A 3 horizons workshop

Envisaging three horizons – what does the current system look like, what might be possible and how can we together imagine a new future

We gathered recently as a group of CCI stakeholders – colleagues, trustees and artists –for a Three Horizon workshop facilitated by trustees Zoe Gilbertson and Emily Dowdeswell. This offers a framework in which a group of people can come together with different ideas and imagine a new future together. The goal is to create a landscape that can help inform the next steps for an organisation. 

The workshop quickly filled with reflections on the current paradigms, assumptions, and infrastructures. The role of schools and systems, the narratives around learning, and the place of the arts were raised as key concerns. We discussed how the Arts are not valued at a political or social level with an increasing lack of training and institutional support for the value of an arts education. It was felt that these forces conspire to push learners to think and focus on their individual self-interest at the cost of others, especially the most. There was a over-riding sense that school structures and systems are not always fit for purpose. 

As we moved towards the second and third horizons, the conversation surfaced three prevalent patterns across the ideas and reflection shared. 

  1. Transformation: There was a strong desire to move towards lifelong learning, outdoor learning and learning woven through everything: an ongoing, emergent process that is more embodied, creative, and expansive. In this transformed landscape, teachers would be treated as creative practitioners and co-learners building sustained flows of knowledge exchange underpinned with a deep respect for fellow learners, communities and environments.
  2. Community Building: There was a call for more time for community to develop, for children to develop confidence to know what they like today without worrying about the future, and for intergenerational learning with elders, peers and adults. Coherent with the idea of learning as an ongoing process, and teaching as co-learning, there was a call too for teachers to be given the time to explore their own interests 
  3. Space to explore: Space allows for things to happen. There is a need for spaces of learning that can transform and change, which can be supported by outdoor classrooms, by dedicated time outdoors, and for unruly 'artscaping' that supports material experimentation.

The workshop showed how with time and space a new horizon is possible that makes learning more about creative flourishing, grounded in place, community and heritage. A hyper local approach to learning rooted in cultural capital in its widest sense of the meaning, where learning is centred on care for ourselves, each other and all beings.

At present schools can be unhappy places where spirits are crushed…. interventions are everywhere. But there are glimmers of hope. We have things emerging to help us feel optimistic for the future. Spaces of Liberated Learning are starting to appear - we have CCI, we have little glimpses of valuing adults, youth clubs, skate parks and holiday clubs, we've got spaces for learning for young people that are more like studios and community organisations reaching out, researching, and campaigning for arts and health opportunities. We've got David Attenborough and as we move into the future (when we might not have David Attenborough), we look to a place where we have the freedom to value time for relationships and community, spaces for flourishing outdoors and spaces where people can feel they belong. We'll have schools without walls and boundaries and best of all we’ll have space and time for people to be the individuals they are, and we will value that.

CCI’s Director Ruth Sapsed told this story of the map we had created together to end the session