On 10th February 2023, we ran an Imagine Futures pilot workshop with students from Sprowston Community Academy and Jane Austen College in Norwich, Norfolk. It was held in St Martin at Palace church, with thanks to the Norwich Churches Trust.
We asked them: What kind of positive futures can you imagine for the human and more-than-human inhabitants in our natural places, and how can our creativity help? What will be the creative and helpful roles of the future?
This toolkit offers materials for you to run a ‘live action role play’ workshop looking to the future, generating ideas to help places that are threatened by harmful development and climate breakdown, and in turn helping all our places and the planet. The workshop also opens up young people’s thinking about future livelihoods in the context of the Earth crisis.
The materials, that you can adapt for any place, are based on our pilot day looking at local wildlife sites Mousehold Heath, threatened with drought and fire, and the Wensum Valley, threatened by a road development. The young people’s ideas went beyond wildlife conservation to tackle root causes in the decisions we make about energy, health, transport, food and work. They moved around a series of spaces where young adults (students and creative practitioners) played roles of people who have travelled from the future to inspire creative interventions to avert more harm to places and the planet in future.
Participants moved with individual choice between them, drawing on and combining these different intelligences to explore tactics for the future, and used visual methods to explore ideas using paper-based clay, cardboard structures, collage and large-scale drawings.
Materials from pilot workshop
Feel free to use these in your planning sessions or if you run a similar workshop with young people
Film of the workshop
This short film by Moyses Gomes gives an insight into the aims and approaches, with interviews with some of the facilitators Alex Day, Nick Brooks, Pippa Kearns, Genevieve Rudd, Dorry Joy and Sean Irving. (Also supporting the day were Izzy Rayment, Kathryn Moore and Bridget McKenzie).
Aerial footage of Mousehold Heath and the Wensum Valley
If your group is in Norfolk, you may be happy to focus on these local wildlife sites. Or you may want to visit, or show evidence of, other sites more local to you.
Experts briefed us in Climate Museum UK on the biodiversity issues facing the two wildlife sites we were focusing on, and the wider environmental issues affecting people, place and planet.
Experts presenting: Helen Baczkowska (Norwich Wildlife Trusts, Nature Recovery); Nick Brooks (International Climate Change Adaptation Specialist; Ella Firebrace (Systems Innovation Specialist); Will Stuart (Mousehold Heath reserve manager).
Future characters – posters
These are the six characters representing future roles. The posters can be printed out and used as guides for participants playing these roles.
Photos of the day
You are free to download and use these photos. Please credit Bridget McKenzie and use the link.