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The Imaginarium

Cultivating collective imagination,
a longing for something better and positive action for a greener, fairer and more connected world.

As Imaginarium Artist-in-Residence with Cambridge Carbon Footprint I design and facilitate  provocative creative spaces, inviting visitors to be playful and imaginative whilst engaging with scientists, researchers and campaigners to develop new ideas, actionable skills and a broader vision of systemic change for the future. “Hilary was fed up being told certain communities in the city were hard to reach“ wrote Rob Hopkins, founder of The Transition Network “but setting up in a shopping centre broke down barriers, with hundreds of people coming into the space on the day the Imaginarium was open”.


The Cambridge Imaginarium was launched at the Cambridge Festival in 2022.Collaborating with volunteers, campaigners, environmentalists and researchers, the Imaginarium offered a fantastical and provocative environment for creativity and exploration and gave space and trust that wonderful things would emerge. And they did: An estimated 560 ‘Architects of the Future’ engaged with the conversations and created an installation from recycled materials over two days, helping to shape the themes of subsequent Imaginariums.


This 'pop-up' Imaginarium in a Cambridge shopping centre was developed in collaboration with The University of Cambridge for The Festival of Social Science: bringing academics, creatives, campaigners and dreamers to share stories, knowledge and hopes for the future. Working with artists, The Death Cafe, Cambridge Land Justice, LGBTQ Heritage, Archeologists and Doctors, residents were invited to explore possibilities and creatively imagine a better future - a city without borders - and start shaping positive action action.

"If facts and figures changed things we would not be in the midst of environmental breakdown.

We would already be well on our way to creating a greener and fairer planet on which all species could thrive. Our challenge now is to create a longing for something better, to give ourselves the time and space to imagine and visualise what a different, brighter future might look like."

Nicole Barton

Cambridge Carbon Footprint


The Imaginarium returned to The Cambridge Festival 2023 as The Shrink Lab: an invitation to learn the practical skills needed to reduce our carbon footprint and imagine a fantastical future where we shrink our human impact and make space for nature.


Working alongside the Cambridge Carbon Footprint team and volunteers, as well as experts from FlightFree UK, Cambridge Sustainable Food, Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination and The Wildlife Trust, participants chatted, learnt and made connections, whilst transforming this lecture theatre to create this installation of a future teaming with life - as well as reimaging spaces for liberated learning. 


Funded through the University I am currently designing and producing Imaginarium resources, guidance and an online space for Cambridge Carbon Footprint. This will continue to grow the network and enable residents to run their own events and share findings and connections to inform and change the places they live. 

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