Welcome to the first Imagine Newsletter


The Social, Historical, Cultural and Democratic Context of Civic Engagement:

Imagining Different Communities and Making Them Happen

Quarterly newsletter

Welcome to the very first Imagine Newsletter (IN)! It is rather long, does not have enough illustrations and could be ‘livelier’….however it is a start and we can ensure the next one is shorter, livelier and more focused on what you want by encouraging you to contribute!

I hope you enjoy IN and if you do, please tell me. If not then please write something more to your liking for the next one!

In this newsletter:

1) Imagine Project Team

2) Awards – Professor Paul Ward

3) Project updates

4) Forthcoming events

5) Other news



We would first like to congratulate Kate Pahl on her promotion to a Personal Chair. This is a well-deserved achievement and we are very pleased that Kate’s outstanding contribution has been recognised. Kate took on the role of Principal Investigator (PI) of the Imagine project from 1st June 2014, following Graham Crow, University of Edinburgh. We wish to express our thanks and appreciation to Graham for instigating the whole project and managing the project throughout its early stages. Kate, as PI will lead the Imagine project on Workpackage 3, together with Co-Investigators Angie Hart, University of Brighton, leader of Workpackage 1, Sarah Banks University of Durham, leader of Workpackage 2 and Paul Ward, University of Huddersfield, leader of Workpackage 4. Angela Warren joined the team in October 2014 as Project Manager, and is now settling into her role, dealing with financial management and administration of the project.



Congratulations to Paul Ward who has been awarded an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award for a PhD student to work with The Hepworth Wakefield on a co-production project. The project will focus on the Gott Collection and Yorkshire landscapes. It is connected to Imagine and the student project will be called Location, Location, Location. Further details from paul.ward@hud.ac.uk


Workpackage 1 – Social (led by Professor Angie Hart)

WP1 is all going swimmingly at the moment, cross fingers, touch wood. Susanne Martikke, Andrew Church and Angie Hart have had a first stab at analysing the interview data from their study which looked at how community partners and academics working together manage to sustain partnerships over time. They are planning a number of ways of disseminating that work.

WP1 has 12 projects across England, Wales, Scotland, Germany and Greece.  Most of these projects have just got going - from teachers and other school staff in Greece working with academics to support children's resilience, to adults with experience of mental health complexities meeting up with academics to develop better ways to help themselves using a resilience-focused approach. All the teams are working with a community of practice model and are all trying to find ways to imagine better futures and make them happen. We'll report back on how things are going in detail in the next newsletter. 

Some WP1 projects have already produced some things to take a look at, including this lovely book written and illustrated by young people with experience of the care system.

Workpackage 2 - Historical (led by Professor Sarah Banks)

Coventry (Hillfields) Update

Working with Herbert Museum staff a group of Hillfields residents sought to capture the activities they considered represented Hillfields now. During September 2014, community photographers moved between groups, families, work places, leisure and worship. Ten powerful images were chosen to represent Hillfields in exhibition at the Herbert Museum during Autumn 2014 as a community response to the Jason Tilley exhibition. The images can be seen here.

Imagine is a partner in a major exhibition called 'Hillfields Happening' to critically assess the changes in Hillfields for the past 40 years. Four internationally-renowned photographers will work in partnership with Imagine at Warwick University, Heritage Lottery Fund (FarGo Village), Arts Council, the Library of Birmingham, Coventry University and Hillfields History Group. The exhibition will be held in Summer 2015 at Fargo Village, the new work and art place in Far Gosford Street in Hillfields. Visitors will explore the meaning of regeneration, heritage and change through workshops, presentations, walks and more. Read about it here

Contact: Ben Kyneswood. Follow us @Imagine_Hill

Imagine North East Update

Benwell in Felt: St James’ Church, Benwell, Newcastle, Saturday 13 September 2014

Benwell in Felt is one of the projects involved in Imagine North East. Coordinated by St James’ Centre for Heritage and Culture Partnership, the project provided a specialist felting tutor to work with 18 community groups of different ages to explore and imagine the past, present and future of Benwell. Each group produced their own piece of felting art, exhibited for the first time at the launch in September 2014, opened by Councillor Hazel Stephenson. The launch was well attended and involved a range of creative activities for the public alongside lunch, refreshments and the exhibition. An Imagine researcher spoke to some of the participants at the exhibition launch about the felting pictures. Points that emerged from these conversations included the use of bright colours, sunshine and rainbows that reflected hope and optimism; a curiosity about the particular places that were chosen as significant places in Benwell; and a fascination with the vivid imaginations of children and young people in depicting what they would like to see in their community. Read more about Benwell in Felt.

