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Content Starts IMAGI-NATION {LABS} – Nature & Custodial Economics

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Additional reading and listening

Parul Punjabi Jagdish, CEO fo AIME Inc + host of IMAGI-NATION {TV} 

The question I always ponder is like, how close am I to nature? How connected am I or how disconnected am I? And I’ve had the fortune of being in different countries. I was born in India, Indigenous to that land, the [check with PJ] people. I have a very strong relational web that pulls me back there. Italy has been home to me in some weird wonderful ways and now I’m beginning to find some beginnings of home here in New York and I’m like “this is the most I’ve been removed from nature. This is the farthest I’ve been”. And then when I look deeply and I question deeply, is that true? Is that really true? And the answer is “no”. The answer is like, there is nature within it. There is something inherently wild inside that cannot be tamed by the systems, by the landscape, by whatever. There is this connection that goes way, way back that I cannot intellectually understand even if I try to I cannot gather like how far, how deep this runs in my blood, in my veins, in my DNA and sometimes I just look up at the sky and I think, “wow, people would have looked up at the same sky thousands of years ago… people would have looked at the same stars, swam in the same waters, so there is this deep sense of continuity that nature provides to me”.

We are quite awake to the fact that humanity is creating quite devastating impacts to the climate. Is that our true role? Is that who we are? I think that’s open to debate, open to question. If we ponder over deeply, we’ll come to realise that’s not the role of humanity. We are an integral part of this ecosystem that we find ourselves in and, in fact, we are it. We are nature.

Where I see the greatest hope is the young people we work with and these young people have the answers already and our job [at] AIME is to unlock these young people.

I don’t want false hope, I don’t want hope without action ‘cause that can be misleading and that’s not what is required in this hour. We need to look at the biggest possible lens, we need to zoom out to the biggest possible systemic view.

When I look up and think of space… I think what space does in some way is dissolve national boundaries because if you are to look out from outside of planet earth and look back in you’d be like, “it’s one earth, it’s one planet, we have just created this fictional lines and called them nation states” and our job with this new nation, IMAGI-NATION is to rip apart some of those national borders that are completely mind-created and allow a nation state that connects without borders that brings people together. 

Nature is so inherently, intrinsically valuable that if it takes us a dollar sign to in the end say “hey, there’s value here”, that’s a sign that we’re pretty far down a rabbit hole we shouldn’t have been in the first place. How do we rewire that rabbit hole and what might this wisdom that we unearth from a million presidents feed into what we’re thinking of in terms of a custodial or nature based economy?

The story arc of the presidents that we just uncovered, how we built this new nation to unite rather than divide, we give the stage for young people around the world from outside of the margins… [and elevate] their voices into extraterrestrial space, giving them the space the lead and then having an installation. STEM is one thing that moves people but, there’s also art and there’s steam. When you add art it becomes hot and messy and fun and then you move people through energy, through action, through [story].

If we use currency as a portal – like, a dead whale is worth more economically than a live whale under current market conditions – and we use that reframed lens of saying “hey, a live whale is more valuable than a dead whale”, and if we do it through big story, through ceremony, hopefully there’s a way of moving people beyond the dollar, beyond the transaction and saying “hey, you’re part of this interconnect web of life”. What happens to the whale effets me.

If we don’t shift the economic frameworks of how we value things in the world, we’re gonna be stuck. We might get a bit of hope, a bit of false hope even, but the system remains the same and we haven’t turned humanity back to its custodial role in nature. 

Everything we’ve ever created as human beings is from nature. All of the global economies, everything is from nature and that’s who we are. How do we truly value something that’s invaluable?

We commit to bringing more unlikely connections by a factor of five for some of the biggest challenges facing humanity today. We don’t have all the answers but, we’re really good at finding the people doing amazing work and drawing the lines between the dots and collectively reimagining the systems.

Stephani Beck, Vice Chancellor of IMAGI-NATION {University}

I work with Jack and the design team on the design of the NATION and looking at these processes of emergence and how we connect with other people.

I’ve been thinking about is Hope and how you pass that on as an energy and I feel like it’s in these action-focussed stories. If we’re going out and connecting with people with the intention to build relationships with them, it’s an action-focussed story that we go out with and then we make meaning and sense together in place-based locations. So, someone from Australia and someone from India coming together to merge this intelligence and then you end up with another perspective which is something that’ difference, like a different type of thinking which, according to Albert Einstein, can help us solve the problems that we have today.

Having that core of the network be young people [is really important] because they are a piece of the puzzle. They help us build our perspectives as well. I learned so much and most of what I’ve learned is how much I don’t know. These are the songlines and the pathways that actually weave the world together and we have a million young people coming in and giving them a way to action their visions, it could be a whole new game.

