June 19, 2022—Last month, the Ford Foundation released a thought-provoking and insightful “playbook” of the Post-COVID-19 landscape. It is a landscape, the playbook says, that “challenges us to realize a bold, hopeful reimagination of our social, economic, political, and governance systems, with equity and interdependence at their core.”
Ford Foundation President Darren Walker is urging us to reshape our thinking about the post-pandemic world. He noted: “COVID-19 overwhelmed every facet of our societies, and we will see its reverberations for generations to come. Yet, we are at a pivotal point where we can decide what these impacts will be and how they will shape our collective futures. In order to achieve this, we need to move from relief to recovery and beyond reform to reimagination. Reimagine Recovery takes a holistic look at the interrelated issues that we cannot ignore, and outlines solutions for change.”
Hilary Pennington, Executive Vice President of Programs, said of the playbook: “Over two years into this global pandemic, it’s clear that COVID-19 is not only a defining moment of our past, but of our present and future. Now is not the time to go back to what we once accepted as ‘normal,’ but to redefine the way we live and transition from a system of inequality, and exclusion, to a system of inclusion and care. This playbook shines a light on many of the deep-seated systemic inequities COVID-19 has exposed, highlights our partners’ work to fight for an inclusive recovery, and considers a path toward a more equitable future.”
Reimagine Recovery recommends that leaders reimagine three core areas—work, life, and balance—and it outlines priorities identified by the foundation’s partner organizations around the world. It emphasizes the urgent need to address the widespread systemic inequities that have long existed and were illuminated during pandemic.
Here are a few of the points that I am thinking about and applying to my work:
We cannot allow ourselves to resume what was; we must reimagine what can be. True recovery requires us to acknowledge the unjust structures and policies that, in many ways, led to and compounded the devastation of the pandemic
COVID has stripped away old ideas and expectations and revealed the starkness of inequality around the world.
Today, we know that true recovery, let alone renewal, is far more complicated. Despite our hopes, COVID-19 is not a finite moment in our global past, but an urgent reality of our present—and, undoubtedly, our future.
Arts organizations and cultural institutions are once again being summoned to the frontlines to help our society recover, grow, and heal from the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19. Reimagine Recovery is great playbook and instruction manual for initiating the necessary dialogues to put those changes in motion.