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This week Professor Mona Siddiqui, Assistant Principal Religion and Society, reflects on our new backdrops and how they’re bringing us closer together.

As more and more people are doing TV broadcasts from their homes, it’s now common to see celebrities, politicians, academics and journalists speak to the nation from the room and backdrop of their choice.  Suddenly we’re getting a glimpse into other people’s houses, their décor, their awards and trophies, their personal clutter, and of course their groaning bookshelves. Everyone is presenting an image of themselves through these backgrounds, trying to achieve the right level of gravitas without appearing pretentious. Books are everywhere although so far, I haven’t seen any of my books in anyone’s book case!

This new and necessary way of interviewing gives us more of an insight into a person than simply their professional role. Seeing how people react when their children accidentally walk into the room, or what’s drying on their radiators, we can see our own lives reflected in the messy and often haphazard nature of home as people try to work. Home doesn’t need to be perfect or always ready. It’s a reflection of all that’s going on in our lives, both a charged and a relaxed environment, a space which can be both demanding and comforting at the same time.

As we manage our work over the next few weeks and months, let’s use this time to think deeper, to stretch our imagination about the possibilities of our work. Yes, so much is uncertain and not every day can be productive. But that’s okay; life is both struggle and hope. Whatever external image we’re all presenting to the outside world, it’s our inner world which matters more. And sometimes true inspiration comes only when we learn to be kinder to ourselves.