Transforming communities with kindness, Imagination Lab in action

iOi Imagination Lab Programme Manager Karien Stroucken shares her experience of running the Imagination Lab at Best Fest in Ramsgate.

For the second year running, our mobile Imagination Lab travelled to Ramsgate in Kent to spread its wings in the Newington community at the much-celebrated Best Fest Community Arts Festival, part of The Best of Us project.

Newington is one of the most deprived areas of England and The Best of Us was started by a group of residents striving to improve their neighbourhood. Supported by People United and Newington Big Local, The Best of Us has grown into a large-scale community arts movement, collecting and celebrating the many good news stories from Newington.

This time the Imagination Lab was focused on imagining kindness in the future and brought a space for dreaming of a future where kindness rules. Families created an ideal world full of things that matter to them through storytelling, crafts and 3D animation, under the cover of a large futuristic dome.

Photo 1 & featured image

The Lab offered a safe and encouraging space to imagine freely, enabling children with their families to create scenes of how the world could be, transcending the reality of daily life to consider future realities. Children travelled through the universe at the speed of light, free from obstacles or difficulties and challenging circumstances.

The Lab collected many resident’s stories about kindness. Two children wrote a story about a kind stranger helping them when they had fallen out of their wheelchairs. Other ideas ranged from gift giving, smiling, generosity and embracing the unknown through to being open minded to strangers coming to visit.

Stories were symbolically collected and ‘teleported’ to the future to help understand what this new generation think the world could look like. If the children choose to do so, the animation could also be emailed to a person to whom they wanted to send a little kindness.

Photo 2

All in all, an inspiring, colourful and insightful day for the Imagination Lab. We are very grateful for these opportunities to inspire people all over the UK, to help them express their ideas creatively, through traditional arts and crafts as well as through accessible technology. Our thanks go to People United who iOi continue to work with and collaborate with as a partner organisation.

Stopframe animation made at Best Fest in Ramsgate, ‘The Future of Kindness’.

The video features a stranger helping someone who falls out of their wheelchair.

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