About Us and the Atlas

The Civic Imagination Project taps the civic imagination (our collective vision for what a better tomorrow might look like) to bridge perceived cultural gaps between diverse communities.  The Project builds on eight years of research through Henry Jenkins's Civic Paths’ participation in MacArthur's Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics, which culminated with the publication of By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism.

We see the civic imagination as a tool and concept that can help us:

  • Imagine a better world
  • Imagine the process of change
  • Imagine ourselves as civic agents
  • Imagine our connections with a larger community
  • Forge solidarity with others with different experiences than our own
  • Bring an imaginative dimension to our real world spaces and places

The concept of the civic imagination provides us with an action and research agenda. We map the civic imagination through research, case studies, workshops and brainstorming session with people from diverse grassroots communities, ultimately creating a digital resource that will help us identify, map, and analyze stories created by many people. We engage scholars and practitioners across disciplines in discussions, and we use these insights as springboards for analysis and work with artists to bring this to life. We also continue to write and develop further workshops with community partners.

The link between theory and practice is an integral part of our process. We want to bring together diverse perspectives, encouraging people to share their memories, dreams and hopes with each other. Such diverse perspectives provide the social foundation for civic life, especially when coupled with supports for people to find their voice and talk across their differences. Such are the primary goals of the practice-based community work we do. Our team is based in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California and we are keenly aware of the role that place plays in our own work; we actively endeavor to build bridges from the University to the outside world. Our collaborations and interventions attempt to harness the active imagination of disparate groups and create opportunities for creativity and network building.

In the Atlas of the Civic Imagination we invite community leaders, media makers and storytellers to share their stories and experiences. Our goal here is to make the stories that inspire the imagination visible and through this encourage conversation, creativity and action. To that end, we invite the following types of submissions:

- reflections and responses to our 2060: Reflections from the Future participatory storytelling challenge,

- experiences from folks who have run our civic imagination Workshops, and

- stories that people working in the general space of imagination and civics want to share.

So, imagine with us!

The Atlas of the Civic Imagination is part of a partnership between the National Writing Project and the Civic Imagination Project.

We are committed to supporting people’s creative civic participation by providing a safe and supportive environment for imagination, writing, media creation, sharing, and publishing. Through its affiliation with the National Writing Project, the Atlas is COPPA compliant and facilitator-managed.