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‘New normal’ provoked discussion in Lockdown Dialogues on 12 May

Ministry of Finance 20.5.2020 13.19 | Published in English on 22.5.2020 at 10.37
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Ihmisiä pöydän ääressä, ylhäältä kuvattuna.

The Lockdown Dialogues give a unique picture of the lives of different groups in society during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The discussions are organised by a wide range of groups and organisations from the public, private and third sectors, as well as individual citizens. So far, more than 100 dialogues have been held, involving more than 800 participants. The dialogues have attracted people from all over Finland: from Lapland in the north to Uusimaa in the south, and from all points east to west. There have also been participants from elsewhere in Europe and beyond.

The Lockdown Dialogues have been held every two weeks and they highlight how people's experiences of the lockdown have changed as time moves on. When the virus crisis began, uppermost in people’s minds was a concern for others and for themselves. Gradually life moved to a waiting phase, characterised by drawn out expectancy and an uncertain outlook. We are now in a situation where the restrictions are starting to be lifted gradually and people are wondering about the ‘new normal’ that will shape our futures.

Third Lockdown Dialogues event sees 43 discussions across Finland 

A large number of people across the country assembled online on Tuesday 12 May for the third of the Lockdown Dialogues, to share experiences of what life is currently like in Finland.

The dialogues attracted some 350 people altogether: young people, adults of all ages, students, employees, people laid off, unemployed people, pensioners, public officials, political decision-makers and ordinary citizens. New groups joining the discussions included food producers, event organisers, education and training managers, and experts by experience. There were participants from around the world, too: from Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, Jordan, Russia, the United States, and elsewhere.

The discussions have been drawn together in a summary, presenting a diverse and structured overview of the current state of society. Important subjects emerging in the discussions included the lifting of restrictions and the consequences of this, new boundaries between people, and humanity and freedom. The simultaneous removal of restrictions was seen as both a cause for joy and for concern. It prompted discussion about the ‘new normal’, with new physical and social boundaries between people. A new life featuring new kinds of freedoms, though frequently more limited. It was also felt that our collective humanity is experienced in sharper focus as we try to imagine how the crisis affects different groups of people not only in Finland but around the world. Regarding national unity, thoughts turned to whether we are sailing in the same boat towards an uncertain future or whether the situation may be described more accurately as being caught in the same storm but in different vessels.

An extensive summary is given in Finnish on the Lockdown Dialogues website.

The next Lockdown Dialogues are on 26 May and 9 June. Some of the discussions are open to everyone, and some are for particular groups of participants. The discussion events are shown in the Lockdown Dialogues calendar list, to which there is a link below. The aim of the Lockdown Dialogues is to offer individuals, communities and groups the opportunity to engage in constructive discussion and to build an understanding about what it is like to live in Finland during the current crisis. Discussions are currently being planned by 51 different organisers from all corners of society – from private individuals to organisations, municipalities, companies, foundations and government ministries.

Responsibility for the coordination of the Lockdown Dialogues and the preparation, publishing and distribution of the summary material to central government and the municipalities is shared between Dialogue Academy, Timeout Foundation and the Ministry of Finance.

Inquiries:

Dialogue Academy: Janne Kareinen, Director, janne.kareinen(at)dialogiakatemia.fi, tel. +358 456316516

Timeout Foundation: Laura Arikka, CEO, laura.arikka(at)eratauko.fi, tel. +358 445792686

Ministry of Finance: Katju Holkeri, Senior Ministerial Adviser, katju.holkeri (at)vm.fi, tel. +358 407649880