From the first mark on a cave wall to the first footsteps on the Moon, our greatest developments have begun with leaps of someone’s imagination.
Imagination is the cornerstone of creativity, problem solving and innovation. It’s an essential skill for life.
In an era of rapid global change, being able to imagine a world that doesn’t yet exist has never been more vital.
But imagination is not being given the attention it deserves. This crucial skill is being overlooked.
Our ongoing research and activities already show the impact a focus on imagination can have.
We are creating a new world-class cultural destination in the capital that will put children at its heart. A much-needed space where children and their families can let their imaginations run free.
It will be one of a kind — a hybrid between a museum, gallery, community centre, science centre, and laboratory. A dedicated space for people to explore, experiment, make, play and create together. To follow their own interests and trigger new ideas. It will be for everyone, whatever their background, wherever they are from, whatever their age.
Even the way we’re funded will be different — we have developed a sustainable business model that will secure the future of the Institute of Imagination for generations to come.
Imagination has no bounds, so neither do we — we won’t be limited to just the sciences, or just arts. We will welcome over 600,000 visitors per annum to the Institute and many thousands more off-site and online.
Every child is born with the capability to imagine. Yet children of today have less time and space to use their imaginations. Opportunities to imagine, explore and experiment without pre-determined outcomes are increasingly rare. In a 24-hour society, children’s lives are often overscheduled. They are under constant pressure to succeed at schools that place an emphasis on formal learning under specific subject disciplines.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Emerging opportunities, such as developments in technology, can provide a new way for future generations to be makers of things, not just consumers of things. We need a climate in which ideas can thrive. A much-needed public space that prioritises the imagination. London, as a world leading cultural city, a city unrivalled in terms of its heritage and diversity, is the prime location for this space.
To make the Institute of Imagination happen, we are working with a host of world-renowned experts including Sir Ken Robinson, one of our patrons and a specialist in education and creativity, and our Project Designer, Thomas Heatherwick CBE.
Behind the organisation is a world-class team, supported by a fantastic and diverse Advisory Board and group of Patrons. We’re working with organisations spanning the fields of visual and performing arts, the sciences, technology and education.
We are also drawing on ongoing conversations with teachers, parents, carers and our most important contributors — children themselves. We have carried out the largest pre-opening consultation with children in the UK involving over 1,500 children, and children are being involved in every step of our development.
We like to think of ourselves as choreographers of imagination. We’re not here to dictate. We’re here to create space for imaginations to thrive.
We know that it will work because we’ve already been testing out our ideas. We’ve sparked the imaginations of over 1,500 children and their families through our Imagination Lab and reached hundreds more in schools with our mobile Imagination Pods.
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Professor Alison Gopnik Professor of Psychology and Affiliate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley
Dame Mary Marsh Director of Clore Social Leadership Programme, former Chief Executive, NSPCC
Michael Morpurgo OBE Author and playwright
Professor Mick Waters Professor of Education, President of the Curriculum Foundation
Sir Ken Robinson Author, speaker and international advisor on education and creativity
Mark Wallinger Artist and Turner Prize winner
Sally Bacon Executive Director, Clore Duffield Foundation
Dr Derek Cabrera Cornell University and Founder of ThinkWorks
Laurent Carrier Experience and Exhibition Designer, Founding Partner of Toboggan Design
Helen Chambers Associate, National Children's Bureau
Alison Cole Strategic Consultant and writer, arts and culture
Dr Laura Colosi Cornell University and CEO of ThinkWorks
Bernadette Duffy OBE Head of the Thomas Coram Centre
Rhian Harris Director, V&A Museum of Childhood
Thomas Heatherwick CBE Project Designer, founder of Heatherwick Studios
Patricia Lankester Adviser and trustee to a range of cultural organisations
Dr Stuart Lester Senior Lecturer in Play and Playwork, University of Gloucestershire
Mat Lown Partner and Head of Sustainability, Tuffin Ferraby Taylor LLP
Dr Lisa Månsson Director of Exhibits and Program, Tom Tits Experiment, Sweden
Dr Robin Meisner Director of Exhibits, Providence Children’s Museum, Rhode Island, USA
Dr Ute Navidi Independent international consultant and former Chief Executive of London Play
Alex Poots Founding CEO & Artistic Director, Manchester International Festival; Artistic Director, Park Avenue Armory NYC
Jacqueline Rose Cultural Strategy Manager and Big Dance Director, Greater London Authority
Robert Sain Executive Director, the Centre of the Living Arts, Mobile, Alabama, USA
Jason Silva Futurist, filmmaker, and host of National Geographic Channel’s Brain Games
Sir John Sorrell Chairman, London Design Festival and UKTI Ambassador for the Creative Industries
Professor Andrew Tolmie Dean of the Doctoral School, Institute of Education, University of London
Lady Marina Vaizey Art Critic, writer and lecturer
David Wells Manager of Creative Making & Learning, New York Hall of Science
Honor Wilson-Fletcher MBE CEO of education charity, the Aldridge Foundation
Anne Wood CBE Creative Director of Ragdoll Productions
Dr Anthony Woods Director, Genesis Research Trust
Penelope, Viscountess Cobham CBE Chair of Visit England
Boris Johnson Mayor of London
Harvey McGrath Former Chairman of Prudential plc
Lord Robert Winston Professor of Science and Society, Imperial College London
Ric Lewis, Chair Ric is Founder, Chief Executive and Chairman of Tristan Capital Partners. He dedicates his spare time to voluntary organisations working to improve access and quality in education for children from less advantaged backgrounds.
