Cultivating Imagination:
Leading Toward
a Just Future


Following publication of Cultivating Imagination in Leadership: Transforming Schools and Communities (Teachers College Press, 2023), we have been looking for additional ways to get people thinking about the importance of imagination in responding to today’s educational challenges—among them, addressing students’ wide-ranging physical, emotional, social, and academic needs, and facilitating learning in contexts of inequity, violence, a world-wide pandemic, and the climate crisis. We recognize that entrenched processes, structures, and beliefs have shaped and continue to sustain inequitable educational systems that do not serve everyone equally. And we believe that educational leaders have a great opportunity and responsibility to lead in ways that disrupt the status quo that reproduces inequality; alongside students, parents, and community, educational leaders must imagine the ‘not yet’ of education. The education system must be a catalyst for changing inequitable relations. The Cultivating Imagination: Leading Toward a Just Future project is grounded in the belief that educational leaders require imagination to navigate complex and often contradictory pressures and envision new futures.

Imagination enables unlearning and pushing beyond the “we can’t” to open up new possibilities. We believe imagination is required for meaning-making in a turbulent world; it allows for understanding of self and the development of empathy for others. Leadership imagination is needed to not only improve inclusion and accessibility, but to alter the relationships with each other and how humans live in relation to the living natural world.The Cultivating Imagination project will offer a knowledge dissemination engine on a neglected topic: how imagination contributes to leadership and the practical ways leaders can and do cultivate imagination to support social and ecological justice. The Cultivating Imagination project will amplify practical and collaborative enactments of leadership that cultivate imagination and open up new possibilities for just education.

Our leaders’ stories will be shared through podcasts and blogs. They will explore how distinct ways of engaging imagination in the world—practices at the heart of an approach to teaching called Imaginative Education—shape their leadership. In this way, they will offer a critical, reflective examination of their imaginative practices and how those practices promote equity and social justice. The project will conclude with an interactive, virtual roundtable event.

Engage along with us! Listen to the podcasts, read the blogs, and use the resources to cultivate your imagination and imagination in your community. Share widely with your networks to help us address misunderstanding of what imagination means. Help us amplify what imagination practically is and what it practically does to support leadership for social and ecological justice.

Gillian Judson & Meaghan Dougherty (Project Co-Leads)

Latest Articles

  • Knowing and the Imagination in Uncertain Times
    By Sean Blenkinsop,  Professor in the faculty of education at Simon Fraser University Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to be part of a dialogue with Andy Hargreaves where we explored ideas connected to educational leadership and the imagination.  And, thanks to all present, it was an interesting and engaging … Read more
  • Curiosity, Imagination, Creativity and Action
    A new approach to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion By Andy Hargreaves, Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa and Research Professor at Boston College. Note: This blog is an extension of the Cultivating Imagination podcast Episode 2: Shared Spaces, Multiple Voices- Imagining Inclusive and Sustainable Educational Ecosystems with Sean Blenkinsop … Read more
  • Imagination is…
    by Vidya Shah, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education, York University Is imagination an end in and of itself? Is it a means to an end or perhaps various ends? I often think about the importance of imagination as resistance to the status quo and to power structures that … Read more