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New horizons: A journey to discover and create beautiful futures in York

This journey will explore what it will take to meet the challenges of these times – to transform ourselves, our communities and our systems in alignment with our boldest visions for the future of the city of York. We will explore how we can support and inspire each other to raise our sights and ambition, and hasten our passage towards the future we long for.

New Constellations exists to help people imagine and create futures in which humanity and the planet flourish together. We co-create journeys of exploration for people to explore how things could be different and what’s needed to make that a reality. You can find out more about our journeys here.

In partnership with the Joseph Rowntree’s Foundation’s Emerging Futures programme and thanks to generous funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, we are hosting a York-based journey in July 2023 for people who are eager and ready to explore what true transformation will take.

We believe that some of the most important ideas and approaches will come from things that are dreamed up and tried out within our communities. This journey is for people who want to help bring about transformation: it requires a type of leadership that resides not only in the strength of a person’s ideas, but in their capacity to partner with, enable and inspire others, and their unquenchable thirst to try new things and learn.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, joining this group has been the most valuable development experience I have ever been involved in. It has had an impact on me now, and will continue to well into the future… It was immersive, personal, and created something so valuable it is difficult to articulate.”

Participant, Bold Dreams for Our Future Journey

  • What’s involved?

    The journey will run over 4 days from 3rd – 6th July 2023.

    Through an experiential process, a diverse group of people from different walks of life, sectors and fields of practice in York will deeply connect with and learn from each other, cross-pollinate ideas and experiences, and find common ground and common purpose. At the end of the journey, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation will provide some additional financial support for the group to decide how to collaborate together and with others in the city.

    The journey will combine individual, partner and group work, reflective and embodied practices, storytelling, sound, and learning from and in nature. We intend to hold space for big and tough questions, to which we won’t always have answers and to which there will be very different opinions and perspectives in the group. Powerful emotions may arise, which we welcome, and we will support participants closely throughout (hence keeping the group to an intimate size). But this may not be for you if you are not ready to be in a space which may include challenge and uncertainty.

    The journey will be held in a comfortable, accessible venue in York where we can learn in nature. Locations, precise timings and logistics will be shared with participants once the group is finalised.

    This is an immersive process, so we ask that all applicants ensure you can commit to all sessions, including travel time to a venue in York and make arrangements to be fully present and offline throughout (if selected).
    We are creating the journey to be a nourishing, challenging and invigorating personal and relational journey, in service of the places, communities and natural world we love and our collective future. We hope you will leave feeling rejuvenated, emboldened and resourced ready to make a difference for the city of York.

    The care we provide to participants is something we take extremely seriously and we have a dedicated person in our team who is responsible for making sure everyone is looked after in the space and has everything they need to be fully present in the process. We take time before the process to get to know the group and understand how people work best and what they need to make this the best possible experience for them. During the process, we are constantly checking in with people and ensuring the agenda is spacious enough so there is time for people to properly tune into how they are feeling and give themselves what they need. After the process we check in with each person to understand how they are feeling having come through the process and if there’s anything we can do to support them.

  • Who will be taking part?

    Following an open application process, applications to take part in this journey process have now closed and the group has been selected.

    We know we won’t reach different destinations if we follow the same old routes, so this is an opportunity for this group of people to go on an adventure of discovery together in service of the city they love.

    The group we will be bringing together are a group of people who feel deep disquiet with the status quo, but who look to the future and feel a defiant optimism that we can overcome the challenges before us. A group of people who desperately want to build a better world for our children, grandchildren and the many species we hope will live alongside them.

    Everyone in the group is playing some kind of active role in York, whether that’s formal or informal, through a social enterprise or business, voluntary or charitable work, education, in the space of creativity and culture, youth work or care, philanthropy, finance or investment, local campaigning, health and wellbeing, the public sector, academia, local politics or in other ways.

  • What’s the cost?

    Thanks to our partners at The National Lottery Community Fund and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, all costs, including travel costs, meals, refreshments and expenses are funded. We know that a four-day process is a big commitment. For those offered a place, we are here to support your full participation. A £500 honorarium (a payment in recognition of your time) is available for each participant, this can be increased if this does not cover your loss of income across the four days of the process. Other support is available on a case-by-case basis e.g. supporting with childcare costs, having conversations with employers to secure time off or anything else you may need to be fully present in the process.

  • Covid-19 and our collective wellbeing

    We are committed to running any in-person gatherings in the safest way possible for all attending, and will conduct full risk assessments before we gather to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing. We will be in touch with participants nearer the time to communicate what steps we are taking to ensure we are gathering in the safest way possible.