Imagination is a fundamental human capacity, practiced by individuals, communities, and cultures the world over. The act of imagination, creating mental images and simulations beyond our direct, physical experience, is the ignition system for creativity, anticipation, collaborative problem-solving, and resilience—the skills we need to navigate the global challenges of the twenty-first century. Yet outside of early childhood and in a few creative settings, this ability remains woefully underdeveloped in our societies today.
Starting in 2021, the Center for Science and the Imagination aims to intervene in this divide through a new research project on Applied Imagination. Convening a multi-institutional network of scholars, educators, community leaders, policy thinkers, and practitioners, we will explore how imagination is seen, valued, and practiced across a variety of contexts. Informed by this work, we will catalyze new collaborations, projects, and trainings that can be used and adapted by educators, facilitators, learners across a multitude of settings.