In its earliest guise, Department of Dreams was an acknowledgement that when investing in the dark matter of large scale system change, we must also invest in the dream matter – the artists, writers, designers, dreamers and creative visionaries – those who dare to dream up bold new futures for humanity, and have the capacity to stretch our imaginations further than we ever thought possible.
“In this time of crisis, we face two particularly important choices. The first is between totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment. The second is between nationalist isolation and global solidarity.” ―Yuval Harari
We have spent the start of 2020 doing things a little differently from setting up Impact Hub Birmingham, where we signed a lease and launched a crowdfunder, jumping out of the aeroplane and building the parachute on the way down.
“It could be that the neighbourhood, not the individual, is the essential unit of social change.
If you’re trying to improve lives, maybe you have to think about changing many elements of a single neighbourhood, in a systematic way, at a steady pace.” ―David Brooks
In complex systems, it has never been true that we first know and then act. We begin by experimenting, tentatively, until we understand a bit more about the context in order to further adapt the course of action, quickly following up with the next move.
One of the most detailed pieces of work we have been doing over the last two years — and potentially one of the most imminent, significant changes for us — has been thinking about how CIVIC SQUARE is financed in the short term.
The last time we spoke, we were saying goodbye to Impact Hub Birmingham after 5 years of work, joy, learning and growth. It was such an enlightening, busy, scary and proud time, and closing this chapter was so much more than simply closing the doors for a final time and walking away.
CIVIC adj. about the city; relating to municipal administration; the duties or activities of people in relation to their place. SQUARE n. a large open area traditionally found at the heart of a town; used for community gatherings; a place where people come together to meet; often home to markets, concerts, shops and cafés.
Over the last 5 years we have collectively crafted a 6000 sq. ft collaborative space designed to make it easier to do the work that matters, acting as a physical and social habitat for projects, practices, organisations, events and ideas.