I’m just back from the Social Policy Association conference in Belfast. It was a great conference with lots of very engaging speakers discussing their latest research. Topics included:
- Economic and domestic violence
- Food poverty
- Young people, precarity and security
- Pension inequality
- Taxation and austerity
There was also a special session organised on ‘the consequences of Brexit’.
Some of the highlights for me included a plenary session by Kathryn Edin discussing her new book – ‘$2 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America‘ and a presentation by Lorenza Antonucci about her new book – ‘Student Lives in Crisis: Deepening inequality in times of austerity‘.
These are two great books that I would thoroughly recommend. I was going to write some more about both – but you can just buy the books. What’s more, I was trying to come up with something positive to write about following the conference. But, as you can probably guess from some of the topics listed above, this isn’t easy.
There is much to worry about. And I don’t want to diminish any of that in any way. Global recession, European disintegration, war, terrorism, rising inequality. Yes, it’s all there. But this is not the 1930’s. My dad was born in the 1930’s – and as I sit in a warm, well lit library drinking fresh Americano and type this blog on my notebook using the free Wi-Fi available I’m made all too aware of that. Yes, I do have a privileged position and others aren’t nearly so fortunate. But this still is not the 1930’s. There’s much to feel positive about despite all the worrying news.
And what can be done with worry anyway? I’m reminded of the Serenity Prayer. I’m not a religious person but I think there is an important message in this – especially in difficult times such as these:
God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
the courage to change the things we can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
So let’s focus on the things we can change, embrace the opportunities that we have to make change happen, and celebrate the fact that we all can make a difference. Happy Monday!