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Hello and welcome the first Society in the Loop newsletter for 2019! 🤗

So Happy New Year! 🎉 And in fact, a happy 2018 too! Because FutureCrunch reminds us that the world didn't, in fact, fall apart, we were just getting our news from the wrong places. Start 2019 more positively with a summary of the 99 good news stories you probably didn't hear about in 2018, then sign up for their newsletter to receive more of their intelligent optimism every fortnight. 

Talking of optimism, over the summer, we came up with a couple of public engagement prototypes with Snook for the Wellcome Trust. One of these, 'Charity as a Platform', aims to make it easier for charities to reduce their operational costs and strengthen the social sector too.

And last month we held our first Yes to Redress! meet-up with Resolver. Read Jacob Ohrvik-Stott's summary of the evening's discussions here. Are you interested in helping us to champion  better redress in the digital world? Join us at our next meet-up on Wednesday 6 February, 6.30-8pm, to discuss what "good" redress looks like. We'll provide the drinks and snacks, you provide the chat. 😉

Hannah Kitcher
Communications Manager


👨‍💻 Work 👩‍💻

Just before Christmas, the Resolution Foundation bought us some festive cheer, reporting that real-pay growth has risen to 1% - the highest growth rate in two years. They're also hopeful that the new year will be more positive for Universal Credit claimants too.  

But how can we make it a happier new year for those who work for no pay? Demos has found that work by unpaid informal carers subsidises the UK economy to the tune of a whopping £139 billion a year. This is pushing carers towards poverty and affecting their health and wellbeing, and they call for a “Universal Carer’s Income” to help them out.

On January 17th and 22nd we will be hosting two workshops, in London and Birmingham respectively, for those involved in care in both paid and unpaid capacities. The events will explore how we can realise a positive vision for  care in the UK in the face of automation and technological change - If you're interested in attending please register your interest here

In more positive news for worker power, trade unions are harnessing the same force that contributed to their decline - technology.

⚖️ Rights and justice 

First there was Donald, now there’s Jair. The rise of “strong-men” politics is not only a concern for global security - Amnesty International documents how this trend is threatening women’s rights. But there's also been some slightly better news for women recently, with research suggesting enforced wage reporting reduces the pay gap by 7% and companies are going to be under increased pressure to narrow the gap in 2019

The ethics of reproduction and technology were thrust back into the spotlight towards the end of 2018 with the startling revelation that Chinese scientist He Jiankui oversaw the clandestine creation of the world’s first genetically-edited “CRISPR” babies. The Atlantic 
has broken down the various ways this is totally not ok and MIT Technology Review includes it in their hit list of the biggest tech failures of last year. Despite this, Harvard has announced they will begin research on gene-editing sperm soon...

🏛️ PUB-lic 🍻 institutions and accountability

The humble Pub has long held a unique and cherished place in British culture. Today however its status in society in shifting - Recent ONS figures finding the number of pubs in the UK has fallen 22% over the past two decades confirm a trend we’ve been talking about for some time now. But hidden within this overall trend are some interesting regional dynamics: Whilst employment in urban pubs has declined, the number of pubs in smaller cities has actually increased by just under 4,000 people since 2001.

Northumberland University’s Ignazio Cabras speculates this is down to a growing number of high-end gastro-pubs - attracting tourists but potentially damaging the social life of rural communities and villages once supported by more the more old-school "down-the-local" pubs. The changing nature of the UK’s wider social infrastructure was laid bare last month by the excellent final report of the Civil Society Futures inquiry, launched at the end of last year. Vital reading for all those in the social sector! 📚

Collective actions

The RSA has outlined Britain’s 5 New Giants - local challenges that can only be solved through national-level collaboration.

Cool stuff

Nesta has recently launched Sharetown 🏘️. This is “an imaginary town created to explore a preferred future for the way citizens, technology and local government live and work together.” Have a play! 

Big Lottery Fund is offering £1m to support 
organisations developing charity safeguarding resources (Deadline 14 January 2019).

...and a little left-field 👈

🎌 Fancy yourself a free house in Japan?​ Here’s how to get one

🇯🇲​Reggae has been added to UNESCO’s world heritage list.

🇸🇪 And what shopping in IKEA tells us about the psychology of Brexit.

🗣️ Have your say 🗣️

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