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I curated The Festival of Imagination, a collaboration between Selfridges and BCU. The festival explored the power ofimagination to drive the process of in- novation and inform the shape of our future. The project drew on regional talent to   showcase imagination across science, art, culture,  technology, design and commercial enterprise. Based in the heart of Selfridge’s on the Ground Floor,  over 3 weeks, The Imaginarium, hosted interactive workshops, talks, performances, music, demonstration’s screenings, and events for both children and adults. It was a unique creative hub where imaginative workshops and inspiring talks by renowned designers, artists and academics communicated to audiences their imaginative projects, processes, and products.  Audiences encountered their imaginative processes,  knowledge and inspiration that guides  the participant’s practices.

See video:


Following in the footsteps of the enlightened thinkers of the ‘Lunar Society’ who demonstrated how scientific and industrial discoveries, could be translated into new products or industries that changed people’s lives, the festival’s feature talks, debates and unconventional demonstrations, designed to explore the expansion of knowledge and use of free and imaginative thinking, providing a lens to approach the future with hope, curiosity, and to foster new ways of thinking. To solicit and focus responses these ideas, four themes were identified with suggested related activities associated with that theme to help give our potential respondees flexibility and scope. This was a consideration put in place especially with the younger or more inexperienced potential respondents such as young people and our own students who we were keen to feature as a future creative force.

The festival’s themes were centered on the verb which denotes the human faculty of imagination (imagining) and the creative power of the mind/imagination that connects ideas to images/reality.

The themes were:


Imagination and being human, social well-being, communal acts, problem solving, imagination and conscience, the act of collaboration, inventing the digital human/digital explorers.  


Imaginative processes and comparisons, demonstrations of new products/objects/ technologies/design models, the imagination and the  senses and technologies that  

make things.


Radical, pioneering and bold ideas, concepts and invention. The wild sciences - magical thinking/alchemy, AI, augmented reality, and holograms.


Playful workshops, accumulative processes, open ended and fun activities, radical and bold ideas for interaction and collaboration.

This provided an opportunity for the School of Art through this collaboration with Selfridges to show case not only their own imaginative and creative processes, but also to curate a portal to invite participants across the region as well as others nationally. It was an inspiring initiative by Selfridges to connect to the School of Art and the University to provide a space in which retail and education come together to educate the public on how to unlock their own imagination. The collaboration forges strong links across education, industry, and retail as it enabled students and staff exciting opportunities to flourish and share their research and work to our external communities at a national level. 

The Festival of Imagination hosted 19 talks, 2 seminars, 8 workshops, poetry readings, 3 film programs, artist’s films as well as live musical and artistic demonstrations, audience reached: 650,000.

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