Westminster Diocese launches Collective Imagining Project

Source: Caritas Westminster

Schools in Westminster Diocese are exploring a new way to engage students in community outreach and Catholic Social Teaching being offered by Caritas Westminster.

Imagining Futures has been launched as part of Caritas Westminster’s 10th anniversary celebrations. This project is designed to encourage audacious collective imagining in schools, to create ambitious visions for the future, and inspire students to take small steps for personal and society change.

A two-part project to be completed over two terms, Imagining Futures stimulates students to express a positive, hopeful view of the future through creative arts, and to take social action. It will enhance the Catholic life of the schools that take part and connect students to their local communities, and will start in September 2022.

Meriel Woodward Assistant Director of Caritas Westminster, said: “We are faced with some of the biggest challenges the human race has ever faced; climate change, inequality, mass migration, war and polarising politics, and our response is often fear. But it is well known among cognitive scientists that fear triggers fight or flight receptors and causes our brain to shut down. The result is anxiety and apathy at a time when action is needed more than ever.

“Messages of hope on the other hand, open up the mind to creative solutions.” She continued, “It is young people who often have the greatest capacity for creativity and for cutting through to share the message. Imagining Futures will bring people together to dream for a better future.

“As Pope Francis said in Let Us Dream: ‘We can start to discern, to see new possibilities, at least in the little things that surround us, or that we do each day. And then, as we commit to those small things we start to imagine another way of living together, of servicing our fellow beloved creatures. We can begin to dream of real change, change that is possible.’ “

Imagining Futures has been designed by educational experts, with experience in bringing the values of Catholic Social Teaching to young audiences.

In the first term, students will be given a space to exercise their collective imaginations and envision a hopeful view of their local community in ten years’ time. The students will express that vision through the creative arts, whether that be traditional artwork, sculpture, poetry, prose, playwriting, or any other medium that they and their teacher sees fit.

In the second term students will take small but meaningful steps towards this vision by planning and enacting a social action project in their local community. In seeing the impact they can have, students will learn that the vision they imagined is not only possible but one they can (and should) have a hand in working towards.

The whole experience will give students a good basis of Catholic Social Teaching, and it stands alongside Caritas Westminster’s other programme for primary schools, Caritas Ambassadors, which has been gaining in popularity in Westminster Diocese since its inception three years ago.

Caritas Westminster is the official social outreach charity of the Roman Catholic diocese of Westminster, which covers most of London North of the Thames, and Hertfordshire. For more information see: www.caritaswestminster.org.uk/

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