Unlocking Possibility Speaker Series

"If stress, trauma and anxiety are eroding our imaginations precisely at the time when we need to be our most vitally imaginative, then where do we find the clues for how to reverse this process?... What if we created the optimal conditions — where we live, where we work, where we study, where we pray, where you walk every day — for the imagination to flourish? What would you do? What would you change?"
— Rob Hopkins, one of our conversation partners on October 19, from his book From What Is to What If

Every crisis can be an invitation to dream. Even in uncertain moments, we are called to imagine better futures together: for ourselves, for our communities, and for our planet. In this series, we’ll be talking with leading thinker-practitioners about the art and practice of imagination: both how to create wide-open spaces for possibilities that others find impossible and what it looks like when our dreams become reality.

Past Speaker Events

Imagine A New Future

What does it look like to go from "What is" to "What if?" To shift from constantly reacting to what we don't want to imagining what we do? Each of us is capable of cultivating our innate capacities for envisioning new futures and moreover, the future of our planet might depend on our ability to do so as individuals and as societies.

On October 19, 2020, we had an aspirational and highly practical conversation with noted author and community activist Rob Hopkins, and award-winning poet Dominique Christina to learn the art and practice of imagining new futures together.

Imagine A New Democracy 

What does it look like to imagine a new way to be community in light of our failing political systems? Our current moment invites us to envision the future we want for our life as a people, not just the one that we fear. It also calls us to craft new hopeful stories for how we can relate to one another in ways that transcend and transform the painful limitations of our current systems. 

Two days after Election Day, on November 5, 2020, we took a deep breath and envisioned new possibilities for democracy in local, national, and global contexts, with acclaimed authors Casper ter Kuile, co-founder of Sacred Design Lab, and co-host of the award-winning podcast, “Harry Potter And the Sacred Text,” and Erica Williams Simon, educator, entrepreneur, and author of You Deserve the Truth, which puts the power of story back into the hands of the people.

Imagine a New Church

What does it look like to follow Jesus in a post-religious age? In this moment when American Christianity’s institutional decline is accelerating rapidly, we have the opportunity to envision new shapes for spiritual community growing up out of the shadow of the old.

On November 18, 2020 we imagined the shape of a new church: re-birthed from ancient roots and decoupled from capitalist Christianity with pastor and writer Rev. Emily Scott, founder of Saint Lydia’s Dinner Church in Brooklyn and now pastor of Dreams and Visions in Baltimore; and Dr. Heber Brown, pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore and founder of the Black Church Food Security Network.

Imagine A New Planet

What does it look like to imagine a new planet, for good or for ill? If COVID-19 was simply a warmup for the catastrophic effects of a warming planet, what does it look like to urgently imagine an earth-nurturing way for us to live on this, our home?

On November 30, 2020 we envisioned a life-sustaining way for all creatures (human and non-human) and the stakes behind our activism with author Bill McKibben, founder of the first global grassroots climate campaign and Rev. Lennox Yearwood, President and Founder of the Hip Hop Caucus.

Putting Imagination Into Action: A Co-Learning Community

In conjunction with the "Unlocking Imagination" speaker series, we also offered a Co-Learning Community which gathered in the alternating weeks between each event, for deeper reflection and for integration and application. Registration for the Co-Learning Community has now closed.  Learn more.