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Imagining Futures

Visual developed the Imagining Futures programme to raise awareness of environmental and sustainable development issues in line with The National Biodiversity Plan 20017-2021, the All Ireland Pollinator Plan and Visual’s 10 year anniversary in 2019. Imagining Futures is guided by the question of what biodiversity and sustainable practices mean for our lives. 

We are building a broad network of intercultural community members of all ages who are interested in making their local area a more sustainable place to live. Engagement opportunities such as workshops, events and other activities are being delivered by Visual to contribute to current knowledge exchange of biodiversity and sustainable practices.

Imagining Futures fosters collaboration among the Arts, Anthropology, Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics to contribute to current and future knowledge exchange of biodiversity and sustainable practices. The aim of providing diverse perspectives is to inspire people as they take the opportunity to consider and explore ideas that could transform how they have previously thought about their everyday environments.

The Imagining Futures programme encourages STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) education as access points for guiding young people in inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. A cross-curricular approach is used for developing projects with schools.

A wide array of artistic approaches designed to open up diverse perspectives in relation to biodiversity and sustainable practices is at the heart of the Imagining Futures programme. Even in complex environments, art has the power to open new perspectives, to transform communication or the communication of complex ideas. Such as how an artist can communicate complex scientific facts into embodied artistic experiences. 

VISUAL promotes creativity and artistic practices as a means to explore and make issues public. We are encouraging local, national, international engagement in our activities to raise an awareness of environmental and sustainable development issues. As a cultural institution VISUAL regularly hosts and supports discussions and projects that consider social change, sustainability and environmental challenges.

The Bees Needs Project

The Bees Needs Project is an ambitious community-based schools project for students aged 9-13 years. The project, supported by the Local Enterprise Office through the Towns and Villages Renewal Scheme 2018-19, rolled out across 9 towns and villages with intensive, fun, and engaging workshops within the schools and local environs. 1,080 children engaged with the project within 9 local schools in Carlow. Throughout these workshops’ participants explored the needs of bees, biodiversity, and the importance of protecting natural habitats within their locality. 

The Bee Diaries

From the Bees Needs Project we turned our attention to our immediate environs and looked at Visual’s contribution towards biodiversity and the environment. We launched the Trees for Bees project, in which we started a pollinator garden and planted hundreds of new flowering plants, bulbs, climbers and trees and installed a beehive on the grounds of Visual. We would like to thank St. Patricks College and the Carlow Beekeepers Association for their invaluable assistance and cooperation in helping us with this project.

Derek Blanche, Visual’s resident beekeeper, will be sharing news of this project in The Bee Diaries.


The Bees Needs Project was funded through the Town & Village Renewal Scheme in County Carlow, administered by the Carlow Local Enterprise Office / Carlow County Council.


Further Reading

We have gathered a selection of inspiring organisations, publications and research projects in relation to an awareness of environmental and sustainable development issues.

Download Resources


Imagining Futures is funded by the Carlow Local Enterprise Office.