Imaginary Life was founded in the nineties, in Osaka, Japan, as a makeshift entity, an idea, a series of cross-disciplinary, collaborative events, and a lo-fi, hands-on approach and process. Since then, Imaginary Life has been a meeting point for all types of creative professionals to work together.
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We are currently working on an e-book in Spanish and English of the transcripts from our first series of eleven 2019 podcasts.
Each episode of Nordic By Nature’s audio podcast is a spacious, mindful soundscape presenting the voices from around the globe, created for you to listen with your headphones with the support of the Nordic Ministries.
This first podcast episode ON ACTIVISM, presents the inspiring voices of peace activist Satish Kumar, Marijn Van de Geer from Extinction Rebellion, and Siti Kasim, human rights lawyer passionate about Orang Asli, the indigenous people in the Malaysian peninsula.
The second episode, ON SURVIVAL, presents the voices of culinary curator Monika Kucia, who runs a farmer’s & producers’ and hosts cultural food events in Warsaw, Poland, design leader and educator Daniel Wahl, whose book Designing Regenerative Cultures is must for anyone interested in transformative innovation and Helena Norberg-Hodge, author of Ancient Futures, a seminal work that compares the way of life in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, before and after globalisation.
In this episode ON INNER RESILIENCE, we hear four voices share how they maintain inner equilibrium. Firstly, we learn about nature-centred mindfulness practice from Ajay Rastogi, at the Foundation for the Contemplation of Nature in the Himalayan village of Majkhali in Uttarakhand, India. Then you will hear Egyptian conservationist Noor A Noor, who describes his own personal path into mindfulness – through his experiences of the 2011 Egyptian Uprising. Then Judith Schleicher explains how daily meditation has helped her with her conservation work, ever since she attended a 10-day Vipassana retreat in Peru 7 years ago. Lastly, we meet Christoph Eberhard, legal anthropologist and practitioner of the Chinese and Indian traditional arts Ta Ji Chuan, Qi Gong and Yoga. Christoph believes that dialogue is at the heart of meaningful transformation- dialogue with oneself, with others, with nature, and the beyond.
Episode 4: ON TRANSFORMATION
Episode 4 features the voice of Swedish social entrepreneur Tomas Björkman. Tomas is a former investment banker and progressive thought leader, who is exploring how to create new spaces and places for co-creation, personal and societal transformation, and community development through conscious social development.
The fifth episode of Nordic By Nature, On Happiness, presents two guests who have dedicated their careers to understanding the relationship of values to our behaviour, sense of wellbeing and impact on the wider world.
First, we hear Tim Kasser, currently a professor of psychology at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, USA. He has authored over 100 scientific articles and book chapters on materialism, values, goals, well-being, and environmental sustainability, among other topics. In 2018, he collaborated with the cartoonist Larry Gonick to create HyperCapitalism: The modern economy, its values, and how to change them.
Then we hear Dasho Dr. Karma Ura, President of the Centre for Bhutan & GNH Studies located in Bhutan’s capital city, Thimphu. The Centre has a mandate to research Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness, Culture and History of Bhutan, and policy related studies.
In the sixth episode of Nordic By Nature, On Belonging, we meet three people who have thought a lot about what ‘home’ means to them and how that relates defines their relationship to a place. All were present at Standing Rock.
First you hear the words of Andrew and Kayla Blanchflower, tipi dwellers and makers whose way of the life can be an inspiration to all of us to live lighter. Andrew and Kayla met and fell in love in Oregon in the States and decided to raise their family ‘off the grid’ with a closer contact to the earth and Mother Nature.
You will then hear Yvette Neshi Lokotz teacher of hand drumming and practitioner of the Medicine Wheel or Sacred Hoop healing, and tribal member of the Potawatomi Nation.
In this episode ON ETHICS, Ajay Rastogi at the Foundation for the Contemplation of Nature in Uttrakhand, India, invites Dr. John Hausdoerffer, from Western Colorado University in Gunnison, USA, to speak about Ethic today.
Dr. John and Ajay are leading students on an experiential Mountain Resilience Course, that is part of a longer term Sister Cities program between Gunnison and Majkhali India, with the aim to share climate change solutions between the two ‘Mountain Headwaters Communities.’
Dr. John an environmental philosopher and writer whose has written a number of books that look at the intersection of environmental ethics and social justice including “Catlin’s Lament”; Wildness and his upcoming book What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be?
Both Ajay and Dr John are part of an ever-growing movement that calls for a new ethic, one that views all places as part of our home, all generations of all beings as part of our scope of responsibility, and all actions as potential expressions of human care for the world.
This episode, ON KNOWLEDGE, features two guests who have dedicated their life’s work to enabling marginalised communities protect their own resilience, whilst net-working and lobbying for policy changes around the issue of Food and Nutrition Security, Climate Change, Sustainable Livelihoods, and integrating People’s knowledge into bioregional development.But first you will hear a few words from my colleague Ajay Rastogi, at the Foundation for the Contemplation of Nature. Ajay works closely with the women of Majkhali village in foothills of the Himalayas, in Uttrakahand, India. He set up the Vrikshalaya Centre there to be a meeting place and knowledge hub for the villagers and other communities in the Himalayan lowlands, as well as foreign visitors and homestay guests interested in more meaningful forms of sustainability.
