Collective Imagination Practice Fund: What did we fund in year #1?

Summaries of the 30 collective imagination projects that received micro-funding in 2023.

Zahra Davidson
Collective Imagination Practice
16 min readJan 19, 2024

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Last year (2023) JRF’s Emerging Futures Team initiated the Collective Imagination Practice Community, working with Canopy, Huddlecraft and Centre for Public Impact to put this experiment into practice. JRF are renewing the funding for this work, allowing us to continue into year #2.

Alongside a programme of activities, in year #1 we distributed micro-funding that was made available for collective imagination practitioners to deepen their learning, practice, connections etc. We made decisions within the community via a Fund Circle approach, and distributed money transparently via Open Collective.

Below you’ll find a summary of everything the Fund Circle decided to fund in 2023. The range of work is fascinating, including multiple practices, themes, partners and participants. These projects are at various stages, and we are starting the process of collecting and harvesting learnings, insights and outputs, in a shared ‘seed planting scrapbook’. This is the first step to understanding the collective story that this work will tell.

Happy browsing!

Collective ‘scrapbook’ where fund recipients are collecting learnings

Batch #1

Phillip Cowell, Street Wisdom

Street Wisdom is a non-profit that brings people together on streets to exercise their imagination. We encourage people to use their bodies to take their imaginations for a walk, to solve problems, both personal and social. We would love the Practice Fund to support our annual event, called the World Wide Wander, which we held on 29th September 2023 in every continent around the world with partners such as CreativeMornings, Action for Happiness and DoNation. With support we can have even more impact, reaching more people including new communities we’ve not reached before and creating a vivid community imagination sharing moment which we will film and share online.

£1800.00

Lucia Nader

Support from the Practice Fund will allow me to create and develop a “Circle of Power and Imagination”. The Circle will gather around 10 Brazilian women human rights activists in leadership positions in NGOs and social movements. It is being created to collectively reimagine and regenerate the ways of seeing, being and doing activism. The grant will be used to support the launch of the initiative — during an in-person retreat in Brazil — and to foster pilot initiatives to be developed by the 10 women participants.

£1500.00

Evie Muir, Peaks of Colour

Abolition relies on our hope and imagination, two things that are impossible in the murky waters of burnout. Peaks of Colour will create ‘Considerations for Regenerative Activism’ — a toolkit which will explore how we foster this hope and imagination as an organisational, collective practice. We envision that the final output will look like a digital and printed political pamphlet which will outline both our research practice, our learnings and our recommendations for nature-led regenerative activism. Not only will this serve as a guiding document for our own organising, but we hope other grassroots abolitionist organisations can apply it to their own work too.

£3000

Olivia Franklin, Living Worlds

Building on 6 years of the successful Folkestone based Normal? Festival of the Brain, Living Words are co-curating a new, hybrid 2-day Normal? Field Trip in Folkestone, which will be open to the whole community (targeting vulnerable adults, specifically neurodiverse people, those with mental health challenges and those with lived experience of self harm). Normal? Field Trip is about collectively coming together to reflect on the past 3 years and look to the future — to envision our lives differently, with hope and optimism. There will be creative partnerships between artists or scientists and self-nominated individuals from the community, to develop creative output to share at Normal? Field Trip. Funding from the Practice Fund will support 3 of these creative partnerships.

£3000

Dr Steven Pool

Austerity Britain has taken its toll on the adventure play movement. Many have closed or drifted away from their original purpose and commitment to providing open access free play. The playgrounds that remain are the social glue and melting pots in areas suffering from multiple issues, concerns and fragmentation. They develop capability for collective imagining. With support from the Practice Fund I will take 2 members of staff on a field trip to visit and talk with other playgrounds and exchange ideas. We know that some playgrounds in London and Wales have innovative and sustainable approaches and would like to visit them and talk to the play workers and managers. I will produce a short film that will capture the trips and the learnings.

