Pluriversal Equal – Cultural Practices for an Inclusive Humanity
What needs to be done?
Strengthening global cultural relations
By Carla Figueira
'You may say I am a dreamer.' John Lennon, 1971
Humanity has for over 200,000 years thrived on planet Earth, however many agree that we have now reached a tipping point. The Anthropocene is the epoch when humanity risks devouring the world in which we live at a scale beyond regeneration. But it is not only the planet that humanity has been consuming, it is itself. Humanity has not been inclusive, on the contrary, its progress has been built on the exclusion, expulsion and destruction of individuals, groups, and physical spaces, as documented by Saskia Sassen (Sassen, 2014).
Thus, is there hope of a better future? Can humanity secure an inclusive future on Earth?
For that to happen, we need to think of humanity as a part of the Earth, and reconnect all that we do with that concept. It starts with the development of an individual awareness about the connection of each of us to each other and to the planet: think globally, act locally! This way of thinking can be achieved through education of new and older generations. But education needs to be a means to critically and creatively deal with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of the world, as conceived by Paulo Freire (Freire, 1970, 1993).
Additionally, we need to scale up this individual change. If we think in terms of the structure and governance of the international community, achieving fundamental change seems to be a rather difficult task. Perhaps this can be achieved if state and civil society actors increasingly adopt a systems change approach, develop collective solutions, build a learning culture and do not over-rely on top-down leadership (Abercrombie, Harris, Wharton, 2015) .
Alliance for Culture can be one of the disseminators of this systems change approach. Focusing on global cultural relations, the network can be a hub for the exchange of thinking, experiences and learning, leading to the development of proposals for common solutions to global challenges. Alliance for Culture needs to be truly a think and action tank working across national borders and societal divides with different types of actors to influence and deliver this change in thinking and behaviour.
Change takes times and we need to persevere, as well as be hopeful and understanding, so that one day we can see the Earth and all humanity living as one.
Verse from 'Imagine' by John Lennon, 1971
Saskia Sassen: Expulsions. Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy. – Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014
Paulo Freire: Pedagogy of the Oppressed. – London: Penguin Books1970, 1993
Rob Abercrombie, Ellen Harris and Rachel Wharton: Systems Change: A Guide to What It Is And How To Do It. – Lankelly Chase Foundation, 2015
Carla Figueira is the Director of the MA in Cultural Policy, Relations and Diplomacy at the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, Goldsmiths, University of London. Carla is an International Relations graduate of the Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (Portugal), she moved to London after a career in arts management. In the UK, she went on to gain an MA and a PhD in Cultural Policy and Management (City University, UK, respectively Chevening and Praxis XXI Scholar).