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Imagining our Social Connections with a

Larger Community

We see the imagination as central to the formation of collective identities, imagined/imagining communities, and shared histories.

The “Step into the Looking Glass” workshop invites participants to engage with well-known popular culture content worlds to build social connections and begin imagining community. Defined as the narrative universes contained in books, TV shows, movies, comic-books, and other popular culture or fan spaces, content worlds are used to surface cultural interests as an entry into a deeper exploration of shared values and connections.

The workshop opens with a brainstorm style discussion surfacing content worlds that participants know and like. Participants then divide into smaller groups based on content world preference; each participant should be familiar with their group’s selected content world. Working in their smaller groups, the facilitator invites participants to “enter their content world” by stepping through the metaphorical “looking glass.” A series of written prompts and branching question trees guide participants through a ‘tour’ of their chosen imaginary content world and gives them guidance in imagining a situation or an encounter with a fictional character that would help them come up with an unfinished (cliff hanger style) short story that they can bring back to the “real world” as a provocation that could be used to inspire thoughtful dialogue.


Optionally, the facilitator then has the groups rotate so that they each receive another group’s provocation. They they move through an exquisite corpse-like exercise, completing several cycles of exchange, working with and adding to each others materials.  In this way, the participants engage with each other’s stories through a process that taps participatory practices where everyone contributes, but no one fully controls a project.

Download the Practicing Futures Handbook and specific workshop instructions here.

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