Announcing Social Possibility Lab’s Essay Contest and Contributor Call!

Our Summer Contest Theme:  Crisis and Possibility 

Description:  We seek thoughtfully crafted contemporary essays on the connections between crisis and possibility.   The crises of the moment are multiple.  It can seem pollyannaish to even speak or write in this moment of hope, or of possibility.  Nonetheless, crises and turmoil do spark change, for good as well as for ill.   We believe it important to consider the types of possibilities that might be needed, desired, and realized. 

We welcome a broad and creative range of responses related to our theme.   The questions below are offered to spark ideas and responses:   

  • How do we respond to suffering, pain, crisis, and long-standing concerns of equity and justice in substantive and healing ways, without minimizing the significance of the problem?    
  • How might individuals, communities, leaders or social enterprises (such as social good entrepreneurs, start-ups, and sustainability-focused organizations) help create or discover new possibilities? 
  • How do we engage meaningfully to work for change to across divides, including areas of difference such as race, class, ethnicity, religion and partisan affiliation?    
  • What does it mean to explore possibility in our current moment? What might that work involve?
  • How do we best listen to, learn from, or share the stories of others, especially those experiencing pain, suffering or injustice?
  • How do we work to address, alleviate, and alter the persistent, pervasive, structural and institutional factors that contribute to inequity, injustice, and suffering, and give rise to crisis?
  • In what ways are the crises of economy, equity, environment and justice related or interconnected?  What lessons or insights might we consider across these seemingly disparate challenges? 

We welcome both conceptual and creative submissions as well as those that employ specific example, research findings, or thick description to share in some part a story of a community, organization, or individual.  We strongly prefer submissions that are not simply laudatory, over-simplified profiles, but instead offer nuanced, thoughtful, and complex narratives and explorations.  

We invite essay-style contributions of 2,500-5,000 words.   Submissions should not be previously published and should be geared for a more general readership (not solely an academic audience).  Again, creative responses are welcome and encouraged.   Surprise us! 

Deadline:   August 1, 2020 (date may be extended as needed to ensure a minimum number of submissions)

E-mail pitches or full submissions to

All submissions become eligible for website publication and we will also select a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner.   Winners are guaranteed featured publication status and the 1st place winner will receive a $500 cash prize, the 2nd place winner $250, and the third place winner $100.    Beyond the contest opportunity, we invite all those who submit to let us know if they would like an opportunity to regularly contribute content.   Contributors should be willing to submit one essay-style post per month. 

Publication and contest winner decisions are solely at the discretion of our project team and submissions may be edited for tone, clarity, concision, or more.  

Look for our next themed submission opportunity later in 2020!