can bring us back to ourselves and the planet.

Review: Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari – Max Jeffery

Why have we lost our ability to focus? And how do we get it back? Max Jeffery reviews Johann Hari’s latest book, Stolen Focus (2022).

Excerpt: The Ecology of Attention – Yves Citton

Information overload, the googlization of minds: countless commentators condemn the flood of images and information that dooms us to a pathological attention deficit. In The Ecology of Attention (Polity Books, 2016) cultural theorist Yves Citton goes against the tide of these standard laments to offer a new perspective on the problem of attention in the digital age.

Networks of space: Locating cultural commons in neighbourhood planning – Torange Khonsari

With a dive into the theory of neighbourhoods and grassroots engagement, Torange Khonsari explains how neighbourhoods can become an arena for the commons to be collectively developed.

Excerpt and Q&A: How Blair Killed the Co-ops: Reclaiming social enterprise from its neoliberal turn – Les Huckfield

We feature an exclusive Q&A with Les Huckfield and an excerpt from his new book, which offers an alternative narrative of social enterprise in the UK, showing how local communities have been denied the restoration of local economic and social democracy.

Q&A with Charlotte Hollins, Fordhall Farm

We talk to Charlotte Hollins, the founder and General Manager for the Fordhall Community Land Initiative, about Fordhall Farm’s community ownership model and the future of farmland and food security.

How community ownership can secure the UK’s food security through buying family farms: press release – Stir to Action and Shared Assets

New Models for Family Farm Succession is a new project from a consortium led by Stir to Action and Shared Assets exploring how a national crisis of family-owned farms presents an opportunity for a new generation of community owners.

A joined-up approach to land use in Devon – Laura Dixon, Devon Communities Together

Devon is the first county in England to pilot a land use framework: a strategic approach to delivering integrated, collaborative, and place-based decision making and optimising multifunctional benefits from the land. 

One wall at a time – Saleem Vaillancourt, Paint the Change

A brief tour through some of the projects from Paint the Change, whose public murals in London and across the globe demonstrate how street art and social action can together become a unique tool for positive change. 

Case study: The Islington Model

Islington Council is investing in the development of a new Co-operative Development Agency, which will help facilitate a major scaling up of Islington’s democratic economy.

Empowering people furthest from power – Bethan Hunt

At the end of a five-year programme, Empowering Places, which explored how networks of social businesses can tackle economic inequality, Bethan Hunt reflects on its legacy, how it has changed the areas they set out to improve, and how valuable the learning is to the Levelling Up agenda.

Poem: Co-operate – Isaiah Hull

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