Community-Accountable Design


Care-based approaches to surviving 2020

Earlier this year, as many workplaces made the rapid shift to working from home, we published “Care-based approaches to remote work” to share lessons we’ve learned and practices we’ve developed over several years of working from different locations. In the months that have unfolded since we wrote that post, we have seen the many ways in which the pandemic has laid bare the most grotesque inequities the systems we live in have to offer. 2020 has been a year of both mourning and strident organizing. It has been a year of leaning heavily on practices of care, healing, and mutual aid.

Tuesday is election day in the US. Two of us are in Canada and one is in the US, but each of us has been and will be impacted by the political shitshow that is America in 2020. Our work — the work of facilitating the creation of images, tools, and visions for the world we need — requires that we tap into a deep well of joy and possibility. To keep that well from running dry, it is imperative that we shore up our care practices. Here are our plans for surviving whatever lies ahead:

  1. We are not pretending this is business as usual. We’re not compartmentalizing, we’re not acting like everything is ok, we’re not muscling our way through our work days.
  2. We are committing to voicing and hearing each other’s needs as they come up, because we have no idea what will happen and how it will feel until we are there.
  3. We are creating spaciousness for ourselves. We’re pushing off anything that doesn’t have a hard deadline or that doesn’t feel sustaining. We are asking for flexibility from our collaborators. You may not hear back from us this week and we hope that you’ll understand that.
  4. We are creating spaciousness for our collaborators. We know that you are likely feeling what we are. Please do not let our deadlines be the reason you’re at your computer when you need rest. We are committed to surviving 2020 with grace. We will figure it all out.
  5. We are taking celebration much more seriously, because we don’t just want to survive — we want joy. To celebrate the completion of a recent project, we each received this charming handmade ceramic teacup and began a ritual of toasting the work we’ve done together. The teacup creates a physical connection between the three of us — although we can’t be together, we know that the cup feels exactly the same in each person’s hands.

We are sending love and strength to you all.