Heritages and Utopias: Possibility Thinking for Living Together

A black and white image of an old York street juxtaposed onto a colour photo of modern day York with York Minster in the background.


Drawing upon the idea of utopia allows the exploration of an imagined, different world, while highlighting the limitations of the present. The Heritages and Utopias project focuses on engaging with utopia in order to explore how we might collectively desire differently in relation to practices of community heritage and local democracy.

In particular, the project explores how collaboratively produced histories can be used to create a space of critical engagement and possibility thinking, in the hope that more people become involved in local decision-making. The project encompasses a range of temporal perspectives; from thinking about housing plans that didn’t happen to inviting ideas for the future development of the city. The critical and transformative aspects of this approach make it a properly utopian form of inquiry, opening up conversations and ways of thinking otherwise about York’s future.


Dr Helen Graham

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Image credit: Richard Brigham York Past and Present

Project website