The Relationships Project Observatory

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Project description

The Relationships Project Observatory set out to watch, catch and help sustain responses to COVID with the potential to improve social relationships. We did this through:

  • Lots of reading and online monitoring.
  • Regular discussions with our network around specific themes.
  • Published 'Sightings’ summarising our learnings every couple of weeks.
  • A final report, The Moment We Noticed, pulling these findings together and proposing constructive ways to build on lessons learned.
  • Five invitations to future collaboration linked to this report. 
  • Spirit of Lockdown Storybook tool to help people and organisations reflect on their relationships through COVID.

What was your aim and why?

To identify constructive lessons that can help us build a better society, rooted in stronger relationships, after the pandemic. Our mindset from the start was that although the pandemic represents a time of great pain and upheaval, this upheaval was likely to contain valuable lessons.

What was different about this approach?

Three things, primarily: 

  • We are looking specifically for lessons around building better social relationships.
  • The Observatory has been rooted firmly in our belief in the need to listen and be humble, rather than to confidently prescribe solutions.
  • Specifically, we have focused on listening for voices that are typically marginalised or unheard.

What is the impact and benefit for people?

The forum we’ve created through the Observatory has been a valuable space for people and organisations - ourselves included - to reflect on the significance and lessons of COVID for relationships. This, in turn, has helped us identify routes for future collaboration that we think will be fruitful in terms of embedding positive changes. The specific impacts of these threads will be relatively long-term, and relatively dispersed given the collaborative nature of the work. 

Is the solution sustainable post Covid-19?

We don’t really consider ourselves to be proposing a solution. Rather, we are proposing a continued response rooted in ongoing listening, discussion and collaboration, centred around five invitations relating to themes to have emerged from the Observatory. We feel this is sustainable, at least while the wide range of people and organisations that have been involved in the Observatory see the value in continuing the discussions.

More information

The Relationships Project Observatory and by reading the Moment We Noticed.