One of the consequences of so much moving online during lockdowns, is that many people who are normally excluded became able to participate. Clearly we could do more to include people who cannot travel to events, but as the people who always could do the things get back to normal, people at the margins are again left out.
There are many barriers to attending real-world events. Illness and disability can make it really hard to go places. Poverty is a big barrier to participation – travel, accommodation and event tickets aren’t cheap. People who are carers can have a hard time getting out to events. For people on unpredictable zero hours contracts or with massively involved jobs – such as farming – can find it hard to take breaks. When you start to consider the number of people excluded from venue-based events, it’s hard to see why we don’t take this a lot more seriously.
I’ve been involved with online events for years – the Pagan Federation were doing them long before covid struck. I put a lot of content online in no small part because I know what it’s like not to have any disposable income for nice things. But, I want to go further. To that end, I’m organising an online festival for late January. It’s going to be based around the Hopeless Maine project and will include many of the people who are already involved. It should be highly entertaining.
My hope is that I’ll be able to do this every year. January is a miserable time (for me, anyway) and I think getting out to things is harder when the weather is against you. And hopefully it will provide some cheer for people who might otherwise be less cheered.