The St Margaret's Toddler Group contribution to Benwell in Felt:

Benwell in Felt – participating organisations: Action for Children Families First, Bond Guild, Bridgwater School, Cornerstone Craft Group, Excelsior Academy, Ferguson Lodge Care Home, Hadrian School, Patchwork Youth Project, Pendower Good Neighbourhood Project, Riverside Women’s Group, Riverside Toddle Group, Roma Girls Group, Scotswood Natural Community Garden, St James’ Church, St Joseph School, St Margaret’s Toddle Group, West End Library, West Newcastle Picture History Collection.

The Pendower Good Neighbour Project's contribution to Benwell in Felt - depicting the Community Orchard.

Imagine North East Timeline

The Imagine North East timeline aims to document the diverse histories of Benwell and North Shields – two areas on Tyneside. It includes documentation (including short films) of key social, cultural, economic, political, community activist and geographical events that have shaped the landscapes and the lives of residents of Benwell and North Shields. We aim to add to this timeline over the course of the Imagine North East project and we encourage those who live or have lived in Benwell or North Shields to contribute documents, thoughts, memories and comments. The Imagine North East Timeline.

A Journey through Time

A Journey through Time is an Imagine North East project coordinated by Phoenix Detached Youth Project in North Shields. The project started in January 2014 and a year later is now completed. A Journey through Time was designed as an intergenerational urban art project led by local people to look at the history of urban art in the area, how its culture has changed and how it has influenced social change. Originally the intention was for a group of local graffiti artists to work together as a team, using free-hand spray painting techniques to create a large art work depicting change in the area. Early on in the project, the artists rejected this model, which they felt did not embody the spirit and practice of graffiti art. Instead, they proposed to create an art work that represented the different influences and practices of the three generations of local graffiti artists involved: 1) the older artists who had been the pioneers during the 1980s; 2) the younger teenagers who currently work directly with Phoenix; and 3) the intermediate generation. This resulted in three separate artworks, each done by a ‘generation’ of local graffiti artists, but taken together they offer an overview of the development of graffiti art locally over three decades. The process of creating the art work was individualistic – reflecting the individualistic character of graffiti art as a practice. The final art works are exhibited in Phoenix’s legal graffiti art space at the Parks Sports Centre in North Shields. Phoenix Detached Youth Project Website

A Journey through Time: Graffiti artwork created by three generations of graffiti artists for the Imagine project facilitated by the Phoenix Detached Youth Project in North Shields.

More information about the community projects involved in Imagine North East

Imagine North East Blog and Timeline. Read more on Work Package 2 here.

Workpackage 3 – Cultural (led by Professor Kate Pahl)

Connecting Communities through Research (Park Hill)

We would like to welcome Paul Allender to the Park Hill team as a new Research Associate. He is joining Louise Ritchie and Matt Collins interviewing current and ex residents about their experiences of the iconic Park Hill development in Sheffield.

The interview phase of the project is in full swing and will be continuing until the end of June 2015. Last week Paul interviewed his first resident of Park Hill flats and a very interesting interviewee he turned out to be. His name is Dan Kahn and he is currently Sheffield's best known Drag Cabaret Artiste, performing under the stage-name Tia-Anna. His most notable appearance was in the Manchester Heat of Britain's Got Talent in April 2009. Dan also has a Masters in Archaeology. Interviewing Dan got Paul thinking: there is no such thing as a ‘typical resident’ of Park Hill. Dan’s breadth of experience is extraordinary. He moved to Park Hill over 10 years ago, after completing his Masters, at a time when Park Hill definitely wasn’t considered to be desirable residences. He moved in to the new development about a year ago and he really likes living there. He lives on the top floor and has fantastic views of Sheffield from both the front and back of his flat.