We then hear from Nadia Bergamini who works at Bioversity International. Nadia also lives on and runs an organic, biodynamic farm together with her husband, in the countryside, outside of Rome.
At Bioversity International, Nadia collaborates with the Satoyama Initiative, helping communities all over the world develop strategies to strengthen their social and ecological resilience, and maintain the diversity of the landscapes’ agro-ecosystems, species and varieties.
You will then hear from Reetu Sogani, women’s rights activist who is working on strengthening and evolving Cultural and biological diversity, and its integration to address Food and Nutrition Security and build Climate Resilience, in the remote areas of Himalayas and other parts of India. Reetu has addressed the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit in New York as one of the 100 women global leaders from across the world.
In this episode, ON ART you hear a few words Ajay Rastogi, at the Foundation for the Contemplation of Nature introducing the voices of two Norwegian artists, Catrine Gangstø and Laila Kolostyák. Catrine and Laila are committed to using ART as a meeting point for engaging the local community in thinking about equity, identity and our inner and outer natural worlds.
Ajay Rastogi works closely with the women of Majkhali village in foothills of the Himalayas, in Uttarakhand, India, where making art is an intrinsic part of everyday life. Ajay set up the Vrikshalaya Centre there to be a meeting place and knowledge hub for the villagers and other communities in the Himalayan lowlands, as well as visitors and homestay guests interested in learning about more meaningful forms of sustainability.
Catrine Gangstø is the founder of the Peace Painting Foundation, that runs painting workshops for children, youth and adults all over the world, including war zones. Through her idea of Painting for Peace, Catrine has engaged over 3,000 workshop participants and many more through travelling exhibitions of their work. Catrine has proven that painting can be a safe space for sharing difficult experiences and emotions as well as a way to communicate hopes and desires for peace in the world.
Then we hear from Laila Kolostyák, a visual artist who works with snow and ice. Laila and her colleagues have engaged a whole generation of young people in creating and enjoying outdoor snow and ice experiences that culminates in the Borealis festival in Alta, which lies 375 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle.
In this episode ON CONNECTED VOICES, you will hear from two guests prominent in the world of internet access and freedom of speech. First you will hear from Walid Al Saqaf, free speech advocate and software developer who focusses on the non-commercial use of Internet and its impact on democracy and freedom of speech. After Walid, you will hear from Bahraini civil rights activist, and blogger Esra’a Al Shafei founder of Majal.org, a network of digital platforms that amplify underrepresented voices in the Middle East and North Africa. The World Economic Forum listed Esra’a as one of 15 Women Changing the World, and she was featured in Forbes magazine’s 30Under30 list of social entrepreneurs making an impact in the world.
Walid founded a ground-breaking news aggregation service in his home country of Yemen, which spurred him onto work with tracking Internet censorship and enabling activists and journalists to bypass government-imposed firewalls to access news and social media websites. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society (ISOC) and co-founder of the Society’s Blockchain Special Interest Group. His work in tech development for increasing Internet Access has earned him international recognition, including a TED senior fellowship, and Örebro University’s Democracy Award, and he has been featured by global media such as CNN, the Guardian, and the Huffington Post.
Esra’a is passionate about music as a means for social change, and is also the founder of MideastTunes, where musicians across the world with Middle Eastern and North African origin can share their music that is often censored on mainstream music platforms. She also a senior TEDFellow, and Echoing Green fellow. As an outspoken defender of free speech, Esra’a was FastCompany magazine’s “100 Most Creative People in Business and The Daily Beast one of the 17 bravest bloggers worldwide.
The music you hear with Esra’s is by Tam Tam, the Saudi born pop star who sings about solidarity and equity.
In this episode ON NARRATIVES, we hear from four people working to shape more constructive narratives of our relationship to nature in order to increase environmental protection; First, we hear from Tom Crompton, founder of the Common Cause Foundation in the U.K., then, Paul Allen from the Centre of Alternative Technology in Wales, followed by Yuan Pan at Cambridge University and finally Rewilding expert Paul Jepson.
Tom Crompton’s research into values shows that the dominant narrative of the selfishness of humankind is deeply flawed.
Paul Allen presents a positive and attainable vision of the future, where technology creates smart, localised and integrated infrastructures that help us humans live in harmony with the planet for centuries to come.
We then hear from Yuan Pan, whose work integrating biodiversity into the Natural Capital Framework at Cambridge University aims to help businesses and policy makers make smarter decisions and start understanding the direct benefits from acting as stewards of the environment and nature’s resources.
Finally, we hear from Paul Jepson who is also active in science communication, particularly in the area of biodiversity, science-policy interfaces and new media. In 2016, Paul published an agenda for European Rewilding and conducted research with Frans Schepers on creating policies for Rewilding within European Commissioned nature institutions. Paul currently works for the consultancy ecosulis.
