From the outside in… and back again

In November, I spotted a funding call from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation seeking a producer for a project they were calling a ‘Collective Imagination Practitioners Ecosystem’. Through arts-focused action (but not exclusively), this was a call for the development of new ways of building communities and connections locally and nationally. The language was pretty vague, but looking at the projects that they have funded in the past (Civic Square for example), there seemed to be a potential to do something quite radical and interesting: politically, economically, culturally. Success would give TMS money to independently fund small projects and initiatives aimed at avoiding the usual pitfalls of ‘regeneration’ schemes and the problem of reliance on private investors.

So, working with Estelle (Creative Exchange Co-ordinator), Joel (Regenerative Practitioner-in-Residence) and Uwe (TMS Director), we put together an application – three pages outlining a vision of what could be done, why Thanet and The Margate School are ideally placed, and how what we have been experimenting with already (e.g. my role as Sociologist-in-Residence) can help form the basis of this. Our argument was that it’s at the fringes and margins that creativity and change emerge – and Thanet couldn’t be much more on the edge.

And… we were shortlisted to the final four applications! While it was disappointing not to win, this application is another example of how practical collaborative work can come out of a few simple chats and being co-present.