When the anthropologist Verónica Reyero presented in Readmagine her insights on consumer trends during the lock-down there were few data on the hands of the content industry and the publishing community was very interested on understanding the impact of those extreme conditions might have upon this industry.
Reyero was introduced by Luis González (Director General of Fundación GSR) as new effort from Readmagine to take a stock of how the people were behaving during the two or three first months of global crisis.
The first idea from Reyor was: “Homo Sapiens have a great capacity to adapt to new contexts -we can live in the Sahara desert at over 45 ºC and in the North Pole under 30ºC. Its no surprise how quickly two thirds of the world´s population adapted to a total lock-down”.
The questions discussed in June remain for 2021
What things will remain the same and what will change after Covid-19?
The social effects and consequences of confinement have been studied in the past by anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists. However, cases studied in the past were mostly focused on jail prisoners, and/or social experiments -like having a group of people in a small boat on the sea for a month-, and other extreme situations. But, what happened in our homes since March? How have we been thinking and behaving? Has this situation changed us? And if so, how and why? The covid effects on our behaviours and attitudes requires a close examination.
Many people reconnected with themselves, their houses, spouses, and even far friends and families through the numerous videocalls that happened in the first weeks. We started expecting free resources due to covid from every company. After some weeks we started talking about “zoom fatigue” and returning to the classics: baking, and paper books. Our rituals changed: We stopped putting on make-up before leaving the house, and we started cleaning the food packages before putting them away in our pantries. However, as weeks past by we realized most of the observable changes we can see are actually not changes, just boosters of things that were already happening. Corona has been the accelerator to many already existing trends.
Remote work was already pending for years, and now it arrived to our lives in a matter of days. Digital surveillance has been around for a while, we just didnt realize how it was being used. And our tendencies on reading in different formats, platforms, and ways, has also flourished. “So, did people read more or les during covid confinement?” You might be asking yourself. People actually read about the same. Those who didint read before covid did not suddenly become book nerds. And those who usually read, might had more time to read, but probably they also had more difficulties concentrating. However, how we read, the type of content we demand, and the ways we share and learn with each other have been updated in creative ways.
Verónica Reyero is a business anthropologist based in Valencia, Spain. She graduated in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Granada and holds a Master’s degree on Rational Use of Medicines from the University of Valencia. As a researcher, Veronica has worked both in public and private organisations in national and international projects for various sectors including health, food, technology and Real Estate. Verónica is one of the founding partners of Antropología 2.0, a pioneering agency in applying an anthropological understading to business challenges. Reyero is also convener of the Applied Anthropology Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA).
The Readmagine’s team asked her to propose a motto or a general statement linked to the cultural industries and she shared this idea: “Culture as a shared set of believes, behaviours and values is constantly being remodelled”.
Readmagine 2020 managed to adapt to the impossibility of bringing the participants together at Casa del Lector as in previous editions through a collaboration and digitization strategy. This organization along with Digital Publishing Summit adapted to the difficulties that arose for a physical event during the first wave of Covid-19 for a meeting very much based on the interaction of some professionals with others at the very beginning of June. The challenge that involved quite a few risks has catapulted Readmagine as a global event, which during these days is bringing together 550 professionals from the international publishing industry.