Learning from experience in the past and elsewhere to prepare one’s community for epidemics that may or may not happen

This “Design sketch” arose for Case 3 for the session, “Gathering into Community,” of Design for Living Complexities, a case that involved “Learning from experience in the past and elsewhere to prepare one’s community for epidemics that may or may not happen”—see further description to follow and woven into the sketch.

The design sketch could be a plan with timeline, or a method of gathering people together, or a resource package (e.g., key issues, concepts, arguments, evidence, references, websites, summaries of case studies, quotes, images, organizations, people to contact, research already under way, research questions and proposals), or a portfolio of images to stir discussion, or…

Design sketch

(This proposal fits under “a method of gathering people together” and of assembling resources.)

Initiate a series of Collaborative Explorations (CEs *) in one’s community (**) on a range of angles on epidemics (***) and community responses (****). The stated goals would be a) to “learn… from experience in the past and elsewhere”; b) foster a culture of learning and provide a structure for learning – rapid learning if need be – to prepare to resist the mode of interacting that often occurs during crises, namely, to arm people who then obey orders without judgement (and often with strong biases [e.g., National Guard in New Orleans after Katrina]).   CEs could spin off action groups, but this is not one of the stated goals; a prospective participant can see themselves making time to engage with learning without having to fit more into their lives (unless or until they were ready).

* What are Collaborative Explorations? See http://cct.wikispaces.com/CEp

As mentioned in the case description:

** “Your ‘community’ might be your neighborhood or town, but it could also be your profession, your workplace, your ethnic group, your political group, etc.” (If the community were one’s neighborhood or town, then helping people join in CEs could be a credit-earning activity under the Communter proposal.)

*** Angles on “what goes on in epidemics” might include “the effect on communities or the fate of orphans from the 1918 flu pandemic, 1918 flu photocompeting approaches to scientific detective work and action recommendations in the SARS epidemic, the scapegoating of jews in the time of the Black Death, new ebolaclimate change and disease spread,..”

**** Angles on community responses might include “Cuban Emergency Response System (not for epidemics) ,Lifeboat ethics, a PBL case on improving responses to extreme climate events and one student’s response.”



One thought on “Learning from experience in the past and elsewhere to prepare one’s community for epidemics that may or may not happen

  1. Peter J. Taylor Post author

    The exchanges that happen in a CE build respect among participants. This might head “flaming” off at the pass, given that flamers are asserting before inquiring. Does a flamer ever back down? Indeed, do the online discussion boards cultivate flamers where face2face interactions (or the equivalent in CEs) do not?


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