Interview Series: What Can We Do In These Powerful Times?

It feels like the need for change is growing faster than the impact we are delivering. So, I am wondering what I can do next in my career. Turns out others feel the same.

Which is why I’m doing this interview series. In 40 minute bites, I ask some brilliant people what they are doing now and why. All to inspire and enable the audience (which may turn out to be just me!) through stories grounded in experience.

Below you can subscribe, play the latest episode, and explore past posts about the series.

Latest episode

Dougald Hine is author and co-founder of Dark Mountain, a cultural movement of people who have "stopped believing the stories our civilisation tells itself" and a School Called HOME, a "a gathering place and a learning community for those who are drawn to the work of regrowing a living culture" (personal website, Substack, wikipedia). His latest book is "At Work in the Ruins", which we discuss at length in the conversation. At the beginning Dougald describes himself as "using words, and sometimes silences, to shift the space of possibility", which I think underplays his role as curator and community builder.One way of understanding Dougald's response to these powerful times is that he sees them as showing that our world, the world of modernity, is ending. Rather than moving into denial or a desperate fixing, Dougald is making 'good ruins' for whatever might be next, through creating pockets of living culture. He is trying to contribute to the possibility of presently-unimaginable futures, which starts with clearing away the stuff that has colonised the currently-imagined future.I have read the book and heartily recommend it. To buy the book, and find the latest on Dougald's tour in Feb 2023, follow this link. Links'Hospicing Modernity: Facing Humanity's Wrongs and the Implications for Social Activism' by Vanessa Machado de Oliveira (aka Vanessa Andreotti).Paul KingsnorthClimate Optimist More on Dougald's partner, Anna Björkman, here. A Small Farm Future: Making the Case for a Society Built Around Local Economies, Self-Provisioning, Agricultural Diversity, and a Shared Earth by Chris SmajeIvan IllichSchool of EverythingTimings0:50 – Q1. What are you doing now? And how did you get there?7:53 – BONUS QUESTION: Tell us something of the genesis of Dark Mountain?12:00 – BONUS QUESTION: Tell us something about the start of a School Called Home?18:11 – BONUS QUESTION: Give us a pen portrait of the book, At Work in the Ruins.32: 54 – BONUS QUESTION: What are the strongest good faith arguments against what you are saying?37:00 – Q2. What is the future you are trying to create, and why?42:20 – Q3. What are your priorities for the next few years, and why?46:42 – Q4. If someone was inspired to follow those priorities, what should they do next?49:55 – Q5. If your younger self was starting their career now, what advice would you give them?52:30 – Q6. Who would you nominate to answer these questions, because you admire their approach?52:46 – Q7. Is there anything else important you feel you have to say?More hereTwitter: Powerful_TimesWebsite hub: here.Please do like and subscribe, to help others find the podcast.Thank you for listening! — David
  1. Dougald Hine
  2. Robin Alfred
  3. Liam Black
  4. Clare Farrell
  5. Helen Henderson
  6. Zahra Davidson
  7. Richard Sandford
  8. Daianna Karaian
  9. Eva-Maria Dimitriadis
  10. Loriann Robinson

