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New Horizons: a journey to discover and create beautiful futures in York

During an unseasonably cold week in July 2023, we erected tents in the City of York, creating a ship of wooden masts and canvas in which our York crew would set sail in search of new horizons. Listen to their journey here. 

Our York journey was an opportunity for a diverse group of people from different walks of life, sectors and fields of practice in York to confront the challenges facing the city as well as to envision a future of flourishing and pathways to reach it. The group were able to deeply connect with and learn from each other, cross-pollinate ideas and experiences and take time to consider how they could contribute to this future through their own work or social action. 

“New Constellations isn’t just a project; it’s a diverse, open-hearted community where every voice is valued. The opportunity to share stories, ideas, and dreams with people from all walks of life was a powerful reminder of our common humanity. I felt seen and heard, which was both humbling and empowering.”

Participant, York's Journey

This journey was held at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s headquarters in York and created in close partnership with their Emerging Futures team, with generous co-funding from The National Lottery Community Fund. There was potency in running a journey at the historic home of one of the UK’s most radical social pioneers, inviting us to consider Rowntree’s radical roots and what a similar degree of courage and determination to forge new ways of thinking would look like today.

The wonderful crew who journeyed with us was Andrew Morrison, Ben Porter, Felicity Palmer, Frankie Sewell, Helen Jones, Laura Cooper, Laurence Beardmore, Layla Grainger, Mike Fletcher, Olivia Carpenter, Pete Kilbane, Sam Leach, Sam Watling, Sarah Huggett, Stephanie Wong, Victoria Hughes and Violet Cannon.

“The experience of being a part of the New Constellations Journey was a reinvigorating opportunity to focus attention inwardly towards who I am, what I want for me, my family and the future of my city, as well as a chance to park my imposter and let myself be among a group of willing strangers, with different backgrounds and aspirations who ended up with a shared destination well within our sights.”

Participant, York's Journey

We owe special thanks to the brilliant Yasmin El Dabi, Victoria Hughes and Kate McLaven. To Yasmin for co-designing and co-leading this journey. To Victoria for her exceptional partnership and for ongoing support of the York crew in so many ways. And to Kate for becoming a much loved member of our team while we designed and ran the journey and for continuing to work with the crew to help them put their ideas into practice.

Listen to the Audio Encounter made with participants