(in response to guardians of earth) Through re-wild your school, young people get to choose a champion animal and then understand that animals’ lifecycle. They go through a process of accessing what that animal needs to survive, what it prey’s upon, what prey’s on it and it’s place in the ecosystem and once a studen learns that, they’re able to apply that knowledge to any species. Then when they engage with [Guardians of Earth] and they’re playing , they can bring that knowledge about “ok, I’ve identified what’s around me and I’ve already got that system through re-wild your school to understand what I need to do to address that problem locally. If you imagine that being repeated thousands or millions of times, the power of that in terms of transformational change particularly in urban areas is really powerful.

(in response to Johny) One of the partnerships we’ve also developed is with the University of Adelaide and what we’re doing there is measuring nature based education and how that impacts positively on young people and outcomes and it would be really interesting to roll that up into a broader sense of how we’re measuring nature in the sense of nature as a healer and a process through which we can have better physical, mental health outcomes that are positive for everyone.

Everything is economics and the little that I know about it is that it’s just what we value. Having a global community of people shifting that they value is the tension point. There’s so many different ways and perspectives that people are looking at that so if we’re not sharing knowledge in a way that allows us to make meaning, reevaluate our values which then shapes our behaviour, we’re just living by the same script.

How do we build tools that are coded with a set of behaviour that is imagination as the door in to remove these reductive mindsets that we often look at each other through without even knowing. Not even eachout, a tree or a bird or any of those things.

James Forbes, CEO of Jane Goodall Institute (AU)

(on the interview) Everytime I watch it, it brings up quite a lot of emotion in me. I think the conversation that Jane and Jack are having is a really powerful and important one.  it brought up this notion of nature as a great healer  it brought up this notion of nature as a great healer. The fact that in the face of something as awful and as powerful as nature and the way in which we function or don’t function alongside it, that our role in nature  has become so disconnected that we’ve lost that connection with it’s healing power and we’re seeing an epidemic, a global epidemic, around mental health, narcissism, sociopathy, whatever kinds of mental disorders that are going on and nature is a great antidote to these issues that we’re facing psychologically and the way in which we’re building structures and institutions and societies or we’re deconstruction them by allowing these processes to be flourish and that’s not helping anyone. I think reconnection to nature is not just essential just for the sake of nature itself and the protection of biodiversity and respecting all living things, it’s also essential for our futures because think if we don’t have nature as a central part of the way in which we live and exist everyday then we are running ourselves our of business. We’re facing, as human civilisations have faced over thousands of years, we’re facing, and making are saying, we’re living in the middle of now, the sixth grade extinction and this is something that should concern everyone.

As Jane pointed out, one of her most powerful reasons for hope and the work that we’re doing with AIME is this nature studio. Our role in that – the roots and shoots program – which Jane started in Tanzania in 1991 and it’s been going for 30 years and has a presence in 60 countries. It’s guiding principle is all about giving agency to young people, putting the power to them to make the decision on what they see as the problem and solving it and working on the solution. By doing that, that’s engendering that hope into action… Hope on it’s own in somewhere pointless, Hope with action is what’s required.

What excited me about the work we’re doing together… is this idea that Roots and Shoots is a global movement that can funnel young people by giving them access to information about nature at a local level in classrooms across Australia and through a program that we’ve developed called Re-Wild your school. We want to give access to every young Australian and eventually spread that out around the world… That kids at school are learning about nature, learning about biodiversity, learning about their local connections and the values of those at a local level and that that can spread [out] into a broader community process and to business and into every aspect of our lives which is what we need to do if we’re gonna to address the biodiversity and climate crisis we face. These things can’t be handled just alone, they need to be thought of as every sector involved. And, every young person that we bring into Re-wild your school and graduate through to becoming a part of 1M presidents, that these young people are going to go out into the world and fulfil whatever vocational career that they want to fulfil but, wherever they go they take with them an environmental practise and a sustainability mindset. All of us rowing together is how we find the ultimate solution.

In 10 years time, I’d love to see every young person on the planet have as part of their education at school is integrated with nature. It’s not just about learning about maths and languages and history and so on but, that nature-based education is an essential and respected part of the curriculum and not some kind of add on… but, an essential part. I think the work that we’re doing here is driving toward that future state and in the wake of AIME’s death strategy that there’s a legacy of every young person in Australia and around the world who are learning about anture from the get go and then they’re passing that on to their children and their children’s children and it becomes inherently an aural tradition not just about what you learn from a text book or in written form.