£1800

Pooja Sitpura

I will experiment with the Three Horizons Framework with a group of women of colour working in the creative industries, in order to deepen our imagination practice and grow our capacity to consider possibilities at the ‘edges of wisdom’. Using the IFF’s Breakfast script, gathering with Women of Colour to discuss all that stands in the way of us making a difference. We will create a road map that will show where we are going and how we are going to get there, and will share this along with documentation and a distillation of learnings in the form of a blog/reflection.

£2500

Abdirahim Hassan, Coffee Afrique

We wish to collaborate with Land In Our Names to enhance our eco action hub in Tower Hamlets, to create ‘embodied alchemical resilience imaginations’ with Black communities, and build civic resilience in the face of urban stressors. We will create a functional community garden where we will hold sessions with young Black men and elders, to share knowledge across generations and reconnect with land justice principles. We will share knowledge with LION and form a collaboration in East London that can become a blueprint for other collectives, for future collaborations, and that will help us to source additional funding streams to continue providing community healing gardens. We will share the process in a blog for the Collective Imagination Practice Community.

£2500

Rae Turpin

This funding will enable the collation and publication of a zine titled “Imagining Multispecies Belonging”: a ‘recipe’ book of practices evoking more-than-human community-makings. It aligns itself with the concept-practice of ‘becoming-with’ as a means of radical reconfiguration of relations with the self, and simultaneously human and non-human others. Recipes will be invited internationally, from practitioners, artists, researchers, community facilitators, activists and more who are deploying principles of embodied imagination in the (re)making of reciprocal kinships. The fund will cover a small print run, with zines being distributed amongst collaborating practitioners, partnering organisations in my (Rae’s) home city, and other interested parties throughout the collective imagination community.

£850

Steph French

Support from the Practice Fund will allow me to facilitate a systemic constellation workshop to bring together NGOs in the food and farming sphere to explore one or more issues of polarisation (progress towards sustainability goals in food and farming is potentially being hindered by polarisation as regards the ‘right’ solutions, for example: meat vs. plant-based; regenerative vs. industrial and cheap food vs. true cost accounting). The change in dynamics resulting from systemic constellation work can take some time to be embedded and results may thus not be immediately apparent. However I intend to share the learnings from the experience in as much detail as possible whilst respecting the confidentiality of participants.

£1500

Joon-Lynn Goh and Hanna Thomas Uose

‘Writing Ourselves Into The Future’ will be a workshop exploring how speculative writing practices can support organisers to more boldly imagine and build towards border abolition. This funding will allow us to; produce a public conversation exploring how speculative writing practices can support organisers to more boldly imagine and build towards border abolition; seed a network of writers and organisers, centred on the lived experience of migration, diaspora, displacement and/or racialisation; document a conversation that can be disseminated for further and future audiences as part of the Collective Imagination Practice Community; share an action plan that can grow imagination infrastructures around a border abolition movement.

£3000

Dominique Souris and Karan Kumar

We are in a climate emergency with unchecked inequality and rising homophobia around the world. How can queering the ways we convene and collaborate — by centering queer identities and liberation principles — help us move beyond the status quo? This funding enabled us to design and pilot a first “Queering Climate” event to explore this question. Partnering with QueerBrownVegan and centering the voices and experiences of Global South-based queer climate activists, the sold-out event convened queers + allies to explore the role of queer leadership and collective imagination in advancing justice-based climate action during the largest climate event in the world: New York Climate Week. The outcomes included the start of a budding collective of climate practitioners exploring radical possibilities, creation of the Queering Climate Toolkit, and planting of seeds for new ways of working, including how this collective can work together at key climate policy moments to achieve breakthroughs.

£2500

Annegret Affolderbach

In the face of ecological and societal crisis, many of us are reconfiguring the world as we know it, seeking new forms of belonging to ourselves, each other and in kinship with the wider living world. ‘we used to lay in meadows dreaming’ is a Daydream Experiment evolving a sensory ecological daydream practice inspired by magnificent meadows. This field experiment is an invitation for us to dream, to re-align and envision ourselves as joyful, creative and thriving ecologies. We will sense the stories and possibilities that might thrive from such a diverse place. The process of this experiment will bring alive a collective imagination practice that gives the wider living world a voice whilst reminding us of our interconnectedness with nature. It will widen the field of our collective imagination and flourish our sensuous perceptions in kinship with the wider living world.

