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What do we want our towns, cities and villages to be in the future? What will your place be like in 2050? Join this workshop, with artist Michelle Rumney and Director of the Victoria County History of England Catherine Clarke, to make a creative #FutureMap of your place. The first 50 people to register will receive a pack of materials to help and inspire you. No artistic experience or ability needed! With the renewal of places across the UK firmly on the agenda, through government policies such as the Towns Fund and Levelling Up, we’ll be starting a conversation about how research and creativity can help us imagine the places we hope to see. Recommended for ages 14+.  

What to expect 

This interactive workshop will begin with a very short talk from Professor Catherine Clarke, introducing some of the research contexts for the activity. Catherine is Director of the Victoria County History of England: an ongoing project, founded in 1899, to write the history of every county in England from the earliest times to the present day. It brings together local communities, volunteers and specialist academics. Understanding the past of our places helps us imagine their possible futures. This workshop also draws on the work of the current research scoping project Towns and the Cultural Economies of Recovery, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which explores the role of culture, arts and heritage in the regeneration and development of our towns, especially in the context of policies like the Towns Fund and Levelling Up. 

After a short introduction to these contexts, Catherine and Michelle will introduce you to the concept of ‘future mapping’ and you’ll be given plenty of inspiration and guidance to create your own #FutureMap of a place of your choice, using drawing, collage, tracing and other techniques. The workshop will include time for you to work on your own #FutureMap, as well as opportunities for sharing and feedback (if you choose). 

Your creative maps will help us explore how imagination and creativity can help us think about the possible futures of our places. We will invite participants to share their #FutureMap with us on social media or by email. Look out for tweets from @CHPPC_IHR with the #FutureMap / #FutureHistory hashtag in the run-up to the workshop – we’ll be sharing teasers, inspiration and ideas. 

What you’ll need 

The first 50 people to register for the workshop (based in the UK) will receive a pack of materials to use. Register by the end of Sunday 7 November to receive a pack.

 Everyone at the workshop will need to have their own: 
  • Blank paper as a base for the map 
  • Pencils, pens 
  • Scissors, glue 

You may also want to start thinking about the possible future of your place. Look for local government planning documents, ways your place has been imagined by writers or artists, visualisations of the impact of climate change etc. What do you hope to see in the future? 

Those who don’t receive the materials pack may also want to have: 
  • Coloured paper 
  • Pieces of old maps, particularly of your chosen place, or print-outs of old / new maps 
  • Stickers, washi tape, fabrics, photos – anything you might use to embellish your map 

Image caption / credit: Michelle Rumney, 'The Road to Tobemory'

This event is part of the Being Human festival, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, taking place 11-20 November 2021. Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. For further information please see

All welcome

This event is free to attend, but booking is required. It will be held online with details about how to join the virtual event being circulated via email to registered attendees 24 hours in advance.