All posts and episodes, in reverse order

  • Powerful Times S1. E34. Dougald Hine
    Dougald Hine is author and co-founder of Dark Mountain, a cultural movement of people who have “stopped believing the stories our civilisation tells itself” and a School Called HOME, a “a gathering place and a learning community for those who are drawn to the work of regrowing a living culture” (personal website, Substack, wikipedia). His […]
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  • Powerful Times S1. E33. Robin Alfred
    Robin is an executive coach, facilitator, a mediator, an organisational consultant, works in leadership development and sometimes known as a mystic (Twitter, LinkedIn, Website). Our conversation concentrates on the importance of feeling present, and being fully open to what is happening in that moment. Only then can we integrate the past, and not be unconsciously […]
  • S1. E32. Liam Black
    Liam Black has a long history of leading social enterprises (including Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen), and is now ‘Chief Encouragement Officer’ and mentor to many (website, Twitter, LinkedIn). In his own career, Liam has made many jumps into the unknown, which became the main theme of our conversation. His view is if you are clear about […]
  • Powerful Times S1. E31. Clare Farrell
    Clare Farrell is a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, as well as fashion designer and lecturer (Twitter, website, LinkedIn). Clare had a lot of deeply interesting things to say across a broad range of topics. So, this episode is the longest yet at 57 mins. I make no apology, as every minute is worth listening to. […]
  • S1. E30. Daianna Karaian
    Daianna Karaian is co-founder of Today Do This, which aims to empower everyone, every day (Today) to take action on (Do) what matters to them (This) (LinkedIn, personal website, Twitter). The theme was people being able to take meaningful action in their work. REasons: First, “The scale of the change that’s needed is only going […]
  • S1. E29. Zahra Davidson
    Zahra Davidson is Chief Executive and Design Director of Huddlecraft, a Community Interest Company that uses the the practice of combining people to unearth and multiply potential (Zahra’s Linkedin, Twitter and Medium). Huddlecraft asks: ‘What if everyone could multiply their potential by the power of their peers?’ We talked about how collective learning is so […]
  • S1. E28. Richard Sandford
    Richard Sandford is Professor of Heritage Evidence Foresight and Policy at the UCL Institute of Sustainable Heritage (Twitter, LinkedIn). He interested in how we think about the future and how we connect it to the past.  We discuss in depth how heritage can be a source of useful and productive stances towards the future. Key […]
  • S1. E27. Helen Henderson
    Helen Henderson is a Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC), combined with a long history of community education in Derry/Londonderry. We explored Helen’s work on peacebuilding and non-violence. For instance, how do you build peace between communities that have been in conflict for decades? Two things: spaces to discover common humanity; and […]
  • S1. E26. Charlotte Dufour
    Charlottte Dufour is founder of Narayan, a retreat space which followed years of work in humanitarian aid and international cooperation (LinkedIn, Twitter). She is a nutrition expert, having worked in Afghanistan in the early 2000s on child malnutrition before moving to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (a UN agency), where she specialised in Food Security, […]
  • S1. E25. Eva-Maria Dimitriadis
    Eva-Maria Dimitriadis is the CEO and Managing Partner at The Conduit Connect (also LinkedIn). As you will hear, she has a varied career, starting with Christies. Launched in 2018, the Conduit Connect exists to scale innovative impact technologies and businesses that are solving some of the most challenging and critical issues of our time. it […]
  • S1. E24. Loriann Robinson
    Loriann Robinson (Twitter, LinkedIn) is the founder and director of The Advocacy Team, “a service for people and organisations working for a just world”. They provide public affairs advice, policy advocacy, policy analysis and more, often in the international arena. She is also co-founder of The Equity Index, a UK social enterprise advocating for greater […]
  • S1. E23. Martin Allen Morales
    Martin Allen Morales is the CEO at the Institute of Imagination. The Institute designs and delivers award-winning creative learning programmes, products, and platforms across the arts, sciences and digital technologies for children aged 5 to 11 years old. As Martin touches on in the podcast, he has had an extraordinarily varied career. He started music, […]
  • S1. E22. Briony Greenhill
    Briony Greenhill a folk-soul improvisational artist who teaches Collaborative Vocal Improvisation (CVI) internationally, plus political activist (Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube, Patreon). She tells her story of performing different sorts of music when she was young, but not fitting with a music degree. After her 20s in political campaigning, she stopped believing we could have ‘business as […]
  • S1. E21. Rosalie Nelson
    Rosalie Nelson is the CEO of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship, whose mission is to “incubate solutions to global problems from Aotearoa New Zealand, and make a lasting positive impact on the world”. (Full disclosure: I am an EHF Fellow.) Like Matthew in episode 13, Rosalie starts with her Pepeha, “a way of introducing yourself in […]
  • S1. E20. Paul van Zyl
    Paul van Zyl served as the Executive Secretary of South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission . Paul also co-founded the International Centre for Transitional Justice, an organization that works in over 40 countries that have endured massive human rights violations under repression conflict. Most recently, Paul co-founded The Conduit, which serves as a home […]
  • S1. E19. Maggie Dugan
    Maggie Dugan (Linkedin) is Founder and Lead Facilitator at Inclusive Innovation, who “foster creative collaboration for sustainable development”. Maggie has a history in creativity, whether in radio, writing or innovation. Our focus: how Inclusive Innovation is hacking the SDGs, using a creative process with a strong track record to bring people together in ways that […]
  • S1. E18. David Nabarro
    David Nabarro is Strategic Director of 4SD, which enables changemakers to be effective for equity, justice and regenerative futures in a complex, fast-changing world (Wikipedia, Twitter). David was a practicing medical doctor and then went into a very distinguished career in international civil service. He was the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Sustainable Development […]
  • S1. E17. Iris Andrews