£3000

Georgia Bondy

I will produce an online collective imagination event focussed on disabled joy. Disabled joy is joy experienced because of being disabled, not in-spite of being disabled. I would like to invite disabled people together for an online event where we use our collective imagination to further develop the concept of disabled joy. We will introduce collective imagination practice to a wider community of people through the event and write up the reflections about the practice of disabled joy in the form of a blog post that will be shared with the community.

£2000

Camelia Muldermans, Curious Collective

We would like to explore collective imagination practice through transitions in adolescence and co-curate arts-move-make sessions with young women aged 12 to 15 years in south London. We recognise that young people in our neighbourhoods have many individual differences and superpowers, often positioned at the intersections of marginalisation. We will document the imaginings and map this journey to share as part of a Collective Imagination Community Archive.

£2940

Gustavo Montes

With support from the Practice Fund we will pilot a process that will create a “climate-positive cinematic universe guide” for creators of scripted TV, film, and games, to base their next creations in. The guide will help them — and therefore their audience — to collectively imagine a future we all want, in meaningful, evocative, inspiring detail. Scripted TV and film fails to engage meaningfully in the polycrisis and the ecological and human costs of our current trajectory. This should be the place where we engage with the future we want to inhabit (and reflect the reality of the present we do inhabit). Most of these cultural works are actually a bad science fiction of an alternate reality that split off a hundred years ago where “externalities” did not exist.

£2000

Kate Jago

Our Imagining gathered 20 people from across Devon, to connect across 3 conversations: The Great Imagining event for Earth Day in Exeter, a University of Exeter study on eco-anxiety and the beginnings of Exeter’s exploration of Doughnut Economics. We explored the idea of an Imaginarium, beginning a collective discussion to create a resource for the wider community. We propose a Declaration — inspired by Dougald Hine, to create a new map. We’re publishing imaginings in multiple formats to share across the city and our wider group.

£2000

Anthea Moys

Artist and practice researcher, Anthea Moys, commissioned by the Collective Imagination Practice Fund, will attend several sessions to creatively reflect on supported projects. Through alternative reporting methods operating like a magpie/dramaturg using abstract art and recordings, she aims to capture the essence of the events, weaving a polyvocal reflective tapestry of sorts for the community. This documentation will contribute to a collective reflection, linking the practice with other fund-supported projects. The final work will be accessible online, inviting additional perspectives to allow the project to evolve collaboratively.

£1500

Kassamira Carter-Howard

I am requesting funding for a project I am catalyzing called, Dream Together, an online community of practice that reclaims black and indigenous ways of knowing by engaging neurodiverse and BIPOC communities across the globe in the practice of collective dreaming. Through art-making, storytelling, and a variety of other creative, sacred, healing arts practices, I am exploring what becomes possible when we weave together the wisdom within our dreams, and how that can shape new/ different/exciting visions of the future. We will create an archive of dream rituals and practices that have been handed down from ancestors and past generations.

£3000

Earthed Community: Katy Kent, Al Kennedy, Jaime Blakeley-Glover & Jeremy Le-Fevre

EARTHED is a community of change-makers nurturing a ‘learning ground’ to create the spaces and support the practices for the transition to a regenerative future. Between summer and winter solstice 2023, we’re prototyping the ‘Earthed Residency’ a peer learning community based on 17 acres of land between Bristol and Bath. Our intention is to nurture an emerging community of nature-inspired practitioners, exploring their own inquiries and regenerative practices. We request funding to support us to create, capture, and document an imagination practice as a community through a deeply embodied connection with the land. Alongside this we’ll share reflections as ‘hosts’ of the residency experiment, to share back with the Collective Imaginations community.

