a Consequence, a Phenomenon, and a Necessity, what I am carrying forward
by Hoda Judah Armani
Designer, Visiting Fellow of the Center
& Designer in residence of Innovation RCA www.hodajudaharmani.design
Whatever I chose to carry forward will already be there waiting for me regardless. However, I am keen to develop a conscious relationship with three things: a consequence, a phenomenon and a necessity—and by doing so, hopefully, in some small way, positively contribute towards a better society.
Many complex political, socio-economic factors have led to the consequences of poverty. But what if poverty were transmissible, like one might catch a virus? Would we find a solution as swiftly as we developed the COVID-19 vaccine? It’s an outlandish provocation, with the challenges for solving poverty remaining devilishly high. But it’s also a reminder that outlandish challenges have been solved before, when the appetite is there.
Sadly, we will be carrying forward an upgraded version of poverty, with decreased work opportunities and increased health risks. Whether people are working multiple jobs or reliant on the welfare system, poverty occurs when income levels do not meet minimum living standards. As far back as 1217—along with the Magna Carta—England began exploring the concept of universal basic income (UBI), and while much has evolved politically, socially and economically over the past 800 years, poverty still remains.
However, there have been some exceptional advancements UBI over the past two decades. Hopefully we can collaborate to take these advancements over the line very soon and see a future where it will be impossible to carry forward a consequence such as poverty. Until that time, I consciously carry it forward with the hope of witnessing the same global cooperation and appetite we have seen in response to COVID being deployed to eliminate poverty.
The second thing I would like to carry forward is the phenomenon of creativity. Last March, in response to the pandemic, the educational record label for change InHouse Records co-created the music magazine Aux, exclusively for distribution to the prison population in the United Kingdom. The idea was to help those locked up during lockdown access creativity in the most challenging circumstances.
Who would have thought that a communication tool like paper (which predates the birth of Christ) would provide such a powerful response in the 21st century? After printing 50,000 copies of the magazine and a distribution circuit that covers almost 50% of UK prisons and 15% of the correctional facilities in the state of Connecticut here in the USA, we are witnessing a reduction in negative behavior and a significant increase in literacy. Creativity heals! I am becoming more and more certain of this fact.
Last year in my Compass piece for the CfC’s 2020 symposium I quoted the philosopher Heraclitis, who wrote:
“In nature, everything changes.” Nature’s self-regulating antidote to flux is interdependence—complex ecosystems where change is never feared. In seeking a vaccine, the spirit of interdependence was a necessity in overcoming multiple global challenges. I believe interdependence is a necessity in all of our lives. I am actively carrying this necessity forward along with the phenomenon of creativity, ensuring they remain high on the menu for those in the most challenging circumstances.