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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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Content Starts Welcome to the Gutenberg Editor

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Of Mountains & Printing Presses

The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This whole post is composed of pieces of content—somewhat similar to LEGO bricks—that you can move around and interact with. Move your cursor around and you’ll notice the different blocks light up with outlines and arrows. Press the arrows to reposition blocks quickly, without fearing about losing things in the process of copying and pasting.

What you are reading now is a text block the most basic block of all. The text block has its own controls to be moved freely around the post…

… like this one, which is right aligned.

Headings are separate blocks as well, which helps with the outline and organization of your content.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.

Beautiful landscape
If your theme supports it, you’ll see the “wide” button on the image toolbar. Give it a try.

Try selecting and removing or editing the caption, now you don’t have to be careful about selecting the image or other text by mistake and ruining the presentation.

The Inserter Tool

Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.

Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:

  • Text & Headings
  • Images & Videos
  • Galleries
  • Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
  • Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
  • And Lists like this one of course 🙂

Visual Editing

A huge benefit of blocks is that you can edit them in place and manipulate your content directly. Instead of having fields for editing things like the source of a quote, or the text of a button, you can directly change the content. Try editing the following quote:

The editor will endeavor to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.

Matt Mullenweg, 2017

The information corresponding to the source of the quote is a separate text field, similar to captions under images, so the structure of the quote is protected even if you select, modify, or remove the source. It’s always easy to add it back.

Blocks can be anything you need. For instance, you may want to add a subdued quote as part of the composition of your text, or you may prefer to display a giant stylized one. All of these options are available in the inserter.

You can change the amount of columns in your galleries by dragging a slider in the block inspector in the sidebar.

Media Rich

If you combine the new wide and full-wide alignments with galleries, you can create a very media rich layout, very quickly:

Accessibility is important — don’t forget image alt attribute

Sure, the full-wide image can be pretty big. But sometimes the image is worth it.

The above is a gallery with just two images. It’s an easier way to create visually appealing layouts, without having to deal with floats. You can also easily convert the gallery back to individual images again, by using the block switcher.

Any block can opt into these alignments. The embed block has them also, and is responsive out of the box:

You can build any block you like, static or dynamic, decorative or plain. Here’s a pullquote block:

Code is Poetry

The WordPress community

If you want to learn more about how to build additional blocks, or if you are interested in helping with the project, head over to the GitHub repository.

Thanks for testing Gutenberg!


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