Hannah Ashford, managing director of the Karman Project

The Karman Project is an independent and non-profit organisation that connects space leaders from all over the world. We work with… all of the different individuals that we need to empower to solve our collective issues as humanity / a group of stakeholders and a decision making level from both public and private sector in the space sector… who are having a quite significant impact on the future of humanity.

When you think about space you often think about space exploration and lunar missions and everything that’s happening outside of our planet… but, the vast majority of the space industry is looking at satellite technologies to map and monitor everything that’s happening on our planet, here on planet earth in real time and give us critical data to map everything from wildfires to deforestation to ensure that we can improve supply chain efficiency, coordinate disaster management, understand biodiversity and how that’s shifting and shaping in different critical regions around the world.

And it comes back to what Jack and Jane were speaking about which is firstly you need hope to inspire action but, what we also do is we work with leaders to ensure that they have knowledge to inspire action.

Another unique aspect of space is that it’s a really exciting and beautiful lever for inspiration. Every human on earth through all of the millenia’s of our existence have had these moments of looking up to the stars and dreaming and thinking about your place in the universe and I think that it’s also a very humbling experience. 

For children particularly, what we’ve also found is that space can be a great introduction to futures and careers in STEM and everything else that you need in space. Space doesn’t just need people coming from science and engineering. It needs lawyers, it needs policy people, it needs great communicators, it needs storytellers, it needs artists, we need everyone onboard to care about this collective future, we need environmentalists.

What we can do with space is we can inspire an entire next generation to really think about their place on the earth. Not just here on planet earth but the entire universe.

What we’re doing with AIME is connect with a great non-profit called Club for the future which is a non-profit branch of Blue Origin. There are a  lot of payloads that go up into space fairly often and what thye do is ensure that a certain percentage of payload is donated to inspire the next generation. What we’re doing with AIME is collecting all of the President speeches from the kids around the world and taking them on a little journey around space, delivering them back here to earth and then we’re going to make a big mural at [AIME’s IMAGI-NATION {Factory}]. Whatever the youth want to dream about in terms of their future as Presidents of this new NATION that can go on a journey, it can keep them engaged because they know that what they’re creating and what we’re envisioning is not just stopping here on this paper, it’s going out of this planet on a journey that is so unfathomable, even to adults. We’re also looking at curriculum with AIME and how we can develop professor space which we’re working on and looking at really bringing critical education around the future of science, engineering and all of these topics.

We’re talking about shifting huge global mindsets and… connecting humans with the digital and understanding the power that digital understanding and mapping can have for all of the critical, acute problems that we’re facing as humanity.

We’re taking [a group of space] leaders out of our boardings, into Maldives in direct proximity of all of these issues which we speak about all the time, understanding how to utilise satellite technologies and space technologies to map an monitor and better understand everything from the mangrove ecosystems to the illegal fishing which is impacting the region. This knowledge mean nothing without tapping into that local, Indigenous knowledge that exists there. You need to paint this global picture of what’s happening there and digital technologies and digital understanding can only take you so far.

The idea that these initiatives won’t be needed anymore because we would have made so much impact together with all of our networks and all of these relations… that is so beautiful and so powerful and so potent and I deeply hope that we’re in that position. We need to become more nature centric and I think that we will – I really believe in this next generation.

I hope that in 10 years time [Indigenous Knowledge] is not a conversation about “whether” or “if”, that it’s part of everyone’s life and it should be leading the way.

Johny Mair, Co-Founders of Ethic

[Ethic does] sustainable investing. We help people understand the value of the things that they care about, reflect those values in their current portfolio to see where maybe they’re not aligned and then we create new portfolios for them that are more aligned with their values. [We’re] trying to reconnect people with the things that they’re investing in. With transactional behaviour, you lose empathy for what your actions are because you’re not connected. We think of every portfolio as a vehicle to tell a story and reconnect with. Through that process, [we’ve been thinking about how we can] use a similar approach for looking at nature and giving people that may have a particular dollar value lens on something… new lenses and portals into that. 

There’s some really good thinking. The first thing is, “what can you actually measure?”. At the moment, especially in the financial space, it’s reductive of how they value nature. It’s very much from an extractive point of view. As we’re seeing different models come through we’re seeing people starting to think about ecological system services and then as we start to progress through the different models of thinking about the species, species richness, the interconnection between those, some of the work we’ve been doing with the Labs has brought out this custodial indicator species and it’s a very interesting journey of getting people to reconnect and rethink how we are connected with nature and a very exciting project we’re working on all together.