Nordic by Nature Podcast is an Imaginary Life AB production launched with the support of the Nordic Ministries. Please help us by sharing a link to this episode with the hashtag #tracesofnorth and follow us on Instagram @nordicbynaturepodcast. We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast. Please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also on Patreon if you would like to support us with a donation to keep this podcast going into a second series! See www.patreon.com/nordicbynature
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If you are interested in Mindfulness and Resilient Thinking, please read about Ajay Rastogi’s village homestay retreats on foundnature.org, and follow the Foundation for the Contemplation of Nature on Facebook, and Contemplation of Nature on Instagram.
Multi-media Journalism. As a corporate journalist I had the freedom to explore the future of Internet and broadband on Society, Business and Culture. I travelled and created several online TV web shows and accompanying text articles and radio shows and had my own column on the front webpage. Went on to publish articles with wired.com and write for the Interactive Institute in Sweden.
Project Strategy & Service Design. Hired by the innovation agency Veryday to project lead two major service design projects for Healthcare; the first was to define how to set up a Fasttrack system for Humanitarian health cases, and the second was to design a handling system for Complaints and Grievances, including state hospitals, clinics and private healthcare providers. Via Veryday.
Strategy & Copy. Masterbrand strategy for Assa Abbloy and brand architecture whole portfolio. Brand platforms for technology products brands. via agency Grow. Later was engaged on the team to create the overall Design Philosophy for Yale Lock product development, purchasing, and communications.
Design Strategy, Research & Copy. The global telco provider wanted to apply it’s new brand visual identity to it’s work- beyond placing a logo on hardware products. How does a coherent design shape services and digital interfaces across all types of categories? How does this add value for their customers and drive integration and efficiency? After performing key stakeholder interviews and a gap analysis, I created an overarching design philosophy for all product categories, including a new design team equipped for problem solving and set to work across the whole organisation – and client organisations. Via agency The Brand Union.
Strategy, Insights & Copy. Translated user behaviour data into 3 target group profiles, detailing their needs and behaviour in magazine style presentations. Including benchmark examples on service design features and interface design. Work was followed by advertising campaigns for UK. Via agency Skinny NYC.
Strategy, Insights, Concepts & Copy. As creative lead strategist, insights and sole copywriter for the Iittala brand for over 3 years, Tanya worked with all aspects of brand, product and communications development, via agency Grow. Defined the Iittala design philosophy that is still in use today.
Worked extensively for Visit Sweden and partnering organisations such as the Swedish Institute, Foreign Office, Invest in Sweden agency, etc. who collectively are responsible for communicating Sweden abroad, over a period of a decade. Worked on framing nation branding, from strategy to insights and communications guides. My work began with the core values for the brand, illustrated with key USP case studies. I went on to work directly leading work on a major Nation Brands Benchmark report and Global Trends insights report, also illustrated with key concepts and cases. Via Imaginary Life.
Worked as Director of Global Insights for Strategy, Research, Insights. Exploratory work integrating brand and product design for AI platform, OS platform and multiple devices. Brand platform, positioning, , briefing teams and agency partners in Shanghai with core concept, consumer and design trends, and exploratory design work. Via Imaginary Life and alongside design agency Things To Be.
Design Strategy, Research, Copywriting. Various strategic projects under CDO Searn carney culminated in the synthesized internal design research work into a directive Design Philosophy; leading concepts and core values that describe the benefits, aspiration and design ethos of Philips Healthtech, across all service ecosystems and products.
Strategy, Research, Design. Created a communications platform for Nordtroms museum to convey the diverse cultural heritage of the Northern Norway. 7 content arenas for all communications strategies briefed the curator and designer for launch exhibition Light, Land and Sea, showing how nature has shaped the diverse people who lived there and their cultures.
Strategy, Communications, Research. The Foundation for the Contemplation of Nature offers a holistic experience-based Resilient Leadership courses and workshops. Our headquarters is in a village at the foothills of the Himalayas, Uttrakhand, India. Foundnature.org.
Strategy, Insights & Communications. Stockholm based agency Strobe created and worked on a 3 year multi-media global communications platform that brought Absolut into music after 20 years of art and fashion, directing a number of partnering agencies across all media under Global Communications Director Micke Persson.
The Absolut Tracks Global communications platform released unique audio and music video portraits of the brand’s core values and iconic bottle through the music world, gaining credibility and using Internet to get unique tracks and vinyls to dance floors, venues and radio stations across the world. Creative Director Jonas Hallberg. Copywriting and Concepts, Tanya Kim Grassley, Film Gregory Brown.
Strategy, Insights & Communications. Heroes TV show creator Tim Kring and partner The Company P needed to bring their multi-platform gaming concept for Nokia to a wider audience than ARG gamers. The Imaginary Life team created a target group engagement and partnership strategy to launch a live role play game through interest-based communities and use ‘Musicians for Good’ etc. as a core idea to engage support partnering charities through the game in a ‘Conspiracy for Good’.