Headstarters: Optimistic or Pessimistic?


On Saturday we had the first Headstarters get together at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green. The aim of the day was for everyone to get to know each other.

I quite enjoyed this exercise.

On the left-hand-side the poster Rebecca is holding up says ‘I feel good’ – on the right hand side the poster Oliver is holding up says ‘I feel bad’. The group positioned themselves on this spectrum according to how they felt about their own future, how they felt about the future of ‘the world’ and how they felt about the future of London.

By and large, you can see three dynamics at work here. Firstly people feel optimistic about the future of their own lives, pessimistic about the future of the world – and somewhere inbetween about the future of their city. These are quite typical responses to these questions.

There’s plenty you could read into this. At Demos we used to call for new kinds of politics and democracy that could make people feel as positive about their collective future as they did about their own. Most of this was focused on thinking about how to foster connections and agreements between people in the shared experiences of their everyday life – schools, hospitals, libraries, museums, town squares, markets… Like the big society – but with some actual values behind it! But I was thinking that as a shared space, that works for different groups of people and audiences, the Headstart House – if it works – will probably end up having to be, one such space…

… Which is one of the reasons why, the next Headstart group day thing, on December 3rd will be on how you bring different groups of people together.


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