Reimagining Glimpse

James Turner
6 min readMar 14, 2024

Glimpse has always been an experiment. What would happen if we hijacked the power of advertising to sell the values that actually make life meaningful — like connection with nature, compassion for others, of more joy and less stuff?

Over the last eight years we’ve tried lots of different ways to realise that vision. We started as a volunteer collective on projects like C.A.T.S and the People’s Podium, before teaming up with charities like Choose Love and RSPB to create pop-up shops and birdsong singles.

More recently we’ve become an independent campaigning organisation with grant funding. We’ve helped grassroots groups to sing, grow and repair their way to climate action, rung the bell for cargo bikes on London’s streets, and used comedy to highlight the role of fossil fuels in advertising.

Our most recent project was yet another evolution — opening the world’s first Agency For Nature with top young creatives and our friends at Purpose Disruptors.

Now it’s time to reimagine Glimpse once again. From April this year our active work will come to an end, and we’ll hand over our current campaigns to other organisations. I’m taking a sabbatical and getting my hands into the soil, and the rest of the team are moving onto pastures new.

In nature everything moves in cycles. From the seed of an idea to the explosion of growth and colour, to a period of reflection and composting which allows new life to emerge. After the intensity of the last few years we’re now in the slower composting phase, passing on our nutrients and experiences to others who can use them, while dreaming of what’s next.

This doesn’t need to be a source of sadness. My main feeling is a kind of pride and amazement that the experiment worked. We put creativity at the heart of everything we did and stayed true to the soulful, playful ethos of Glimpse. From the tens of thousands of customers in the Choose Love stores to the smiles that greeted Climate Nan’s caravan, people love to see creativity used in positive ways. There is so much potential for this work.

In fact, one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that creativity can boost pretty much any campaign out there. We’ve worked on refugee support, climate change, nature connection, farming, even the bond market. We opened shops, made websites, held street parties and painted murals. One of the things I love most about Glimpse is our willingness to entertain any idea, however unfamiliar, then just figure out how to make it happen. Huge credit goes to our incredible creative producers for that.

And so without changing anything, we would have continued doing more positive, creative campaigns across many different issues. We could have kept growing, had a bigger team and built our profile too.

But over the past couple of years I’ve started to feel that running this broad range of projects has taken us away from the core purpose of Glimpse. I’m not entirely sure how to define this, but I know that to truly realise the vision we need to go smaller and deeper.

That’s why I’ve taken the decision to hand over our current campaigns to teams who can optimise them, while I focus in on the core purpose. In lots of ways this is less of an ending and more of an evolution, allowing these brilliant campaigns to grow and develop according to their own needs.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening:

  • Agency For Nature will flourish under the expert gardening of Lisa Merrick Lawless and the Purpose Disruptors
  • Inside Job will morph into a creative climate studio with the uber talented Oli Frost and the new team at Serious People.
  • Cargo Revolution will step up another gear with Edie Gill Holder in the saddle
  • Climate Nan’s Caravan is on tour again this summer for a feast of colourful workshops (and biscuits)
  • Glimpse design director Mike Andrews has launched his own studio to offer top-class design and branding for many of these projects and more
  • The Glimpse Collective of over 3500 people will be invited to join other impressive networks like Creatives 4 Climate and Purpose Disruptors.

At a personal level I’m going to rest, look after my young daughters and reconnect with nature. My sabbatical starts in April and runs until the end of the year, and I’m excited and a bit nervous to be embarking on a WildWise training course in Dartmoor. I’ll be learning how to take groups into nature and help them rediscover their love for the more-than-human world.

I’ve come to believe that a deeper relationship with nature is at the heart of the ‘great turning’ the world needs right now. You can make all kinds of rational arguments for this, including the benefits to mental health, attitudes to conservation and even climate policy. But beyond the science it’s just something that feels right in my heart. I know I’m not alone in this, and yet our institutions and leaders seem utterly divorced from what our culture is truly yearning for.

I’m hoping to use this time of composting and slowness to germinate some seed bombs for the future. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do next, and I don’t want to rush into anything either. My main intention for this year is to trust the process and open myself up to whatever is waiting to emerge.

In the words of Robert Henri:

The object isn’t to make art,

it’s to be in that wonderful state

which makes art inevitable.

Whatever happens, I don’t plan on using the Glimpse name or brand in the future. It’s been a truly beautiful thing and it deserves to go out on a (natural) high. We’re creating a photo book, tidying up the website and trying to put things to bed with the reverence they deserve. I want the next thing to look and feel different, a new seedling and a fresh start.

Most importantly I want to thank everyone in the Glimpse orbit for your ideas, energy and belief over the past eight years. This has been an experiment based as much on collaboration and community as the magic of creativity. You are all part of its success and I am deeply grateful.

From the early volunteer hack-days to our recent work with talented artists and creatives, Glimpse has always felt bigger than the sum of its parts. It hasn’t always worked, but we’ve always tried to see ourselves not as a single entity but as part of an intricate web of life, constantly unfolding and finding its right shape.

As we enter the next phase, I invite you to unfold along too.

C.A.T.S, 2016
Choose Love store opening, 2019
Climate Nan’s Caravan, 2023
Agency For Nature, 2024

‘Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.

On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.’

Arundhati Roy

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James Turner

Founder of Glimpse, a new collective for creative people who want to use their skills for good. WeGlimpse.co