Philosophical Conversations (January 2020)

“No matter how much experience we may gather in life, we can never in life get the dimension of experience that the imagination gives us. Only the arts and sciences can do that, and of these, only literature gives us the whole sweep and range of human imagination as it sees itself.”
(Northrop Frye, The Educated Imagination, Indiana University Press, 1964, p.101)

For your consideration:

Is the study of literature a particularly good way to cultivate our imagination?  Better than other areas, such as social studies?

Please join the conversation below. (This page provides links to previous topics and discussion.)

Developing Minds Conference: Feb 14 2020 VANCOUVER

Hear from Dr. Kieran Egan and a panel of CIRCE educators at the Developing Minds 2020 Conference: Connecting Creative & Critical Thinking in the Classroom / Vancouver, Feb 14. 

The Imaginative K-post-secondary educators on the CIRCE panel will provide specific practical examples of how cognitive tools shape their imaginative teaching practices in ways that develop their students’ critical and creative thinking skills.

Registration (FREE) here.

Imaginative Schools Network Symposium Series Begins

On Saturday, October 19, we kicked off the first session of the Imaginative Schools Network (ISN) symposium series. In this symposium series co-hosted by the Centre for Imagination in Research, Culture and Education (CIRCE) and the Centre for Educational Leadership and Policy (CSELP) at Simon Fraser University, a team has been formed to investigate the role of imagination in public education, including its contributions to school leadership, teaching, learning, teacher/leader development, school culture and Reconciliation.

The ISN team includes school leaders and imaginative educators from local school districts, representatives from SFU’s Beedie School of Business, local business owners and graduate students enrolled in SFU’s Imaginative K-12 Leadership and Imaginative Education Masters’ cohorts.

10:00 AM Saturday morning…The room was buzzing as participants worked in small groups to investigate key questions around the nature of imaginative leaders and leadership. Fueled by coffee, treats and imaginative challenges, participants in the first symposium addressed three dimensions of imaginative leadership—dispositions, skills/actions and growth. Each “round” of questions was designed to be highly interactive and meaningful, employing cognitive tools that engaged participants’ imaginations with each topic for discussion. A glimpse:


Round One involved humanizing the meaning of “imaginative” leadership by identifying real-world people that envision the possible and enact it in their leadership work.  Participants played “cards”–identifying and ranking the “heroic” qualities that define these imaginative leaders.

Round Two was a change of context: It was 2060. Participants were challenged to provide a history of the future of education: What are the skills/actions imaginative educational leaders in 2060 demonstrate in their imaginative schools?

Round Three required participants to re-imagine how educational leaders professionally develop. What is required to grow the imaginations of leaders in schools? What do leaders need to know/do to grow the imaginations of their school communities? How can leaders sense of agency be amplified in this direction?

Our Mission

Drawing on the perspectives of experienced school administrators, teachers and edu-entrepreneurs—along with over three decades of research on the theory and practice of Imaginative Education—the project team is working to collaboratively develop a set of standards for imaginative schools. While we hope that these standards will be used to develop and support a BC Imaginative Schools Network, they can support education in a range of ways. For example, the standards for imaginative schools we develop may be used

  • as a basis for reviewing school or district-level goals, policies and practices with regard to curriculum and pedagogy;
  • to clarify and guide appropriate educational leadership practices that seek to develop and support imagination in schools;
  • to guide the preparation and orientation of teachers in ways that help them attend to the imaginative well-being of their students;
  • to help identify imaginative teaching practices that are adaptable to various curriculum areas, class compositions, cultural contexts, etc;
  • to devise appropriate means of assessing and providing formative feedback on student and teacher performance as it relates to imagination;
  • to strengthen efforts to embed Indigenous perspectives, histories and ways of knowing in teaching the provincial curriculum;
  • to help parents and families understand school purposes and practices and their connections with home/family environment and approaches to parenting;
  • as criteria against which to evaluate educational programs that may be offered or recommended to schools, teachers and parents.

Future Topics

Symposium 2 (February, 2020): Imaginative teaching: How do teachers learn to teach imaginatively? What kinds of professional learning opportunities support teachers’ development as imaginative educators and what feedback do they need? How can different approaches to imaginative teaching be evaluated and shared?

Symposium 3 (May, 2020): The imaginative school in context: What kinds of relationships do imaginative schools have with their families and communities? How do imaginative schools work collectively on such issues as curriculum, scheduling, use of space? What is the culture of imaginative schools?

Symposium 4 (July, 2020): Imaginative schools and the BC curriculum: What is the role of imagination in integrating Indigenous perspectives and knowledge across subject areas? What is the role of imagination in place-based education?

Stay tuned for updates and connect with us.


Imagination Matters (Ebulletin Sept 2019)

Learn about CIRCE’s events and adventures since February 2019 and see what events are upcoming. There are many ways to learn and participate with CIRCE–please join our community of imagination advocates!

Ebulletin Contents

  • Welcome Message (from Dr. Gillian Judson, Executive Director, CIRCE)
  • Upcoming Events
  • Celebrations
  • A few of CIRCE’s Events & Adventures (February 2019- September 2019)
  • CIRCE International: (February 2019- September 2019)
  • Learning In Depth
  • Study With CIRCE: Graduate Programs at SFU
  • Learn More & Participate
  • Support CIRCE

Read it here on imaginED.

Imagination Champions Professional Learning Series (2019-2020)

Are YOU an Imagination Champion?

Thanks to our recent sponsorship from Envision Financial, as well as our partnership with the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship, we are launching a 4-part professional learning series. This FREE series will be open to 15 select K-12 educators in the Lower Mainland.

The Imagination Champions Professional Learning Series strives to equip educators with practical strategies and resources to help bring imagination to the heart of their practice. Participants will be part of a wide community of imaginative educators who teach in ways that support creativity and innovation.

For more information on this series, requirements for participation, and the dates and topics, visit our webpage here.

New Walking Curriculum Challenge

The countdown for our second 30-day Walking Curriculum Challenge starts NOW! On September 16, 2019 join educators (K-12) around the globe in the movement to take learning outdoors.

Rain or snow or shine, educators are engaging the imaginations of their students through inquiry-focused walks and The Walking Curriculum: Evoking Wonder And Developing A Sense of Place as a resource and guide for outdoor learning.

For more information, free resources (we have even added new resources since our last 30-day challenge), tips for successful school wide involvement and more check out our webpage here.

Join the movement to #getoutside!

Think of the Possible: Webinar on IE in Museums

Jane Cockcroft from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford did a webinar on her guide to employing IE in Museum contexts. The guide entitled  Think of the Possible: Imaginative Education in Action in Museums and Heritage Settings provides a brilliant introduction to Imaginative Education and indicates its value and potential for creating emotionally memorable Museum experiences. The guide is incredibly practical, including vivid examples and a step-by-step process for exploring IE.

Enjoy the webinar and be sure to download Jane Cockcroft’s IE Guide for Museum Educators. (Jane welcomes your feedback–please get in touch with her. Contact information in the guide.)


New Partnership With Envision Financial

Imaginative Workplace Research: What’s that?

Does your workplace encourage ? Tell us about it!

Got 20 minutes to share?

Please participate in CIRCE’s “imaginative workplace research study” by responding to a short questionnaire.

All responses are anonymous.

Please email if you are interested!

New Addition to the CIRCE Administration Team

We are pleased to welcome Chloë Lum to the CIRCE administrative team as an assistant.

Chloë is an undergraduate student studying in the English Department at Simon Fraser University. She aspires to be an elementary school teacher and is grateful to all the wonderful teachers who instilled the love and passion for education she has today.