The Park Hill project is a co-production with Museums Sheffield who are, this year, making a film with the residents who take part in the project. Dan will definitely be in it and who knows we might even see an appearance by Tia Anna!

Further information about the project can be found at: https://twitter.com/imagine_connect or by emailing Louise Ritchie at l.e.ritchie@sheffield.ac.uk

Rory Pilgrim: Words are not signs, they are years: Site Gallery Platform Residency: 3 – 28 March 2015

The Site Gallery team are really excited about the forthcoming residency of Rory Pigrim: 

Site Gallery is connecting with The University of Sheffield on a forthcoming artist’s residency addressing the idea of utopia. Artist and activist Rory Pilgrim has worked with Sheffield-based sign maker David Andrews since a chance meeting brought them together five years ago. They will continue their collaboration during Rory Pilgrim's forthcoming Platform residency project, when the gallery becomes a open studio, and the thinking and dreaming stage of making new artwork is on view.

Pilgrim will bring together an assembly of local elders to explore how their experiences and thoughts can be shared with a younger generation. Their conversations, words and wisdom will be captured in the form of hand-written signage designed by Rory and David and adapted into performances. A closing performance will take place on Saturday 28 January at 1pm.

For more information on the exhibition and accompanying programme of events, please visit the Site Gallery website.

Site Gallery is grateful to Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, funder of Platform 2013 - 2016, and to the University of Sheffield, supporter of Rory Pilgrim’s Platform residency through the ‘Imagine’ programme.

Site Gallery: Young People's Community Residency Spring 2015

Site Gallery is working with Richard Steadman-Jones from The University of Sheffield's English Department on a Young People's Community Residency. This project seeks to empower a group of young people visiting the gallery for the first time to act as co-curators in commissioning a contemporary artist to make an artwork with them in their community. This project is an ambitious and innovative strand of work for Site Gallery as they make connections with the local neighbourhoods and expand their Young People’s programme.

Site Gallery has worked with a group of teenage girls in the Norfolk Park area of the city to research artists working in this collaborative way, including a series of online in-conversation sessions with artists around the world. The residency is planned to take place in Spring 2015 with a showcase of the work to be produced in June 2015, plus a seminar and publication. Steadman-Jones is considering how the young people's experiences in this project shed light on their thoughts about the future and its possibilities. Visit www.sitegallery.org or contact cassie.kill@sitegallery.org for more information and event details, as the project progresses.

Site Gallery is grateful to the University of Sheffield, supporter of this initiative - linked to the ‘Imagine’ programme - through the Arts Enterprise fund.

The Hepworth Wakefield team celebrated the work of the young people from the rent deposit scheme in Wakefield working with the artist Gillian Brent with an exhibition held in the gallery about the project.

In Rotherham, the Integration Unit at the Department of Communities and Local Government have been working with us to support our work in creating safe spaces for women and girls in Rotherham with a focus on better imagined futures. We are also continuing to explore a historical element to our work as well as arts based and literary analysis.

We are setting up a reading group to think about utopian theory with the Park Hill and Site Gallery research teams, organised by Matt Collins and Jess Dubow. Contact Kate Pahl for more details. First meeting is on the 30th January.

Shirin Teifouri and Kate Pahl presented on our methodology of interruption for the ‘Listening Voices Telling Stories’ project in Rotherham at the Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference on January 6th.

Kate met with the Integration unit from the DCLG to talk about safe spaces for women and girls with many of the Rotherham project partners on the 14th January in Rotherham.

We have a community partner writing retreat on the 5th March for the Rotherham projects to explore our ideas for our forthcoming book, ‘Co-producing Literacies’.

Some of us had a brilliant time being hosted by the Resilience Forum in Brighton in November 2014 – thanks to Angie Hart and colleagues for wonderful hospitality.

Kate is visiting the Productive Margins team in Cardiff on the 27th January to find out about their arts-based approach to co-production. This project is similar to ours and you can find out more about this here.