In terms of sequencing, so much of it is the way that we design. We have been designing form a user-centric experience and we have been trying to get outcomes that sometime aren’t very good for humans – taking people’s attention and designing things for that – we’re moved over to a more human-centric approach and it’s forgetting everything else and designing things for the comfort of humans and we’ve seen how that can also have a very negative effect where we’re not incorporating the externalities. We’re moving over into a life-centric design trying to incorporate all different species and life into the design of a product and going one step further is the Indigenous systems knowledge design which is what we want to get to.

After the 10 years, not only enjoying the journey through the path with AIME because it’s already been such a blessing for myself but, how do we create and put Indigenous Knowledge Systems Labs in every organistion, in every University so that design can be utilised by everyone to help us create the future that we wanna believe we can live in.

Mallika, Guardians of Earth

We’d like to develop technology that brings people closer to nature because at the end of the day we’re all creatures that want to have fun, want to enjoy with our close friends and we also want to feel closer to nature. The way we do it is as a game. We’re all quite immersed in our screens and if we look around everyone is looking at our screens every time of the day. Why don’t we use that medium to get people close to nature?

We know maybe 30% of the lifeforms alive on our planet and of that, a majority is from the developed work and of that about roughly 80% is from within 2.5km of a paved road. In other words, the world is a black hole for us. We don’t really know what’s living and where it is living. We’re making that all of these beautiful people are collecting data on the biodiversity that is present around them so that we can go and give that to scientists and researchers to say “ok, now you have the information now start making use of it and figuring our ways of what’s most important and where”.

It’s important that humans are understanding biodiversity and humans are aware of biodiversity… once humans become familiar with diodiveristy there is no way they’re going to go back and say “no, I don’t like nature, I’m just going to stick to my concrete spaces and my technology”. It is a natural progression and once you become aware of it, you’re intrigued and more curious and eventually you fall in love and then there is no going back from there.

10 years from now I’m hoping we don’t have to do this, I’m hoping none of us exist as these entities and we’re just human beings enjoying living on this planet in harmony. I think we’re working collectively towards that future.

Professor Song

I’ve been lucky enough to work with PJ to help shape and deliver this as a project and I can’t wait to get in, do some painting and spin all the ideas around in my brain and pour them out, put them on the canvas and see what everyone thinks.

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Content Starts What is an Imagination Classroom?

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MAY 9 2023

Today, we visited Nimbin Central School. We were welcomed by Elder Uncle Rory, who we spent an hour or so with, yarning, laughing, listening and learning. He helped us feel grounded and connected to this special place, before we headed off to meet the students.

Waangenga started us off with a fun movement workshop … helping us connect to each other, our environment and ourselves … while tuning in to the question

What is an Imagination Classroom?

You’re only limited by your mind

Alejandro Velazquez

The students ideas flowed and we explored all the different ideas that sprung to mind … they unravelled a whole lot of ideas they feel are really important to learning. These happen to be things that aren’t strongly focused on in a more typical classroom.

  • In an Imagination Classroom, education is connective – the classroom fosters connections between the students and each other, their teacher, nature and their limitless imagination.
  • The layout of a classroom should support these connections and facilitate the building of relations between peers and also with the teacher so that students feel that they are not silos being spoken at but that they are learning together. The types of furniture and the layout of this can help the space be comfy and feel nurturing.
  • With an Imagination Classroom, outside time is important – building in time to learn outside, from nature, the greatest teacher we have and have time to oxygenate the mind and body with fresh air, and also exercise our long-distance vision and observational skills in natural lighting.
  • An Imagination Classroom prioritises regular walking breaks. Learning tasks encourage students to move through the room as they explore, discover and learn. Also, ways of learning don’t always fall back on having to look at a white board. Learning through story and presentation are valued. For instance incursions with theatre groups might be scheduled allowing knowledge to be shared through story.
  • An Imagination Classroom is mindful of emotional well-being and is structured to promote this.

We want more one on one conversations – especially with our teacher


And when the Nimbin Central Students minds were flowing with Imagination they said:

We want to learn about things that are important to us and our world at this time … and we want more one on one conversations – especially with our teacher … we would love our teacher to be interested in listening to us and to try to understand the world from our perspective.

We want to be able to connect with animals (so many ways this can be explored and so many things to be learnt!)

We’d love to learn how to build a rollercoaster (think about all the engineering and physics that could be explored here, plus the health science looking at the importance of finding healthy ways to let out adrenaline!)

We’d love a place to dream up the seemingly impossible, like a a pool filled with M&Ms and an incredible, magical, Elon Musk wallet that you can open up and money just pours out of it (think about all the creative writing that could be developed!)