£750

Abdul Semakula

Support from the Practice Fund will help me with my project ‘Kiwatule Omuntu: A Place as a Living Person’. I will organise a collective imagination event to engage Kiwatule (Kampala, Uganda) residents in imagining their place as a living person — a mother who enables people to co-evolve with nature. This is the initiation towards an endstate of Collective Governance in which places have personhood rights and are active participants in the economy — where the role of citizens upgrades from consuming to caring and protecting the natural and social vitality of their places. I have written more about this place and project here. The goal of this work is to revitalise Kiwatule from a place dense with urban housing built in a swampy/wetland area to its true essence of a green corridor dense with biodiversity supporting urban farming as well as human settlement on both sides of the valley.

£2985

Batch #2

Tiphaine Taileux, The Visionaries

We are an emerging community of ~20 educators exploring how we can imagine and enact urgent regenerative paradigm shifts in education. We are looking to the Collective Imagination Practice Fund to help us put on a RegeneratED Collective Imagination Day. The day will be framed around ‘Autumn’ and the seasonal shifts and symbolism it brings. This will be the second gathering of this group of educators to continue to deepen their ecological imagination practice, to connect with allied practitioners and together lay the foundations on which we plan to expand the community of practice over the coming year, with a diverse group of educators across the UK (school leaders, youth workers, facilitators, youth activists, alternative education practitioners, teachers…) who want to work together to put nature’s wisdom at the heart of educational thinking and practice.

£2400

Hilary Powell

POWER is a ‘show and do’ project building a solar POWER STATION across the rooftops (streets, schools, community buildings) of North East London via enacting a grassroots Green New Deal — working with art and infrastructure to tackle the interlinked climate/energy/cost of living crises. We’ve also been growing 1000s of sunflowers on the street and in the neighbourhood to hold a community celebration and manifest a solar punk vision of what a street could be. We harvested the sunflowers around Autumn Equinox 2023 to host workshops on seed saving, seed dyes, print and ecology. In 2024 we are launching our feature documentary film and hope to inspire and trigger action on other streets across the UK.. We really value the funding contribution towards the creation of a publication that will host this learning and signpost to online resources that will help others set up their own POWER STATIONS, a local demonstration of collective imagination. This publication (the ‘Sun’) will share (and be made using) collective imagination practices.

£1900

Penny Hay

With Professor Vlad Glaveanu I co-hosted the ‘Ecologies of Collective Imagination’ Huddle where we invited the participants to think together about how nature can be a source and a driver of the imagination and sense of possibility for individuals and communities. This additional funding brought the Huddle together in person and online at Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking in Stroud, to collaborate and experiment in order to further develop and share our collective imagination, thinking and practice. We documented our processes, created artworks and will share our learning and practices with the Collective Imagination Practice Community via a blog post (and more!)

£2000

Phillippa Banister, Street Space

As part of the ‘Your Town Jam’ Huddle I’ve been exploring a learning question: ‘What if toddlers were at the heart of Shipley’ (the town where I live). Over the past 2 months I’ve conducted small scale experiments and hosted a ‘toddler waddle’ into town, exploring with my toddler to understand how she experiences and negotiates our local streets and spaces, what she enjoys and notices, what sparks her curiosity, what she plays with. This action research has led me to want to understand how street furniture decisions are made in our built environment spaces. I’m requesting funding to explore this and co-create useful and accessible tools for highways engineers to ‘swap’, ‘switch’ or ‘tweak’ elements of regular street design for more playable and playful solutions that deliver the same purpose. The hope is for this response to support engineers to re-imagine the status quo when new schemes are being developed or old ones retrofitted. By supporting our urban spaces to centre play and nature, we can unleash new realms of civic imagination and free officers shackled by the ‘power’ of the way things have always been done before.

£2000

Kavitha Ravikumar

In light of the 2023 release of the motion picture ‘Barbie’ (Gerwig, 2023), Anna Bertmark and I seek to leverage the narrative power of Barbie to imagine pluralistic references and role models for womanhood(s) in an age of climate crises. We take advantage of the script’s omission of climate justice in its discourse and seek to playfully reclaim her for our present selves and our future envisioned selves. This will be in the form of two experimental workshops aimed at creating collective collage artworks that desire to “reclaim Barbie” through collective imagining, combining the method of identity collages (Dao, 2021) with audiovisual assemblages designed to break the audiovisual contract between sound and image.