Projecting Ourselves

In December Work package three projected images from some of their projects onto the side of Sheffield’s Park Hill flats. The projection could be seen from across the city, we were interested in the meanings that can be generated when we place images onto buildings. As the projects develop we are looking for opportunities to bring the different strands of doing and thinking together to generate conversations and new insights. Artist Steve Pool braved torrential rain, a mudslide and a very wet camera to capture these images.

Copyright of Steve Pool

Clifton Community School

News item provided by Deborah Bullivant at Grimm and Co.
A Rotherham school, 'Clifton University Girls' (Roma girls who are participating in Imagine) created their own newsletter about their exhibition at Jessop West when they attended University of Sheffield exploring research methods and reporting on a research/writing day/arts day. See newsletter here: http://bit.ly/1y4BGAS

Reading Resilience in a Prison Community

Dr Elizabeth Hoult (Birkbeck)started work on the 'Reading Resilience in a Prison Community' project this month (first sessions took place on 8th January, 2015). A small group of participants, who are currently serving sentences in a Category D prison met to watch and discuss a range of science fiction texts. In the first session the group looked at 'Night Terrors', an episode of Dr Who, written by Mark Gatiss and talked about its central themes of fear and rejection and the usefulness and limitations of science fiction as a way of exploring resilience. In future weeks the group will move onto a range of science fiction texts which present hopeful or unusual versions of the future and representations of alien experiences of human communities. The next film up for discussion will be Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece: '2001: A Space Odyssey'. For more information about the project please contact Dr Elizabeth Hoult at e.hoult@bbk.ac.uk.

Workpackage 4 - Democratic (led by Professor Paul Ward)

Sheppey project

The Sheppey project is coming to a close with the project team finalising a video with the technical editors, which they hope to complete at the end of January 2015. See here for further information on the Sheppey project.



Scott Dennis of Boingboing and the University of Brighton are bringing you a bundle of resilience forums, including talks from world-renowned resilience researcher and practitioner Professor Michael Ungar. Get in there quickly as spaces are limited!!!

Wednesday 28th January 2015 (Researching Resilience: An Example of Mixed Methods, Transformative Research). Professor Michael Ungar. 

Morning Forum: Time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
Venue: Room TBA, Checkland Building, Falmer Campus, University of Brighton, BN1 9PH
Topic: Working with Children, Youth and Families with Complex Needs: 20 Skills to Build Resilience - Professor Michael Ungar

For details of this forum, please see here

Tickets can be ordered from here.
Afternoon Forum
Time: 1.30pm - 3.30pm
Venue: Room TBA, Checkland Building, Falmer Campus, University of Brighton, BN1 9PH
Topic: Researching Resilience: An Example of Mixed Methods, Transformative Research - Professor Michael Ungar

For details of this forum, please see here.

Thursday 29th January 2015

Michael Ungar will also be speaking in Hastings on Thursday 29th January 2015. Check out what he's talking about below and order your ticket here (external link).Time: 6.30pm - 7.30pm
Venue: Havelock Road Lecture Theatre, Havelock Road Building, Hastings Campus, University of Brighton, Hastings, TN34 1BE
Topic: I Still Love You: Nine Things Troubled Kids Need from their Parents, Caregivers, and Schools - Professor Michael Ungar

Session Summary: How can we show children we love them even when they push us away? How do we make children more resilient when they are angry, self-harming, anxious, abusive or delinquent? In this story-filled presentation, Dr. Michael Ungar provides nine practical strategies parents, caregivers and educators need to help young people of all ages heal, no matter a child’s emotional, psychological or behavioural problems. Based on material from his new book, I Still Love You, his clinical practice and his research around the world, Michael will share what families and schools have taught him about the power of unconditional love. Be prepared for an inspiring presentation. Michael’s words will help you understand the importance of the everyday heroics that change children’s lives, even when children’s parents, caregivers and educators are frustrated and unsure what to do next.

To view a sample of Mike’s work, please go to his website here.

The Resilience Forum is free to attend and Forums are announced on Twitter, so follow us @bb_resilience. We also have a Facebook page so if you haven’t already, please check it out and like’ us!

Michael’s work has inspired a generation of professionals and researchers to broaden their understanding of how and why young people do well in different cultures and contexts. Furthermore, he has shown through his research, writing, and clinical practice, that resilience is something that can be nurtured and sustained among even the most disadvantaged young people, their families, and their communities.

