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From the file

Coping with Covid-19 | Dystopian movies and books have – more than ever – given us a mirror to hold up to our own society. The shudder that generally accompanies a peek into an imagined near-future has felt even more pronounced during lockdown.

How do we live with loneliness?


About this ThinkIn

Why is the 21st century the loneliest ever, and what can we do about it?

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Even before Covid-19 made the term ‘social distancing’ so familiar, UK government statistics reported that up to a fifth of all UK adults feel lonely most or all of the time. Loneliness is beginning to affect us all, and often in surprising ways. What is the “loneliness economy” and how should we feel about it? Why does AI risk making us feel even more lonely? What is the link between loneliness and politics – could loneliness even affect the outcome of the US election? Join Noreena Hertz, author of The Lonely Century, and other invited experts to explore why the 21st century is the loneliest ever, and how we can learn to cope with it.

Editor: James Harding, Editor and Co-founder, Tortoise

Buy Noreena’s book here

Our invited experts include:

Noreena Hertz is an economist, best-selling author and broadcaster. She was named by The Observer as “one of the world’s leading thinkers”. Her new book, The Lonely Century, is out now.

Baroness Barran MBE was appointed Minister for Civil Society in July 2019, with a responsibility for the cross-government work programme on tackling loneliness. She has previously had extensive experience in the charity sector, including founder and and chief executive of the domestic abuse charity SafeLives for 13 years until 2019.

How does a digital ThinkIn work?

A digital ThinkIn is like a video conference, hosted by a Tortoise editor, that takes place at the advertised time of the event. Digital ThinkIns are new to Tortoise. Now that our newsroom has closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, we feel it’s more important than ever that we ‘get together’ to talk about the world and what’s going on.

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What is a Tortoise ThinkIn?

A ThinkIn is not another panel discussion. It is a forum for civilised disagreement. It is a place where everyone has a seat at the (virtual) table. It’s where we get to hear what you think, drawn from your experience, energy and expertise. It is the heart of what we do at Tortoise.

Even before Covid-19 made the term ‘social distancing’ so familiar, UK government statistics reported that up to a fifth of all UK adults feel lonely most or all of the time. Loneliness is beginning to affect us all, and often in surprising ways. What is the “loneliness economy” and how should we feel about it? Why does AI risk making us feel even more lonely? What is the link between loneliness and politics – could loneliness even affect the outcome of the US election? Join Noreena Hertz, author of The Lonely Century, and other invited experts to explore why the 21st century is the loneliest ever, and how we can learn to cope with it.

Buy Noreena’s book here


Watch now

Read up
Editor and invited experts

James Harding
Co-founder and Editor

Noreena Hertz
Economist, best-selling author and broadcaster. She was named by The Observer as “one of the world’s leading thinkers”. Her new book, The Lonely Century, is out now.

Christina Victor
Professor of Gerontology and Public Health and Vice Dean (Research) in the College of Health and Life Sciences at Brunel University. She was the winner of the 2017 British Society of Gerontology Outstanding Achievement Award for her significant contribution to the public understanding of ageing and for a body of research which has advanced global knowledge of loneliness, social isolation, ethnicity and health.

Baroness Barran
Minister for Civil Society since July 2019, with a responsibility for the cross-government work programme on tackling loneliness. She has previously had extensive experience in the charity sector, having founded and run the domestic abuse charity SafeLives for 13 years until 2019, worked at the charity sector think tank New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) and been a trustee for Comic Life.