What is an Imagining?
It's a way for people to come together to bridge the gap from what is to what could be—an opportunity to bring our full creative selves to envision possibility and then translate that into pragmatic social action.
The USDAC's pilot round of Imaginings has officially begun. On June 29th, Cultural Agent Lynden Harris invited the citizens of Carrboro, North Carolina to take part in a dynamic, arts-infused, county-fair inspired gathering. Harris comes to us as the Founder and Director of Hidden Voices, an organization modeled on the transformative power of the individual voice.
And the individual voice is just what we need to start the collective conversation.
During and in between performances in Carrboro, groups gathered at designated 'conversation stations' to discuss how creative tactics and collaborations could improve health, housing and neighborhoods, foodways and other systems [via The Herald Sun], imagining how life could be different in 2034 if art's transformative power was more deeply integrated into public life.
“I think as a culture we have tended to remove (art) from our lives and made it into something separate,” Harris said [via Chapel Hill News]. But it's not, she argues.
"Separation is an illusion," Harris says [via Chapel Hill News].
This is one of the first steps in the larger Imagining series, which will continue to invite individuals in communities across the country to imagine how different forms of art and culture have the potential to change the way we view, talk about, and drive both community development and national policy, from the ground up. With the Great Southeastern Imagining, Harris and her team created something that isn't normally a part of conversations surrounding policy: an inclusive opportunity to dream aloud within a context of celebration and play.
"The spirit of the conversation is ‘yes, and,’ and we aren’t debating, we aren’t trying to convince each other. It’s ‘We’ll be building on each other’s visions,’ and I think that’s really important" [via Daily Tar Heel].