Notes on CoArts from our Director ~ The TROTI Approach

Iwan Brioc shares his vision of The Republic of the Imagination. Who we are, what we do, and why we do it…

The Republic of the Imagination is a charity that applies theatre and the arts as a technology for transformation of consciousness and society towards well-being. Since 2008 we have been pioneering an approach called CoArts that uses all the creativity, imagination and critical thinking artists employ to focus on expanding our awareness of the predicament in which we find ourselves as a species and allowing solutions to those predicaments to arise organically.  Through workshops, training, productions and projects we have explored a variety of challenges – from how to help keep the Welsh language alive, to how to communicate neuroscience discoveries to the public, to how to keep working if you are a pregnant dancer: and many more.

While run on a day to day basis by a core group of four practitioners specialising in applied theatre, dance, active citizenship and creative learning we are also the hub on an international network of CoArts practitioners in 15 countries.  All of whom we have trained and whom we support through continuous professional development. We are overseen by a committee comprising expertise in arts management, theatre, education, co-production and health.

One of the challenges with which we are currently occupied is how to address the epidemic of mental illness, in particular in young people and how this is connected to the intense precarity of our future on this planet.  The solution that is emerging through CoArts research is a systemic re-constructing of society to demonstrate a model of Reciprocal Well-being.  

The changes needed in the way we live, so that we have a future as a species, seem very difficult to make.  The reason for this can be divided into the habits in action and perception we have developed as consumers and the inertia in the way our society is structured.  Key to making those urgent changes is ‘affordance’ – the availability of alternative ways of living on the one hand and the capacity of individuals and groups to access those alternatives on the other.  Since people are a function of environment and expectation, both these ‘hands’ are needed to build a parallel sustainable infrastructure. CoArts combine creativity and mindfulness to bring about transformational space for individuals and communities whilst also mapping a parallel infrastructure that can support the unfolding of creative citizenship.

The parallel infrastructure is a network of locations and a program of timed events that allow people to make the cultural shift to a reciprocal wellbeing model as an alternative to the neo-liberal economic model that is represented by the prevailing infrastructure.  The parallel infrastructure is both found and created just as a path is made by the walking of it.  It is aspirational and inspirational rather than prescriptive or conclusive and flows around and through the prevailing infrastructure without coming into direct conflict with it.  In this way, through critical mass, the parallel infrastructure in time becomes the prevailing one.