    Iris Andrews is a co-creator of New Constellations, which exist to help people imagine and create better, more beautiful futures (Twitter, LinkedIn). Her background is over 15 years in the climate movement, for instance at Greenpeace and Purpose, plus a decade’s yoga teaching and creating Nature Enquiries at the Quadrangle Trust, which will help people […]
  • S1. E16. Paul Ekins
    Prof Paul Ekins is Professor of Resources and Environment Policy at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources within the Bartlett School Environment, Energy & Resources, Faculty of the Built Environment (UCL page, Google Scholar, Wikipedia page). His work focuses on the conditions and policies for achieving an environmentally sustainable economy, and he is an authority […]
  • S1. E15. Rebecca Willis
    Rebecca Willis is a a researcher with twenty years’ experience in environment and sustainability policy and practice, at international, national and local level. She is Professor in Energy and Climate Governance at Lancaster University (uni profile, personal website, Twitter). Her research group is Climate Citizens, which aims to “change how people engage with the creation […]
  • S1. E14. Martin Wright
    Martin Wright is a writer, editor, speaker, enthusiast, focused on stories of a hopeful future (Twitter, Keynote speech at 2018 Global Good Awards). He is currently chair of Positive News, “the magazine for good journalism about the good things that are happening:. I got to know Martin when I was working for Forum for the […]
  • S1. E13. Matthew Jackson
    Matthew Jackson is serial entrepreneur from Aotearoa New Zealand (LinkedIn, Twitter, Personal Website). He is currently Founder and Commercial Director of Alimentary Systems, “a circular way to treat multiple & seasonal organic waste streams, that creates renewable energy. With an positive economic payback in 8 years.” Matthew and I are both Edmund Hillary Fellows (‘EHF’), […]
  • S1. E12. Julie Blane
    Julie Blane has a range of activities in impact investing professional focussing on integrating ESG into venture capital (LinkedIn). We speak on the strengths, and weaknesses, of impact investing, ESG and Venture Capital. Plus, If you are a lifelong learner, going into a new career is daunting, exciting, scary, thrilling, exhausting, and invigorating, and a […]
  • S1. E11. Susan Harrison
    Susan Harrison works with individuals and organisations to express themselves more fully as living systems (LinkedIn, Twitter). She held a number of senior NHS positions (including Head of Health and Homelessness across London) before retiring. As you will hear, she now applies her skills in various voluntary and consulting roles, mainly to the NHS and […]
  • S1. E10. Mario Boccucci
    Mario Boccucci (LinkedIn),  is Head of Programme Secretariat at the UN-REDD Programme. “The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) is the UN knowledge and advisory platform on the forest solutions to the climate crisis.” We recorded on Wed 9 Mar, 2022. You will hear that […]
  • S1. E9. Julia Steinberger
    Prof Julia Steinberger (Twitter, Wikipedia, Google Scholar) is Professor of Professor of Societal Challenges of Climate Change at the University of Lausanne. Her research examines the connections between resource use (energy and materials, greenhouse gas emissions) and societal performance (economic activity and human wellbeing), and she was a Lead Author for the IPCC’s 6th Assessment […]
  • S1. E8. Denise Young
    Denise Young (also LinkedIn, Twitter) is a writer & sustainability communications consultant. She has a background in financial journalism, which she applies in her green finance & net zero newsletter The Zeroist. Based in France, Denise grew up in Hong Kong with a mother from Shanghai and a father from Sydney. Thanks to this multicultural […]
  • S1. E7. Margaret Hannah
    Margaret Hannah (LinkedIn, Twitter) is Director of Health Programmes of International Futures Forum (IFF). We spoke in early February, before Russia invaded Ukraine. Our conversations covers public health, especially its psychological and social determinants, planetary health, and creating a different kind of human being to address the poly-crises. How can we have a population of […]
  • S1. E6. Rowan Conway
    Rowan Conway (LinkedIn, Twitter, UCL) is Visiting Professor of Strategic Design at UCL’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP). Between 2019-2022 she worked with Professor Mariana Mazzucato to lead the Mission Oriented Innovation Network (MOIN) at IIPP, convening global policy-making institutions in a range of exploratory design projects focused on mission-oriented innovation and public […]
  • Powerful Times S1. E5. Anna Birney
    Dr Anna Birney (LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter) is Director of School of System Change and Global Director of Systems Change Learning at Forum for the Future. Our conversation was at the start of February 2022, and the connection wasn’t great, so the sound is a little muddy. Apologies. Key quote: “If we teach system practices, we […]
  • Powerful Times S1. E4. Ian Christie
    Ian Christie is Senior Lecturer in the Social Science of Sustainable Development at the Centre for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Surrey and with many associations in academia and the think tank world, not least the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity (‘CUSP’) and the New Economics Foundation (‘NEF’). This conversation took place in […]
  • Powerful Times S1. E3. Jon Alexander
    Jon Alexander is an advertising executive turned social entrepreneur and writer.  In 2014, he co-founded the New Citizenship Project  with the mission: ‘what if we saw people as citizens, not consumers?’. He has brought his experiences and insights together in a new book ‘Citizens: Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us’. This […]
  • Powerful Times S1. E2. Simon Hampel
    Simon Hampel is founder of SARSEN, which exists to ‘greater connection, balance and harmony with ourselves and the world around us’. This interview was recorded in December 2021 (so before some big things like Ukraine). Key quote: “How can we wake up, grow up, and clean up in order to show up?” Listen:
  • Powerful Times S1. E1. Ed Gillespie
    Powerful Times S1. E1. Ed Gillespie First interview with Ed Gillespie — “father, inspirational keynote speaker and futurist”. Also, co-presenter of The Great Humbling and John Richardson and the Futurenauts, director of Greenpeace UK, a facilitator with The Forward Institute, and involved with 12 or so. different, ethical environmental startup businesses — or, as he puts it: facilitation, activism, and investment in businesses which might help shape a better future).
  • Introduction to ‘What can we do in these powerful times?’
    Introducing ‘what can we do in these powerful times?’. I want to give you enough of the set up that you can decide whether to listen to the interviews or not. I start with the description, and give some details on interviewees to date. Then I’ll talk about the format and questions. I’ll end with a bit on where the idea came from and what next.