Megan Clark-Bagnall and Ali Brown

Megan Clark-Bagnall and Ali Brown are visual artists and creative collaborators who share a studio in Bristol. They undertake work both independently, together, and with groups through creative participatory workshops in public and community settings. 

Megan and Ali joined us for the last season of participatory workshops in Staple Hill and Patchway libraries and devised a fitting conclusion to the project building on the work of the Passport of the Imagination. 

Over ten weeks working with participants they explored and created A Journey to Utopia and created their own Utopian World through making, dreaming and conversations.

The group were inspired by this text by Eduardo Galeano:

‘Utopia is on the horizon. I move two steps closer; it moves two steps further away. I walk another ten steps and the horizon runs ten steps further away. As much as I may walk, I’ll never reach it. So what’s the point of utopia? The point is this: to keep walking.’

The aim of the utopia theme was to provide a stimulus that inspires and excites participants: a theme that everyone can connect with, however different their ideas of utopia might be. Creating a utopia can be aspirational and forward-thinking as well as a way of celebrating the present and remembering the past.

The theme of utopia can bring out the best in participants lives and experiences and allow negative thoughts to fall to the background for a while. Participants work to create their utopia through participation in group discussion and personal reflection of the different aspects of their utopian and real worlds. This is held in equal value to the ongoing programme of straightforward art and craft activities.

Ali and Megan structured the sessions around eight wonders of their Utopian World:

  • Transport
  • Nature
  • Music and culture
  • Water
  • People and networks
  • Wildlife
  • Buildings
  • Dreams

These themes could easily be adapted or exchanged with your own ideas for your group.

At the end of the programme, Megan and Ali supported participants to work together to curate an exhibition of their utopias and host a celebratory event for family, friends and invited guests. 

Photography by Megan Clark-Bagnall and Ali Brown