ICSC Launch Event. 1st May 2019. Keynote: Rob Hopkins on “Cities and Citizens in Transition: Unleashing the Power of Imagination”.

We are pleased to announce that Rob Hopkins, bestselling author and co-founder of the ‘Transition Towns’ network, will deliver the keynote lecture of our public launch event, on 1st May 2019 in Preston.

All are welcome at this public event, which will consist of a series of talks and discussions from mid-afternoon through early evening, culminating in Rob’s keynote at 6pm.

You are welcome to come for the whole event, starting at 3pm, or you can just come for Rob’s evening lecture .

Please register for the event by following this link.


The event is free, but pre-registration is essential.  Please book early to avoid disapointment.

If you would like to just come for the Rob Hopkin’s keynote, please arrive 15 mins earlier, in time to be seated for a prompt start at 6pm. (And if you are here by 5:30pm you will be in time for refreshments!)


A full programme will appear here soon.

3pm launch. The launch event will start at 3pm, with an afternoon of talks on ICSC research from UCLan professors, the ICSC directors and many others.

Topics will include: the relationships between sustainable cities and public health; art, culture and civic renewal; and citizenship in private life.

5.30 pm Refreshements.

6pm Rob Hopkins  keynote public lecture:

‘Cities and Citizens in Transition: Unleashing the Power of Imagination’.

We are excited to welcome Rob Hopkins to Preston as our guest speaker. Rob is co-founder of the ‘Transition Towns’ network, author of the bestselling ‘The Transition Handbook’ (2008) and the forthcoming ‘From “What is to What If”: Unleashing the power of imagination to create the future we want’ (2019).

Rob has been investigating the role of imagination in local grassroots and civic efforts to develop sustainable and socially just futures.

As he explains on his website:

“There is an epidemic of loneliness, an epidemic of anxiety, a mental health crisis of vast proportions among young people. The rise of extremist movements and governments. Catastrophic climate change. Biodiversity loss. Food insecurity. And the fracturing of ecosystems and communities beyond, it seems, repair. The future—to say nothing of the present—looks grim”.

“We do have the capability to effect dramatic change, Hopkins argues, but we’re failing because we’ve largely allowed our most critical tool to languish: human imagination”.

“imagination is the ability to look at things as if they could be otherwise. And if there was ever a time when we needed that ability, it is now”.  

Rob has been investigating the links between ‘transition towns’ and the ‘Preston Model’ of ‘Community Wealth Building’.

You can read and listen to his interview with Cllr Matthew Brown of Preston City Council on this here:

‘How the Preston Model Unlocks the Imaginationhttps://www.robhopkins.net/2019/01/23/cllr-matthew-brown-on-how-the-preston-model-unlocks-the-imagination/

Rob is an inspiring and engaging speaker – and we hope you will enjoy his keynote and that it can help galvanise more of the vital imagination, experiment and innovation our cities and universities need.


ICSC: Transdisciplinary Research for Transformative Change!

At the ICSC, we are interested in developing transdisciplinary research collaborations with wider society including civic and community groups, public agencies and services, artists, innovators,  social enterprises and movements – and many more. We believe such transdisciplinary co-productions of knowledge must  play an essential part in making transformative social and environmental changes. This is the research agenda of a Civic University, anchored in the practical and lived experience of the multiple communities around the world that it serves.

Around the world, the key challenges from democratic citizenship to climate change action increasingly appear to centre on cities as key locations of positive transformation. The ‘Preston Model’ is an important example of this new civic urbanism or municipalism characterised by local alternative strategies. We are excited to be living and working amidst this experiment.

Part of our research interests at the ICSC involve the investigation of the mutiple dimensions of citizenship and the civic. Our projects and areas of expertise include: Imagined citizenships, the role of art, literature and imagination in civic renewal and community building; Sustainable citizenships and the importance of green civic spaces and community participation for public health and wellbeing; Local food systems and municipal and community owned energy; local economies and local democracy; Cooperatives and new forms of co-working; Excluded citizenships and the voices of marginalised groups; Intimate citizenships, (in)equalities and the reconfigurations of the private / public sphere.

The ICSC now has 40+ research active members drawn together across many faculties, schools and disciplines at UCLan. We aim to unleash the power of imagination, innovation and social transformation held within our city and university to help create new and hopeful futures from the global challenges ahead.

We look forward to meeting you at our launch.


preston space station liberator



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