And to bring today’s session to a close, we gathered around the towering, protective grandmother tree (pictured above) and thought about all we’d explored, discovered and shared … the students wondered about the next steps towards breathing life into this space…

We look towards the school’s moto:
Success Through Diversity

These words further open our minds to consider how an Imagination Classroom will celebrate and foster a rich ecology of diverse thinkers, and how these ideas can go on to contribute towards the betterment of our collective future.

We hope to return to Nimbin Central School in the near future and see how this Imagination Classroom has been brought to life!

And to sum up our experience:

Today we created something amazing. I feel so good with what came out of the Kids, the teachers, and Blake and Waangenga (AIME).

Alejandro Velazquez
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Content Starts Healthy adult and children relations – Edition 1

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My name is Vhutali and I am an AIME Global Mentor in South Africa.

I am working on a systems change project on Healthy Child-Adult Relations where I will be having 100 conversations in 100 days to imagine a future of healthy adult and children relations.

Listen to the podcast below and get in touch if you would like to spend some time chatting with me.

Safety of minors all around the world is of paramount importance. No one working with minors or having kids under their care wants to see them hurt, especially under their watch.

In the 20 years of AIME working with minors, it is evident by the effort put towards child safety that the organisation also wants to see kids safe under their care. In every interaction where you have a thousand minors, more than a handful of them are probably going through a form of abuse, be it sexual, physical or emotional. Non-profit organisations working with minors create child protection rules that reduce the risks of there ever being an incident that harms minors. The rules are created to guard against bad actors, but they also create a barrier for seamless engagement with minors for the well intentioned.

Without shedding responsibilities, organisations should start thinking of fostering healthy and meaningful relationships that flourish. This might mean being brave enough to allow these conversations to happen, go to the spaces of confronting the barriers and see what we are protecting the kids against, see if they can be solved through relational transactions.

Organisations need to be comfortable enough to say ‘we don’t know what might happen’, but also go further and ask about what we can do to create healthy relations between adults and minors and still keep minors safe, knowing that approaching child-adult engagement being afraid of the worst that can happen is not a great way to start a healthy relationship.

More than anything, the first healthy child-adult relationship yarn raised more questions than answers, leaving more room for further conversations. Few of such questions are:

  • what can we design in the system to foster healthy child relations?
  • How do we get to designing processes that inform systems in local and national government and also with other organisations?
  • How can we get to a point where we trust people again?
  • How do we create room for complexity and depth in our vocabulary around child relations?

Call to action: In the coming 100 days we are keen to chat with people from around the world about child relations and how we can answer some of the questions raised above, including minors themselves and people considered to be outside the margins. Reach out to if you are interested in chatting with us


Vhutali Nelwamondo

Global Mentor (South Africa)

Listen to the conversation

We must fuel the fire inside all of our hearts, and find the space for healthier relations. As BRAT I paint Mad Hatters, to remind us all that when we are at the Mad Hatter tea party, in the heart of the complexity of conversation, between the absurd and intelligent, the established and the new, the broken and the fixed, when we can imagine, we can move. And on this topic we must strive to move to a world of healthy patterns of cross hatching of relations between adults and children. No one should be alone.

Image and reflection by Jack Manning Bancroft, AIME Founder and CEO.

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Content Starts Imagination Circle Session May : In Defense of a Place Called School

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6. Imagination Circle spotlight: In Defense of a Place Called School

In March 2020, when schools had closed in most countries and people everywhere were searching for new ways to live, learn and work together in a world locked down by a global pandemic,Morna McNultystarted asking her students to reimagine school.

Morna is an arts and education specialist teaching at Towson University in Maryland, USA. Over several months, she put 100+ students to work designing a new kind of public school for the Covid-19 world and beyond. 

The project (Re)Imagining Schools: Voices from the University Students asked students in Morna’s urban education class to “rethink the role the design of schooling has on the values of schooling.” They were to let their imagination run free, using film, photo, graphic design, collage, music, theatre and visual arts for their designs. One student even used cookies and m&m’s 🙂

The students’ responses were, according to Morna, “unexpected and curious.” 

What new school designs did they propose? Find out in this recording as Morna discusses the project in last week’s Imagination Circle session. And she goes deeper into the findings in this paper.

So Morna asked herself some questions. What do students value in school, especially during a pandemic? What elements of school do we keep when we redesign? And do we imagine differently when the world is open to us than when we’re in the grip of a pandemic?

Last Wednesday’s session landed on a new question—What if university students were asked to bring to life the imaginative designs of young children about school and learning? 

In our April community gathering, we talked about the immense imaginative capacity of young children, and Imagination Circle participants have shared some fascinating work, for example Mycelia Messages (Georgia Yiapanis) and School of the (Im)Possible (Francine Kliemann).