Who might be most interested: Academics, practitioners, researchers, students, parents, carers, community workers, volunteers, public sector workers, young people and service users.

Key Reading: Any of Michael Ungar's books - there are piles of them.

Travel Details: The Havelock Road building is a 5 minute walk from Hastings train station and the site is easily accessible on foot, bike and public transport. There is no on-site parking but there are several pay-to-park car parks within walking distance on Priory Street, Priory Meadow or at Hastings train station. 

If you would like to book a place, please click here.

Wednesday 28th January: video of our trip to the Cardiff Connected Communities Showcase event 

...and also a couple of other CUPP related films. This session will be between 7.00pm to 8.30pm at the M2 Boardroom, Grand Parade campus and Michael Ungar will be commenting on these films and giving his feedback. Share Twitter Facebook

So what happened when a group of young people and young adults from different community groups in East Sussex co-curated an exhibition on resilience at a Research Council event in Cardiff with a bunch of University of Brighton academics? Did they all live to tell the tale? What did they actually exhibit? What can other people learn from the experience? Did the trip encourage them all to carry on working together? 

Come along for a lively January evening out to discover the answer to these questions yourself.

Canadian visitor Professor Michael Ungar will give his views on both films and what we can learn from them for community university partnerships more generally. He'll also tell us a bit about community university partnerships in Canada.

This is a joint CUPP and Boing Boing resilience forum event. The event is free event and all are welcome. Please RSVP to Cupp@brighton.ac.uk Refreshments will be provided.

Further details of the events can also be found here

Call for Papers:  Utopias: Wednesday 2nd – Friday 4th September 2015: University of Brighton, UK

Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics (CAPPE) 
10th Annual, International, Interdisciplinary Conference

The idea of utopia was always two faced. On the one hand it was the place that is no place (u-topos) – the ideal that could only be imagined. On the other it was the eu-topos of the ancients, the place where the good life could finally be realised. This conference calls on contributors to play both faces: first, to engage in fantastical reimagining of how we live now, to think outside of all the forms of convention which delimit our vision of the future; second, to think of utopia as a form of critique of what is the case in the name of what could be the case. This means taking risks in thinking about transforming our world for the better, and doing so from the radically disparate disciplines within which this idea has been posited – philosophy, politics, architecture, design, literature, film, engineering and education to name only a few. It means also taking seriously the idea of dystopias, both real and imagined.

This conference aims both to think and practice a form of politics that is creative, egalitarian, radical and interdisciplinary against all existing conventions. We hope to attract colleagues from a wide range of disciplines who wish to pose questions of Utopia, whether in transdisciplinary or interdisciplinary ways or from within a single discipline.

Topics might include, but are by no means limited to:

· Histories of utopias
· Conceptualisations of utopias
· Artistic and fictional utopias
· Utopia as critique
· Feminist utopias
· Resistance and the politics of utopia
· Architectures of the future: building the utopian future
· Utopia in the neoliberal world
· Actually existing dystopias
· Utopias of the space age
· Marxism and utopianism
· Reclaiming the utopian socialists
· Utopia and the politics of conflict
· Are utopias conflict free?
· Educational utopias: from Émile to free schools
· Peasant utopias
· Utopian cityscapes
· Subtopias
· Utopian and dystopian landscapes
· Theological utopias
· Utopias of excess or utopias of denial
· Engineering perfection
· Dystopian pessimism
· Dystopian realism

We anticipate that these and related issues will be of interest to people working in, among other areas, cultural studies, philosophy, political theory, art, politics, sociology, media studies, social geography and history.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be emailed by 17th April 2015, at the latest, to Bob Brecher: R.Brecher@brighton.ac.uk .

The conference fee is £210. This includes refreshments, lunch on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and a buffet dinner on the Thursday evening. There are a limited number of places available for graduate students and for people who have no institutional affiliation at the reduced price of £105. Please indicate if you wish to be considered for one of these places when sending your abstract.

Please note: the conference fee does not include accommodation and, unfortunately, we are unable to offer travel grants or other forms of financial assistance. A limited amount of reasonably priced student halls of residence accommodation is available on a first come first served basis. For further information about the centre please visit CAPPE.