Michelle Dorion, Founding Chair A former banker, Michelle oversees a family office with interests in renewable energy, finance, insurance and real estate. A former member of the Board of Directors of Bacardi Ltd, Michelle is one of the Institute of Imagination’s co- Founders.
Basil Demeroutis Basil is Founder and Managing Partner of FORE Partnership, a real estate investment firm. Previously a partner at Capricorn Investment Group, a significant single-family office focused on driving investment returns through a values-based, impact- oriented approach.
Emma Gilpin-Jacobs Emma specialises in strategic communications and corporate reputation. Previously, she led on global brand positioning and strategic communications for various international organisations including the Financial Times Group and Time Warner. She is also a Board member of the Press Recognition Panel.
Kate Grussing Kate is Founder and Managing Director of Sapphire Partners, a pioneering executive search consultancy. She has previously held senior international positions at JP Morgan, McKinsey and Morgan Stanley.
Jane Quinn OBE Jane is co-Founder and Director of Bolton & Quinn, the UK’s leading specialist communications agency, working on cultural and educational developments worldwide.
Mary Reilly Mary is a former Partner at Deloitte LLP, where she was Head of Charities. She is former Chair of the London Development Agency and now holds a number of non- Executive Director positions including Travelzoo Inc, Ferrexpo PLC and the Department of Transport.
Paul Simon Paul is an Associate Partner with Earth Capital Partners and has significant experience in investment banking and private equity. Paul also advises Lord Stanley Fink.
Diana Uehlein Diana is one of the Institute of Imagination’s co-Founders. Professionally, she has been dedicated to innovation in childcare and family support, providing consultancy for organisations such as Work/Family Directions in Boston.
Nick Viner Nick is Chief Executive of Firefly Capital. Previously, as its founding Chief Executive, he oversaw the development of JW3, London’s award-winning Jewish Cultural and Community Centre.
Simone Crofton Chief Executive Formerly Chief Executive of Borough Market, Simone brings a background in cultural place-making and visitor attractions. A venture capitalist earlier in her career, she brings significant experience of income generation and strategic business development. Previously Non-Executive Director, Better Bankside and Board Member, Southbank Cultural Quarter.
Gareth Binns Director of Content and Learning Gareth brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about developing learning environments, programmes and resources. Formerly Head of Education and Interpretation at the National Trust, Director of Learning at Nesta, Keeper of Learning and Information at the British Museum, and CEO of the Sorrell Foundation.
Tom Doust Associate Director: Learning, Innovation and Digital Programmes Co-founded an educational charity which enables children and young people to design and deliver social action projects. He was a 2013 Clore Social Fellow and worked with Nesta on their Impact Investment Programme.
Kate Bines Head of Communications Marketing and communications professional with experience across the voluntary and creative sectors. Formerly led the V&A Museum of Childhood through a major rebranding and repositioning exercise.
Jennifer Coleman Director of Development Formerly Head of Volunteer Board Fundraising, NSPCC, where she started her career as a graduate trainee. She was part of the core team that drove the £250m FULL STOP Appeal and developed the Society’s flagship Art Ball.
Tríona Larkin Development Manager Formerly Corporate Partnerships Manager at St Mungo’s Broadway. Tríona specialises in corporate and major donor fundraising and special events.
Robert Cresswell Finance Director Strategic and commercial finance director specialising in the charity sector. He is a qualified chartered accountant with experience in a Big 4 firm. He has most recently worked with the Invictus Games, and is a trustee and treasurer for a local care home.
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