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Enjoy the nature-rich Imaginarium schedule at King’s College this weekend





Visualising a nature-rich future teeming with life is the goal of the upcoming Imaginarium Takeover outside King’s College this weekend (23 & 24 March).

The Imaginarium is part of the Cambridge Festival programme, which started on 13 March and runs until 28 March. This weekend’s events include stories, ideas, creativity and hands-on activities that ask participants to consider ‘What would nature do to build a greener, fairer and more connected future together?’.

Imaginarium organisers, from left, creative producer and artist Hilary Cox Condron; Ruth Sapsed, director, Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination; and Nicole Barton, volunteer and events organiser, Cambridge Carbon Footprint
Imaginarium organisers, from left, creative producer and artist Hilary Cox Condron; Ruth Sapsed, director, Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination; and Nicole Barton, volunteer and events organiser, Cambridge Carbon Footprint

The third annual Imaginarium programme is hosted and facilitated by Cambridge Carbon Footprint, Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination and artist/creative director Hilary Cox Condron.

Alongside a two-day repair cafe shift - Saturday, 10am-2pm, Sunday 1pm-4pm - that people can watch or book an item to have repaired, here are some of the creative highlights:

Fantastical Forest – a unique display of beautiful artworks created with communities

Displayed for the first time in Cambridge, this unique collection of hangings will be hung throughout the Imaginarium. Featuring extraordinary illustrations of our local natural world, the collection has been co-created with 20 communities and eight artists over the last three years.

Nature’s Song - premiere of a new song by award-winning folk group ‘Young Uns’.

Created with children from Wilburton Primary School, the song describes the joy of discovering nature as an ‘Artscaper’, the practice of being creative outdoors pioneered by Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination. The song will be performed on Saturday at 2pm by Sean Cooney from the Young ‘Uns and musician Emily Portman with children from the school. Sean and Emily will also perform nine other songs written with Cambridgeshire children, as part of ‘When Cambridgeshire Sings’, a collaborative project supported by Historic England.

Wildlife sound recordist William Seale, gathering sounds for the new soundscape A Hidden World. Picture: Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination
Wildlife sound recordist William Seale, gathering sounds for the new soundscape A Hidden World. Picture: Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination

You can also meet the Regenerators for Nature - the local regenerators doing extraordinary work across our city and beyond, with stories gathered by artist-writers Gabby Arenge and Emily Dowdeswell.

In The Connect Space will be representatives from more than a dozen local groups and organisations including Parents for the Future & Cambridge Mothers CAN, Camcycle, South Cambs District Council’s Zero Carbon Communities Team, County Council’s Shared Waste Team, Cambridge Sustainable Food, Transition Cambridge, SHEDDIT - Library of Things, Cambridge Nature Network, Damitra the Home Upcycler, On The Verge Cambridge & Pesticide Free Cambridge, Flight Free UK, Cambridge Access Surgery Garden Project, Natural Cambridgeshire.

Nature poet Mary Oliver will be at the Imaginarium 2024 event in Cambridge
Nature poet Mary Oliver will be at the Imaginarium 2024 event in Cambridge

Also in the mix is A Hidden World, a specially created soundscape of the hidden sounds of the natural world recorded at King’s College and across the city.

Created by sonic artist Jake Ziegler, A Hidden World draws on the extraordinary collection of nature recordings by bio-acoustic engineer William Seale gathered over the last 45 years. The piece opens up a world of remarkable sounds, from a burying beetle to the drumming of wasps, a Helvella fungus to peacock butterfly and more. Each “magical and mesmerising sound is layered here to offer an extraordinary new sound experience”, says Ruth Sapsed, director, Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination.

Meanwhile, in The World Beneath Our Feet’, scientist Dr Jen McGaley and her colleagues are bringing their microscopes so we can marvel at the extraordinary examples of tiny fungi that create an underground canopy of threads supporting life above ground.

Gina Barber, Repair Cafe repairer
Gina Barber, Repair Cafe repairer

Samples gathered in the gardens of King’s College by children and young people from Abbey, Arbury and King’s Hedges and from the paths and woods near Addenbrooke’s Hospital will also be shared, alongside creative work made in response. More than 80 people to date have been involved in these investigations of the underground threads that connect our city.

Ruth Sapsed, director, Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination, said: “This event brings together everything Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination is passionate about - children and their families, the natural world on our doorsteps, creativity and connectivity.

The first Imaginarium at the Cambridge Festival. Picture: Cambridge Carbon Footprint
The first Imaginarium at the Cambridge Festival. Picture: Cambridge Carbon Footprint

“Making space and time for us all to re-imagine a greener, fairer and more regenerative Cambridge is good for everyone but we want it to be a place of hope and joy and optimism. These specially curated immersive spaces will be filled with amazing invitations to explore and be amazed thanks to the wonderful artists and communities I’m so lucky to work with.”

Children from Arbury Primary School think about the mycellium samples collected from King’s College Gardens and whose work will be displayed at the Imaginarium. Picture: Cambridge Festival
Children from Arbury Primary School think about the mycellium samples collected from King’s College Gardens and whose work will be displayed at the Imaginarium. Picture: Cambridge Festival

Having been inspired by all the wonders of The Imaginarium, Regenerator stories and the natural world around us, visitors are invited to join Hilary Cox Condron, Imaginarium creative producer, and fellow artist Selena Scott for some regenerative creativity to reimagine a more balanced and connected future. They are asking ‘What Would Nature Do?’ as they transform and recycle the everyday into “a huge 3D artwork bursting with nature and regenerator hopes, ideas and stories”.

“Because how can we adapt to a greener, fairer and more regenerative city if we can’t even begin to imagine it?” says Hilary of the ethos of the Imaginarium.

Nicole Barton, volunteer and events organiser at Cambridge Carbon Footprint, concluded: “With one in six species in Britain today threatened with extinction, it’s essential that we encounter, marvel and learn from what we have left.”

Further details here.



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