The idea of young children bringing their imagination to the designs of university students has opened up a space of potential collaboration across our community on a new iteration of Morna’s project, which could lead to an Imagination Circle submission to this conference in Helsinki next January (see below).

Thanks to Morna for sharing work, opportunities and energy with us. Please reach out to her atmmcdermott@towson.eduto learn more about her work and her idea for a joint conference submission.

5. Co-design: What is growing out of the Imagination Circle so far?

Last week we also had a co-design session looking at these questions together:

  • What have we harvested in the Imagination Circle so far? Where can we see emergence?
  • What avenues should we explore further?
  • What can help us to get there?

And we shared stories about what’s been firing our imagination. Stories, questions, discussion points and more are in this recording, and you can add your thoughts on the questions in this Google document.

4. Opportunity: The Imagination Circle at the 7th European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry in Helsinki in January?

Could we see an Imagination Circle panel at this conference next January? 

The theme of the conference is Participation, Collaboration and Co-Creation: Qualitative Inquiry Across and Beyond Borders. This aligns with some of the threads coming out of the Imagination Circle sessions. 

Morna’s idea is for the Imagination Circle to propose a panel session on reimagining schools and have members of our community share their projects at the conference. She is already exploring this with others in the Circle and would be keen to lead the co-development of a panel proposal. 

Keen to explore? Please let us know.

3. Opportunity: 4 IMAGI-NATION {Embassies}, 10,000 Imagination Classrooms

One of the goals of the Imagination Circle is to centre imagination in every classroom. So we’re on a mission to see 10,000 Imagination Classrooms in schools around the world in the next 10 years.

To help do this: IMAGI-NATION {Embassies}, repurposed vehicles bringing imagination experiences to schools and communities around the world and giving school students the chance to tell us what an Imagination Classroom could be and create one in their school.

What is an Imagination Classroom? We don’t know; let’s build one. How? We don’t know; let’s try.” Find out more here.

The first IMAGI-NATION {Embassy} is already on the road in Australia. We’re aiming for 4 more {Embassies} moving across the US, Europe and Africa this year to help us get to 10,000 Imagination Classrooms around the world in the next 10 years.

  • Know a school where an Imagination Classroom could come to life? Let us know who they are. 
  • Want to learn from students what an Imagination Classroom could be? Ask them and tell us what they say.
  • Want to co-design and co-fund the {Embassies} with us for the US, Europe and Africa? Or know people who could? Let us know.

2. Save the date: Forest of Imagination, 14 June to 14 July

Let’s ‘assemble in the forest’! Forest of Imagination is happening in Bath, UK, next month and we are all invited.

This is an annual offering of ‘spaces for liberated learning’ throughout the city of Bath co-designed and co-created by communities, schools, students, creatives and many others, with Penny Hay and Andrew Amondson.

If you missed our March sessions where Penny and Andrew introduced Forest of Imagination, you can catch up here: session 1session 2.

Hope to see you in the Forest.

1. Save the date: Next Imagination Circle community session: Wednesday 14 June. 

Our next community gathering is set for Wednesday 14 June (first day of Forest of Imagination!) at 10-11am CEST and 4-5pm CEST.

In the 10-11am session, we’ll have Dr Anthony McKnight from the University of Wollongong sharing about the Sparking Imagination Education research project that’s just kicking off in Australia. The research will look at Indigenous cultural imagination practices and how they can inform design of an Imagination Education Pedagogic Framework for schools in Australia.

We’ll be sending invitations next week; please check your calendars and accept the invitation to the session that works best for your timezone. You’re very welcome  to drop in to both sessions if you can.

And to close…

Looking for resources? 
To gather existing summaries of sessions and updates of the initiative, we have created the Imagination Circle Project page here

Want to share resources or opportunities?

Please let the Imagination Circle community know about interesting resources or opportunities using this form.

Someone working with imagination who you’d love to see in the Circle?
Here’s a form for them to express their interest. (If you haven’t already, please feel free to fill in the form too.)

Thank you for building with us.

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Content Starts Quick-fire questions with Adriana from Operation Crayweed

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1) What’s the environmental impact of the current work – what’s the carbon capture, research impact etc.

