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Imagine Project

Imagine Logo

Imagine – connecting communities through research was a five-year research project (2012-17) funded by the Economic and Social Research Council under the Connected Communities programme. It had a focus on ‘civic engagement’ (the roles people play in the lives of their communities). It had four different ‘work packages’, which are described on the overall Imagine project website:

  • A booklet produced in two days in September 2017 to celebrate the work of the project: Imagine Booklet

Durham University coordinated Work Package 2 (Imagine2) on the historical context of civic engagement, which was led by Professor Sarah Banks, Durham University. The research was located in three places: Benwell in Newcastle; part of North Shields in North Tyneside; and Hillfields in Coventry. These three areas were formerly part of the National Community Development Project (CDP), which was Britain’s first national area-based anti-poverty programme in the 1970s.

In each area, teams of university researchers (from Durham and Warwick) and a range of community organisations undertook research and a programme of related activities. We looked at the work and legacies of the CDPs, the history of regeneration in each area, how local people have been involved (or not), the visions of local people, community workers, policy-makers and politicians (and how these differ) and considered how local communities can be engaged in imagining and creating better futures for their areas.



Imagining Benwell (2016) 
This film includes extracts from four films, made as part of community projects for Imagine North East. 'Filming change' is a film about the historic graveyard at St James Church in Benwell made by the St James' Heritage and Environment Group; 'Growing old in West Newcastle' shows a boat trip down the River Tyne to reflect how the area has changed. The boat trip was one of several activities for older people organised by Search; 'Never Felt so Good' shows the launch of an exhibition at St James' Church, Benwell, the culmination of a felting art project by St James' Centre for Heritage and Culture and 'Hopes and Fears', a film making project with young people by the Patchwork Project.

Imagine Project Video Playlist (4 videos) 
Some community partners created films as part of their Imagine North East project.


Articles in a themed issue of the Community Development Journal:

Imagine2 Launch Event

  • The Imagine2 research project held a launch event on Thursday 3rd April 2014 at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Imagine North East Exhibition Launch

  • On Saturday 27th June 2015, there was the launch of the Imagine North East Exhibition at St James' Church, Benwell, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

Imagining Benwell Workshop and Exhibition

Imagining North Shields Workshop and Exhibition

Imagine2 Briefing

Imagine North East Films

Imagine North East Booklets

  • In June 2015 we published two booklets, which can be accessed here: 

          Imagining Benwell: Past, Present and Future

          Imagining North Shields: Past, Present and Future

Imagine North East Blog and Timelines

Imagine Impact and Knowledge Exchange Event with DCLG 2016

Imagine North East Final Reports 2016-17

Imagine Census/Statistics: Benwell, North Tyneside and Hillfields (Coventry)

SAS Tables