Rewilding Imaginations — why we need young people in re-imagining society

Phoebe Tickell
Oct 29, 2021 · 4 min read

Earlier this month I took part in the UK Cultural Leaders Online Breakfast where I was invited to speak about how we can all work together to amplify the building of a collective imagination towards a Greener, Fairer, Kinder, Wiser world.

This was hosted by The Great Imagining and some fantastic young people who are part of the project as “TGI Radicles”. Part of the invitation was:

Your institutions make up the cultural backbone of the nation and collectively,
are perfectly placed to stimulate public imagination — inspiring a paradigm
shift towards a world that works.

Some of the guests invited included representatives from Southbank Centre, Crafts Council, Arts Council, Barbican, BBC, British Council, Eden Project, Glastonbury Festival among others.

The invitation went out to reach and encompass all of UK society and infrastructure, including:

✱ Cultural Institutions — dedicated to the dissemination and exploration of cultural activity -
museums, galleries, arts organisations and festivals
✱ Charities and NGO’s — dedicated to a greener, fairer, wiser world — ecology, animals, human social
health and well being, community
✱ Creatives — individuals who innovate and create — artists, designers, writers, musicians, engineers
and creative thinkers
✱ Education — organisations or departments whose purpose is education and research -
universities, schools, colleges and training centres
✱ Business and Industry — the organisations that supply all our needs — energy, supply chains,
logistics, resource suppliers, value added products, unions
✱ Leisure and entertainment — how we spend our leisure — sports associations, entertainment and
visitor attractions
✱ Finance and economics — organisations that distribute or deal with money — banks, economic
forums, trusts and foundations
✱ Faith and community — organisations that are connected with community building — National
associations such as scouts, religious organisations
✱ Health and wellbeing — organisations to improve human health — hospital trusts, doctors
surgeries, clinics and centres
✱ Public service — state run organisations — Police, civil service, law, local and national government,
citizens assemblies,
✱ Young leaders — youth lead organisations, focus groups and departments — cultural institutions,
activism and politics

I was invited as a guest speaker to speak about Moral Imaginations and why we need a movement of morals and imagination, with young people at the heart of that.

When I was asked about why young people need to be at the heart of collective imagination, I said:

I think young people are part of the key to an imagination-powered society. As adults, we have already moved through an education system, our workplaces, conditioning through other societal interactions, which slowly lead to a colonisation of the imagination. How we decolonise and re-wild our imaginations is key. However children and young people are part of that equation. They have still got a relatively un-colonised imagination, and even in terms of neuroplasticity their ability to imagine other possibilities without immediately defaulting to what is ‘rational’ or ‘sensible’ is much larger. Giving young people a voice in the re-imagination of our society is crucial.

Some of the great organisations present on the call also working on imagination were:

Climate Museum UK and the research they did, listening to young people & adults who work with them on how cultural education can respond to the Earth crisis https://climatemuseumuk.org/2021/05/25/listen-and-respond-cultural-learning-in-the-earth-crisis/

Institute of Imagination www.ioi.london

A current architecture/arts/design perspective on generating collective climate scenarios by Renata Tyszczuk: https://www.collective-scenarios.co.uk/

A good resource for institutions trying to slash their enviro impact: https://www.fftf.org.uk/home

Lots of museums use this framework: https://www.museumsassociation.org/campaigns/museums-change-lives/power-to-the-people/

The Design Museum is hoping to open up the possibilities of what design can do this Autumn particularly in relation to the problem we have with waste as individuals, museums and society https://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/waste-age-what-can-design-do

https://storiesofchange.ac.uk/
Included a nice creative writing project about relationships with energy ‘My Friend Jules’ and the photo booth project was really effective in giving voice / platform to range of people.

Project book here: (get in touch if you want hard copy):
https://issuu.com/energeticbook/docs/energeticv09sp

Have a look at the launch of Young V&A, a transformation of the former Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green with and for young people from early years to early teens https://www.vam.ac.uk/info/young. Three galleries, Imagine, Play and Design. The design gallery is pretty much all issues based, using creativity for real world problem solving. Young voice and agency is at the heart of this project and we are working with thousands of children alongside a more focused young collective.

https://stories.life/
https://racetozero.unfccc.int/
https://racetozero.unfccc.int/join-the-race/whos-in/
https://climateoutreach.org/reports/engaging-audiences-cop26/
https://climatevisuals.org/opencall/

Thanks for having me!

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Phoebe Tickell — Narratives, complexity, systems. Catalyzing transformative innovation in the face of converging crises, advising on complexity approaches, systems design, regenerative leadership, and education for regenerative development.

Moral Imaginations

Rigorous imagining for moral futures

Moral Imaginations

Fostering the muscle to collectively dream that which is possible, and the moral responsibility to do so.