Impact of Operation Crayweed to date:

  • Operation Crayweed is considered Australia’s most successful seaweed restoration project to date
  • We have reversed local extinction of crayweed in Sydney and re-established crayweed forests in 7 reefs, representing about 8,000 m2 restored (and continuing to expand)
  • Restoration of crayweed forests also re-establishes ecological communities of the tiny ‘epifauna’ that live in and among the crayweed, which are themselves a source of food for fish and invertebrates.
  • We have inspired new restoration efforts nationally and internationally, e.g. for bull kelp restoration in the USA and NZ or Cystoseira forests in the Mediterranean
  • Our work has greatly enhanced public awareness about the importance of seaweed forests and the role of science working in collaboration with local communities in facilitating recovery:
    • We engage hundreds of people per year with hands-on restoration via our community planting days
    • We connect with thousands of people per month via our website and social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
    • Our educational activities reach thousands of children via in-person workshops in schools, online games and online resources (e.g. ABC’s “Deep Dive into Australia’s Ocean Odyssey” an educational set of resources targeting secondary students and short videos e.g.  ‘What’s something cool about seaweed?’, viewed >7,100 times.
  • Our work has led to 15 scientific articles published in top peer-reviewed international scientific journals, which have been cited > 400 times in other scientific publications
  • Capacity building: through our restoration we have trained 3 BSc Honours students and 2 PhD students, with another 2 students currently working on their theses

2) Can you tell us a bot more about carbon capture?

We estimate that crayweed sequesters about 400 kg of carbon per hectare per year. This is based on broad estimates rather than direct quantification, which is tricky.

Some broader figures: Australia’s kelp forests are highly productive and contain between 10 and 22 million tonnes of carbon. Estimated carbon sequestration values of our seaweed forests continent-wide are between 1 and 3 million tonnes of carbon per year.

The issue is that seaweed carbon is not sequestered locally, as seaweeds grow on rocks (not on sediment where carbon can accumulate). Instead, the carbon sequestration values are from biomass that becomes detached and ends up in the deep sea. This makes it trickier to estimate and validate carbon sequestration by seaweeds, and some of the science is being developed. Hence at the moment, seaweed forests are not formally included in Blue Carbon estimates by the Commonwealth (which does include seagrasses, tidal marshes and mangroves).

3) How is 50K spent? What’s the environmental impact of one site worth 50K. For eg. Is it 10000 x of Carbon out of the atmosphere per year?

The costs associated with crayweed restoration are for staff, boating, diving and community engagement activities (workshops, artist collaborations).

Ziggy and myself are employed full time by our respective universities (UNSW and the University of Sydney) and provide our time in-kind, but we need a set number of divers, skippers and assistants to comply with work health and safety regulations when it comes to SCUBA diving.

With regards to the environmental impact of one site, it’s important to understand how our general approach works. We don’t manually restore an entire reef, but rather introduce small patches with the right mixture of male and female individuals which act as a ‘seeding source’. We initially plant patches of about 20 – 80 m2 by bringing in crayweed from nearby reefs outside of Sydney (north of Palm Beach, south of Cronulla). These crayweed reproduce straight away and we start seeing offspring after about 6-9 months. We often do repeated plantings in one way as there is also a bit of loss of individual crayweed due to storms or urchins/ fish munching on them. After about a year, the population expands in a self-sustaining way.

Depending on what area we plant, we can expect one site to reach half a hectare in ~ 5 to 10 years, which would correspond to ~ 200 kg carbon.

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Content Starts Calling in the intelligence of a river

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I spent some time playing in and sleeping on the banks of the Burdekin river and the big questions I ask myself continued to worm further into my brain. As I waited to meet with the team at Joseph Mark designing the nation a few days later these questions kept surfacing like a rolodex of information flicking over on the inside of my eyes…

  1. How do I learn and design from a river? Or from nature in general?
  2. Is imagination the link here to see the threads of creation between humans and all other species?
  3. What role does today’s language play in blocking our ability to learn from, relate to and identify as nature or as the river itself? 
  4. Where do dreams fit into the equation?
  5. Can we ever fully understand imagination? 
  6. How do we find the pathways back to our ancestral knowledge like the Mudlark birds who build their nests with no real time instructions or guidance? If we are just like any other animal surely the pathway is there? What is preventing us from seeing it?

The overwhelming feeling I got when I was on and in this river was a connectedness to a deep story, one that has been shaping the planet over time as the water moves in its patterns of creation shaping the land, trees and all life that it sustains.

I’m painting my interpretation of this river and viewing it in a way where you can see the space between everything from deep below to the ripples and flows on the surface. I’ve accepted that I’ll never fully understand or see the processes between each drop of water throughout all time and its interaction with everything around it and I’m ok with not knowing, at peace with it even, it’s a lot of knowledge to process and make meaning of and I’ll surely get lost in the enormity of it all. 

What I do see when I paint it is that the river is an open exchange of energy and maybe how we can learn from it is seeing our own exchanges of knowledge as energy. 

