Collective Imagining

With thanks to The Great Imagining (TGI) for our first imagining in systems and to the Collective Imagining Fund (Joseph Rowntree Foundation) for our Exeter Collective

BEGINNING: our collective began with Stephan Harding’s call to “be more Gaian” leading our Imagining in Beetle Systems as TGI Exeter with Exeter Science Centre, artist Fran Gynn and BugLife at the Exeter Climate Hub, in April 2023 for Earth Day. The call for deep listening to more-than-human voices was woven through our lunch together in the summer at Schumacher College in Devon //

SINCE THEN: Fran Gynn’s Public Erasures have been travelling from Dartmoor’s blue ground beetle, across continents to our friends in Uganda, sharing the vanishing forest of their precious mountain gorillas // Hikimah Ssembatya and his artists in Kampala took messages of hope to COP28 as TGI Africa with their powerful imagining newspaper // Shannon Welles’ MA dissertation led us to Tim Ingold’s Imagining for Real // and our friends at Art + Energy are making mossy carpets with people across Devon, sharing messages of hope as they ‘bury the giant’ in tiny fibre forests of wool.

In December 2023 we re-gathered to explore the language of imagining – listening while making journals for our winter journeying, with thanks to the Collective Imagining Fund.
Friday 1st December // 27 Paris Street, Exeter // 10am – 3pm
Léonie Hampton: sound recording of Stephan Harding // Lisa Schneidau: Storytelling from Dartmoor // Stuart Crewes: journal-sketchbooks with ArtWorks

Thanks to our December storytellers: Lisa leading us through the forest’s heart, following the blackbird’s song with a tale of care, reciprocation and magical exchange // Léonie’s recording of Stephan by the Holme Oak in Southernhay // all those conversations alongside Anne-Marie Culhane’s embodying silence, bringing a more-than-human presence while we made journals choosing found papers for pages to keep our closest thoughts company through the winter solstice // to Stuart Crewes for generosity with time and paper for extra journals travelled since to Seattle, Brazil, Kampala

HOW CAN WE IMAGINE IN THESE PAGES, FOUND TOGETHER FILLED ALONE. TO SEE / SENSE / BE / LISTEN / IMAGINE. If ‘hope is the thing with feathers / that perches in the soul’ now is time to listen and reach forward as days stretch towards spring here in the UK // moving from what is > to what if, to shape what comes next with hopeful imagination inspired by the dark months

SINCE THEN > Melissa Fayad is in Brazil with Clean Eyes, marking 5 years since the dam collapsed in Brumadinho, giving voice to women as “the indispensable link in understanding the relationship between life, land, grief and fight” // Micha Colombo won the 2023 Two Short Nights short film commission which premieres at their 2024 Festival: 8-9th February Exeter Phoenix > I Want This follows a woman overwhelmed by daily life, finding a moment at midnight in nature //

// UPDATE: since our December 23 Imagining, Anne Marie Culhane, Associate Fellow of the Global Systems Institute at University of Exeter, has received DYCP funding from Arts Council England to develop her creative practice.