The Centre for
Imagination in Research,
Culture, and Education
growing engaEgxeedcumtiivnedDsi;riemctaogriDnirn. gGiallniadn mJuadksinong ([email protected]) s
Academic Director Dr. Mark Fettes ([email protected])
info/Inquiries: [email protected]
celebrating and supporting What is CIRCE? Support CIRCE
imagination, creativity, CIRCE [sur-see] is an international Would you like to sponsor CIRCE and be
innovation network of researchers, educators and formally affiliated with an international
other practitioners who see imagination organization that champions imagination,
as a key to making this world a better creativity, and innovation?
place to live in. Or, to put it another way,
we believe that a lively and well- Would you like to donate to a grassroots
nourished imagination is needed for living movement working to create spaces where
well. To advocate attention to the imagination can flourish in schools,
imagination, to produce a variety of communities and workplaces?
practical aids to stimulating and
developing imaginations, and to create Would you like to fund imaginative projects
and enlarge the spaces where and programs involving educators, cultural
imagination can flourish, is our hope and workers, researchers, children and
our mission. communities worldwide?
(DONATIONS to CIRCE are tax deductible).
To begin with a story…
The perils and promises of imagination are threaded throughout world literature. As so often, a story may best convey
what we mean. Circe, you may recall, is a goddess or enchantress in the Odyssey, one of the most ancient tales of Western
culture, originally passed on from bard to bard long before there were tools to write it down. Circe appears first as a figure of
menace and darkness. When men offend her, she transforms them into wild beasts. Odysseus, the hero of the story, must
confront her to win the release of half of his crew who have been turned into pigs for their gluttonous behaviour.
Fortunately, Odysseus was counselled by Hermes, the messenger of the gods. Armed with sword and wits, along with a
magical herb provided by Hermes, Odysseus becomes Circe’s lover and protégé. It is with her help that he later visits the land of
the dead and receives the advice he needs to eventually make it home. Hermes’ intervention is crucial. Without the help of this
god of travellers and traders, of interpreters and tricksters, Circe would remain Odysseus’ enemy, his men would remain swine,
and Odysseus himself would continue to wander, lost and alone.
It is his embrace of imagination in these various guises that lets Circe reveal her qualities of magnanimity, creativity, and
Building better worlds CIRCE in the schools
We share Maxine Greene’s CIRCE continues to be directly engaged
conviction that imaginative development with schools in more than a dozen countries.
is crucial to the building of societies The Imaginative Schools Network (ISN) is a
characterized by empathy and solidarity, diverse and international professional learning
societies genuinely inclusive of people community that provides space for all educators
from different backgrounds, of different to grow their imaginative practice. Learning in
abilities, and with different ways of seeing Depth (LiD) is a program that engages children
the world. At the same time, we recognize in the long-term study of a single topic alongside
that imagination can be deeply marked by the regular curriculum. Our Imaginative
people’s fears and antipathies. To work Leadership Learning Community connects
with imagination is, like Circe, to work educational leaders worldwide in dialogue and
with darkness as well as light. shared learning around how imagination and
creativity can impact school leadership and
Imagination is, likewise, deeply school culture in positive ways.
interwoven in the relationships between
human beings and the rest of the living At our home institution, SFU, CIRCE
world. The ecological crisis that threatens continues to be involved in Degree Programs in
societies worldwide is the product, in part, Imaginative Education, including a graduate
of imagining the Earth as a limitless diploma, an online graduate certificate, and
resource, and the species with whom we Masters of Education (MEd) programs (focusing
share it as little more than raw materials. on curriculum and imaginative leadership).
To heal the planet, we need to find Graduates from the M.Ed. are invited to remain
different images and metaphors to guide involved through the imaginED Mentoring
our actions. Program, enabling them to deepen their
knowledge of imaginative practice and share
This is the work of educators, but their knowledge with other educators.
also of poets and artists, scientists and
business leaders, architects and Executive Director Dr. Gillian Judson
designers, playwrights and novelists, ([email protected])
politicians and policymakers. In the end, it
is the work of our communities and Academic Director Dr. Mark Fettes
info/Inquiries: [email protected]
CIRCE began as an international group of educators
drawn to the work of Kieran Egan, a professor at Simon
Fraser University (SFU). Egan’s books portray children as
energetically imaginative thinkers and learners, and argue that
teachers should make that understanding central to their work
in schools. Under the label of “Imaginative Education,” Egan’s
work continues to inspire a range of CIRCE’s activities, for
learners of all ages from preschool to postsecondary.
Today, CIRCE’s members come from scores of
countries around the world, and our sources of inspiration are
equally diverse. Current educational foci include Science,
Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM),
Ecological & Place-Based Education, Museum Education, and
Learning Technologies. We are interested in creativity and
leadership in all domains, and in the intertwining of culture,
language, history and land in the shaping of beliefs and
worldviews. Throughout education and across other fields and
disciplines, we see storytelling and other imaginative and arts-
based approaches to understanding as vitally important to our
teaching, learning and research.
CIRCE’s active members are part of the CIRCE
Academic Council / Research Network, which connects
institutions worldwide for the collaborative exploration of
imagination in a range of contexts. We are active developing
CIRCE OnLine Learning Communities to facilitate access to
knowledge and resources related to CIRCE’s mission. We
host monthly Twitter chats, a podcast series and ongoing
conversations in online forums. Our website (circesfu.ca) and
blog (educationthatinspires.ca) provide teachers around the
world with a wide range of free resources for imaginative
cross-curricular teaching (K-12 to post-secondary). We are
committed to the ongoing development of free resources and
informal learning opportunities for professionals, parents, and
the public at large.