I see knowledge as story, good/ right way story can give you good energy, it fuels you from deep within and generates hope, movement and flows for health within yourself and everything you’re connected to, I’ve personally experienced this in the last 4 years. As I painted I pondered what the barriers are that keep our knowledge “dammed/ damned” and in unhealthy systems we’ve inherited. 

Deep listening is a practice championed by Elder Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr “When I experience dadirri (deep listening), I am made whole again. I can sit on the riverbank or walk through the trees; even if someone close to me has passed away, I can find my peace in this silent awareness. There is no need of words. A big part of dadirri is listening” 

When I think about the value Miriam highlights in this practice I see how our current systems are not encourage to take time to listen deeply, to each other or anything around us – it’s quite the opposite in fact and people are free and within their legal right to make huge profits from our eyeball hours and use our stories (data) to keep increasing the growth of the zeros in their bank accounts. Deep listening and learning from nature will remain out of reach with attention economies generating one way profit flows that reinforce the storing of relations in the dollar instead of nature. 

On to some more practical questions we are asking as we prepar for the launch of the Nation in October: How do you design a digital platform that centres imagination in a way that allows humanity to transition away from the unhealthy systems we have inherited and back to our more natural role as custodians? I think the answer is somewhere in and around how the humans in the network plug into each story that is being generated and how we represent that story as it unfolds. 

Finding a frame that allows for emergent knowledge to be valued is key to understanding imagination, it’s always flowing and changing along with everything around us, this is why it should be valued above information and text based only forms of learning. I’m taken back to the NATION Stack view as a way to try and visualise the process and zoom in and out as I see it unfolding in IMAGI-NATION {University}.  


Once we are grounded in the philosophy we can zoom in and focus on the threads that represent the humans and the actions they take to generate the story on a more granular level – The blocks below represent hoodies that are given to people post action and research and it’s now in draft form at this website link.

Once a project is complete that story forms new levels on the surface of the nation and keeps building on the stack to connect us to our origins and big story.

Building the JOY application as one element in the stack required us to initiate a cycle of knowledge sharing – To be an active part of this process is quite the learning experience and trying to map it is an exercise in imagination as you catch the notes people are contributing and find ways to communicate this back to others in a way that allows them to see this as the most natural thing we can do, it’s not far reaching or hard or a lot to take in – finding the story that will cut through the noise in today’s attention economy is one of the ways the way we pass on hope and generate movement in transitioning our economic systems to more healthier ones. Like letting the river flow and not damming it.

Above is an image of the AIME JOY Corp story and knowledge sharing process of the 7 systems change levers represented as one thread in the stack.

Imagine what’s possible with all that action and unlikely connections if organisations around the world redesign their structures in ways that align with the systems we see in nature. Can you see it? It’s almost like trying to see all the layers between the bottom of the river and the surface, you know it’s there but you’re unsure how it will look for sure because it’s yet to emerge – that is the beauty in not knowing,  allowing our dreams and vision to bridge now and all time together, to realise we are imagination and everything about us is a memory represented in a dream or a vision of the future – all time is dreamtime except for now, and now, and now… 

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Content Starts Teacher Appreciation Week – 10,000 Imagination Classrooms

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Teacher Appreciation Week is just around the corner, and it’s a chance to show our gratitude for our educators’ kind work and dedication. These individuals play a role in sparking creativity in the minds and characters of the next generation, and it’s fantastic to celebrate their efforts.

Our society’s innovation comes from the imagination sparks in the classroom, compassion for one another, and creativity quest guided by our educators. That’s why initiatives like the 10,000 Imagination Classrooms, powered by AIME, are so important. By providing resources and support for educators, we can help them foster an environment where students can thrive and reach their full potential, tapping into their limitless imagination.

As we reflect on teachers’ impact on our lives, we’re reminded of the importance of imagination and creativity in education. We celebrate the joy of teachers and how incredibly dedicated they are to building imaginative classrooms in schools and on playgrounds. To all the teachers out there, we thank you for sparking imagination in our lives and the lives of our students. Your dedication and hard work inspire us to reach for the stars, climb the tallest trees, and slide down the most colorful slides.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we offer this poem:

Thank you, dear teacher, for all you do, for sparking our imagination through and through. You help us explore and reach for the sky and teach us to spread our wings and fly.

With nature as our canvas and stars as our guide, you show us there’s no limit to what we can decide. We climb the tallest trees and slide down the most colorful slides with kind thanks to you, dear teacher, for modeling the way with imagination sparks inside.

So here’s to you, our mentors and friends, on whom our education and imagination expand. We celebrate you and all you do and thank you for the kindness in our hearts – it’s true!

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