For the curious
Who are you and what do you do?
We are Edie and James from Glimpse. We create campaigns that help people feel more positive about the world and inspired to change things for the better.
Where are you and what are you doing right now?
We recently moved into a new office space. We’re trying to figure out if there is such a thing as ‘too many’ plants.
What is Glimpse?
Glimpse is a collective of creative people who want to use their skills for good. We run independent campaigns and we work with charities, grassroots activists and brands. Our work seeks to show a ‘glimpse’ of what’s possible if we can fix some of the big problems we’re facing.
We are a collective of over 2,000 people across the world, mostly from the creative industries and quite a few cat lovers who may or may not be creative.
Can you tell us a little about your approach and some of your projects?
We want to imagine what a better future could look like. So many of us feel gloomy and depressed about the world, but there are tons of alternatives out there - and we want to celebrate them. We want to make this positive future feel desirable and aspirational.
With this in mind we’ve run some of our own campaigns. The Citizens Advertising Takeover Service, or C.A.T.S, replaced all the adverts in a London Underground station with pictures of cats. We wanted to take back some of our public space, usually dominated by advertising, and imagine it with things we like. Like cats.
We also run independent campaigns for NGOs, brands and organisations. We came up with an idea for the UK charity Help Refugees where we opened a shop that did the opposite of what a shop is supposed to do. You can’t buy anything for yourself, you can only buy stuff for people who actually need stuff (refugees). It’s called Choose Love and it’s been really popular.
More recently we have been working with Patagonia, helping them launch their ‘action works’ platform online. We created a coffee shop with a range of action cards, helping people learn about local environmental NGOs and do something active to help them. Why aren’t all coffee shops like this? We want to make it as easy as possible for people to make an impact, to make it part of everyday life. This feels like this is where things might be headed, and that’s brilliant.
Greta Thurnberg has become a guiding light for future generations and is making global leaders feel very uncomfortable. Extinction Rebellion is galvanising people to get involved. You guys are making people think differently about challenges our planet and people are facing. It feels like there is a positive shift in public opinion and behaviour – is something big about to happen?
The world is definitely approaching a real moment. People have been making noise for a while, trying to push through. But now we have these real forces, like Greta Thurnberg and the student strikers, and XR. They’re all making serious waves and you can hear the world waking up. As much as this is a scary time, it’s also hugely exciting. We are living through a great cultural moment and none of us really know where this will end up.
That’s why it’s so important not to give in to despair. We’re at this incredible tipping point, where humanity either wakes up in time to create the better world we know is possible, or we slide into a disaster while scrolling through Instagram. Cynicism and gloom are energy sapping. We have to act.
The young people at the climate march the other week were so passionate and informed. They are hopefully our future leaders – do you see a place for the political system as we know it, or do you think it will look totally different in 10 years time?
We’re watching a whole new generation growing up who collectively are much more politically engaged and passionate than we have probably seen before. And they’re (rightfully so) dissatisfied with the people in charge. That in itself is nothing new but mobilisation in such numbers among the youth certainly is. It would be great to think that they could uproot and redefine the system we have, but we need people to step up. How many of us are willing to stand for election? To get involved in politics? It feels like we need more passionate, real people not just as activists but as our MPs. Will you stand?
Do you look at the future of the planet and society with positivity or great concern?
A yoyo-ing, oscillating, irrational mixture of both. Of course there are things to be worried about, and anyone who is reading the news can see those trends. But what the news doesn’t tell you is that millions - if not billions - of people are rethinking these stories they’ve been told: “Greed is good, stuff is happiness, it’s us against them”.
Despite what you might think, the dark forces we’re seeing in our world right now are a reaction to this awakening. They are (we hope) the last lash of the dinosaur’s tail, not the first fire of the dragon. We are so close to humanity discovering a new story - of interbeing and cooperation, of love and compassion. It is a privilege to be alive during this moment, to have a chance of shaping the outcome.
What do you do to switch off from it all (if you do)
We believe in the beauty and wisdom of nature. Connecting with nature is one of the core values of Glimpse. Spending some time outside, surrounded by trees and far away from noise and devices is a brilliant way to unwind, and also the key to helping us become a society better connected to each other and the world.
Do you have any books, music, art, podcasts you would recommend to people who want to live in a more positive and conscious manner
Beats in Space for music and podcasts
Richard Long for good in nature art
On Being - a podcast hosted by Krista Tippet. Conversations around spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, community, poetry, and the arts.
Olafur Elisasson’s current exhibition at the Tate is a joyful exploration of living a more conscious and environmentally aware life.
Hope in the Dark - Rebecca Solnit. A handbook for hopeful activists that celebrates uncertainty as an opportunity for change.
Tell us about something
The US has a micronation called Molossia run by a dictator called Kevin who hates spinach and onions so they’re banned there, they have a population of 34.
Tell us about nothing
Nothing = space = tiny tiny tiny tiny quanta that make up gravity so nothing doesn’t actually exist imo
Then you can't tell me nothing, right?
Uh, uh, you can't tell me nothing (ha, ha!)