For further information about the conference and updates. 

MARCH 2015

Monday, 2nd to Wednesday 4th March 2015, Writing retreat for Co-Is/PI

This day is planned for the Co-investigators to work with the Principal Investigator on mapping research outputs from Imagine, where ideas for writing book chapters, journal articles, etc will be discussed together with setting a timeline plan for response to the Imagine research questions.

Friday, 6th March 2015 - Hepworth Galleries, Wakefield Young People’s event

The Imagine project will be holding an event on Friday 6th March 2015, to be held at the Hepworth Galleries, Wakefield, specifically for young people. It will be a one day event and an opportunity for young people across the Imagine project to share their ideas and experiences and do some art work with an experienced artist. The Young People are very much a part of a national programme and e very much hope the day will be what the young people want so their input in the programme for the day will be important. We hope it will give young people a space to have a say and have a fun day out doing some art activities.

For further information about this event please contact Natalie Walton (nataliewalton@hepworthwakefield.org).

MAY 2015 

Utopia conference, 19/20 May 2015, Bristol

A Connected Communities/ Care for the Future Symposium will be held on 'Utopias, Futures and Temporalities: Critical Considerations for Social Change', May 19/20, at Bristol zoo.

Multiple formats are welcome from both university and community researchers. The event is free and a limited number of full bursaries are also available. Deadline for submission of applications is 14th February 2015. More details

JUNE 2015

‘Imaginaries of the Future’. 28-30 June 2015, Newcastle University. 

2nd Symposium of the Leverhulme International Research Network 

The second symposium of the ‘Imaginaries of the Future’ research network seeks to investigate what the concepts of local and regional identity might mean in the future. Call for Papers: In the Regions of Utopia, Deadline: 15th February 2015 – see attached for further details.


9th September 2015 - Imagine Annual Conference, Huddersfield University

The 3rd Annual conference is planned for 9th September 2015. As last year, this event is a closed workshop for Imagine community partners, academics, researchers, students and our key stakeholders. The main day will focus on Research and community development and provide a visionary overview of Imagine and co-production as well as provide an opportunity for the workpackage groups to report back on the activities they have been involved. More details to follow. Meantime, please note the date in your calendar!


Project Anticipation: first international conference in Italy, 5-7 November 2015. 

Imagine has been invited by Keri Facer, Professor of Educational and Social Futures, University of Bristol, to have a stall at this event. One of the Imagine researchers will be funded from the Imagine grant to attend this event. This will be a great opportunity to publicise the work of the Imagine projects to date. The event abstract submission deadline is 15 April 2015. Further details.



Imagine website

The Imagine website is currently undergoing development to make it more dynamic and easier to search for information in relation to each of the workpackages. Our new website will be launched in March 2015 (further details to follow). If you would like to advertise any forthcoming events, or put information on about past events, please let us know. Email: imagine@sheffield.ac.uk.

Social media

Our twitter account highlighted important developments where Imagine is involved, through the Imagine newly launched account on Twitter. We now have over 300 followers. You can find us on twitter at: https://twitter.com/imagine_connect


Listening voices and telling stories: a project about Rotherham and its ‘Imagined Communities’.  

Policy Press – Co-producing Literacies book:
Kate Pahl and Paul Ward intend to submit a proposal to Policy Press for a book they are working on entitled Co-producing Literacies. Work begins on chapters focusing on the Rotherham projects in early 2015.


The consortium is working on developing an outputs protocol for acknowledging contributions to Imagine. The term ‘Outputs’ refers to a UK Higher Education definition that spans ‘a range of writings, edited publications and research-led creative practices, as well as artefacts and curatorial outputs ‘ while research can encompass ‘analytical, applied, ethnographical, historical, pedagogical, practice-led, scientific, technological and theoretical approaches’ (REF, 2012, Panel Criteria and Working Methods).


Written any publications or books? Received awards or funding? Attended any conferences/workshops? Organising an event? Conducted any training? Embarking on a new research project? Please share your news by contacting us with the relevant details by the end of April 2015. Email: imagine@sheffield.ac.uk.


Subpages (1): Upcoming events