£400

Abi Makepeace

I will engage local people from community groups (including vulnerable people experiencing challenges, for example with mental health) as ‘cooperative world builders’, by conducting 3 community botanical dying workshops and 3 community sewing workshops. Participants will join me to: collect wild-growing dyeing plants, prepare the plants for dyeing, dye textiles and produce a sewn article (such as a scarf or shirt), and patch together pieces to create a community quilt. During and between the workshops we will reflect on questions including ‘how can we create a model for social unlearning?’, ‘what are our assumptions about progress?’, ‘how can we reimagine the textile industry?’ and ‘how can we shift our ways of doing things to oppose dominant capitalist ideologies?’. This project will deepen community ties, re-engage with the natural world, foster and disseminate new and ancient skills, and encourage participants to try on ‘cooperative world builder’ as an identity.

£2000

Angelica Udueni, Cradle Community

We founded Cradle Community in 2018 with the vision to build a world without need for prisons and police, through the radical practice of Transformative Justice. Inspired by Abolitionist organisers in the Americas, we found there was a need for work and skill sharing specific to the UK context, whilst still building international solidarity. We come from a variety of backgrounds, and are all queer PoC who are committed to tackling violence in interpersonal relationships as well as from the state — which we see as intrinsically connected. In 2021, we published a book ‘Brick by Brick: How we build a world without prisons’, with Hajar Press. Funding will support us to test new workshop ideas, prompts and activities to put into our ‘Brick by Brick Workbook’, which we will release as a free practical resource in 2024/2025 and share with the Collective Imagination Practice Community.

£1900

Jenny Peevers

I aim to capture a collective practice called ‘finding place’, taking forward the learning question I developed as part of the Huddle ‘Your Town Jam’: “How can I best contribute to disrupting the social, economic and environmental power structures in Morecambe?”. I will work collaboratively with artists and an environmental geographer, and members of Morecambe’s Good Things Collective to explore the empathetic learning of Morecambe: to explore fluid, heterogeneous and more-than-human rhythms of place. The approach aims to develop empathy and disrupt the surging gentrification as a result of Eden Project Morecambe, drawing on Henri Lefebvre’s concept of Rythmanalysis. There will be up to 6 ‘multisensory wanderings’ with small groups of residents, including Good Things Collective members, facilitated by artist Ellie Barrett and environmental geographer Dr Catherine Oliver. Artist Jamie Jenkinson will capture the process through smartphone video. There will be a final sharing event to share food, the video and each others experiences of the wanderings.

£2350

Inez Aponte

I will pilot a Creative Listening Lab, developing and delivering a workshop using the tools of theatre improvisation, body mind centering, art making and voice work (helping people attune to both their own inner voice and the voices of the world around them). The workshop will allow the Collective Imagination Practice Community to explore the impacts of each modality, and their uses in different settings and with different audiences. This will help me develop a toolkit that can be used in different situations, not all of them being workshop settings. Participants will develop a practice of deep listening, which I consider the foundation stone of imagination practice. Questions we might explore include: Who needs this work most? How can a small version of this be transfered to a different setting, like a school, workplace or sports club? What systemic changes might we bring about by using small imaginative acts in unexpected places? The Lab’s results will be collated into a guide with practical tools for awakening the collective imagination.

£1000

Adah Parris, Mandy Holden, Mary Stevens

We are applying for funding to create an ‘empathy map’ and 3-minute sample immersive sound art piece, which reimagines the Greenwich/Deptford border community as entangled with the intricate web of life in the neighbourhood. Sound has been chosen as the primary medium because it transcends language barriers. We are hosting a series of Mbari street wisdom walks with the community to capture stories and experiences of the natural world, alongside elevating often overlooked sounds and signs of more-than-human animism in the neighbourhood. We are using the walks as a vision quest for participants to remember and express their inherent wisdom as part of nature, in response to the question “What type of ancestor do you want to be?”. We believe the wider impact of this work is through using empathy (and empathy mapping specifically) as a tool to imagine collectively.

£2757.36

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