Woodstock | Centre for Imagination
The Centre for Imagination inspires young people to discover that there is far more within them than they think, to discover their grand passion in life and to explore what it means to live from a strong sense of vocation.
transformative, education, design, social enterprise, Woodstock, inspiring
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Centre for Imagination



Centre for Imagination logoThe Centre for Imagination transforms the way in which a Woodstock education is experienced in the 21st century – inspiring young people to discover that there is far more within them than they think, to discover their grand passion in life and to explore what it means to live from a strong sense of vocation. After all, when the imagination is set free, the horizons of possibility are infinite.

“Imagination is a way, I suppose, that dreams, longing, desires, even fears, link up with the reality that you’re in.” Albie Sachs, South African freedom fighter and constitutional judge




Educators largely operate within an industrial paradigm, the very model that gave birth to the problems our children will have no choice but to navigate. They enter adulthood in an interdependent, highly connected world. Tides of seawater, human migration, and racial nationalism are on the rise, to name just a few issues. Our islands are both literally and figuratively disappearing. Our education needs to reflect and respond to the world we now inhabit.



We need to empower young people to successfully navigate the global, systemic challenges ahead.



By showing young people the complexity of the world they inhabit, and encouraging them to take responsibility for shaping their future.



We imagine new ways of learning.

We inspire new paths of action.

We incubate new initiatives.




Wall illustrations at the Centre for ImaginationThe Centre for Imagination hosts a range of events that bring students and staff together in a lively atmosphere of joint exploration. Events emerge from student initiative, pressing global issues, and in alignment with the wider school’s weekly themes.


The commitments that shape the ethos of the Centre for Imagination include authenticity, independent thinking, and giving young people the support and freedom to make their own, good choices. Every effort is made to preserve an atmosphere of joint exploration and experimentation.


Examples include:

Green screen – Aligned with the school’s theme for the week, the Centre screens a documentary each week, followed by a discussion of how students can take action.

Shaping the space – Drawing the future on the walls with students and staff helped us shape the space through our collective imagination.

Current affairs – Our weekly discussion outside the classroom about what is happening in the world and what actions students can take.

Career Talks – each week professionals from different backgrounds share their journeys, giving inspiration to young people for how they can find their paths in the world.

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Student interns

A group of students have already formed a social entrepreneurs’ society called The Start Up Hub. Taking on the task of improving communication throughout the Woodstock community, they are designing an app that will also work to eliminate waste around the school. Three students were so inspired by the idea of the Centre that they have taken on the task of creating a stop-motion animation video to capture and communicate the purpose of the Centre for Imagination and share it widely. Five student interns work with the Centre to gain real work experience in event planning, communications, project management, photography, and journalism.


Festival of Ideas

When: May, 2018

Attendance: Woodstock students from grades 9 to 12

Entering its fifth year, the Festival of Ideas allows students to explore a topic or question they are passionate about and do so through an interdisciplinary lens that utilises and integrates all the skills they have learned at Woodstock.


Summer at Woodstock

When: 1-14 July, 2018

Attendance: Young people from India and around the world

Summer at Woodstock is our exciting, expanded summer educational experience which combines academic rigour with the energy and excitement of a summer camp. The Centre for Imagination, together with Woodstock School’s Language Department, are providing Summer at Woodstock for young people who want to spend time during the summer break building skills and experience in an area they’re passionate about. Open to both Woodstock students and students from other schools, it’s a great way to experience boarding school life and the natural beauty of Woodstock’s Himalayan surroundings. With programmes including Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Art for Change and Media and storytelling, alongside English and Spanish language programmes, there’s something to match everyone’s interests and ambitions.

Find out more about Summer at Woodstock

Visitors and scholars

In order to expand the learning experience for students, the Centre for Imagination will begin hosting visitors and scholars to share their knowledge and expertise, work with students on specific projects, and inspire young people to find their own path in the world. The Centre for Imagination is currently in conversation with all of the following individuals and organisations to plan an exciting year of learning for Woodstock’s students.



Trimester 1 – July-September


Scholar in Residence


Richard Delacy: What does rapid change mean for South Asian identity?

Richard Delacy teaches Hindi-Urdu in the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard University, as well as a course on contemporary Indian commercial cinema called ‘Bollywood and Beyond.’ He completed his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He studies primarily the post-liberalization novel in Hindi, and is interested in the intersection of cultural production, globalization and economic liberalization since 1990. He is also interested in popular cultural production and the world of commercial Hindi cinema in Mumbai.




Scholar in Residence

Eleanor Nicholson: Women in Leadership – An inquiry into the obstacles.

Eleanor Nicholson served as a school administrator in Chicago for more than forty years, after which she completed stints at both Kodaikanal and Woodstock School as Interim Principal. Eleanor completed her PhD at Loyola University in Chicago and has occupied leadership positions ever since. The central studio in the Centre for Imagination will be dedicated to this inquiry, featuring interactive stations for staff and students, mentoring conversations, film screenings, panel discussions, and more!

Trimester 2 – October-December


Focus on Water

Sara Ahmed

Living Waters Museum is the brain child of Dr Sara Ahmed (‘81), a researcher, gender specialist, and water rights advocate who has worked at the intersection of water, culture, and livelihoods since 1986. Her doctoral research at Cambridge (1991) analysed the politics of purity and pollution in the cleaning of the Ganga at Varanasi.

Building a living machine


Michael Martin

Michael Martin is a museum designer and Ecological Design Thinking consultant from the UK. He will join us to facilitate student contributions to Living Waters and to help us build a prototype of a Living Machine based on the work of John and Nancy Todd.

Special Projects


Atmospheric Data Station

Working with Dr. Varun Sheel and the National Physical Research Laboratory, Department of Space, in Ahmedabad, we will install equipment to track and record weather and precipitation patterns, as well as air quality. In this way, the Centre for Imagination will contribute to a growing national (and global!) database. As the data accumulates, students will be trained in using modelling software that allows scientists to predict future patterns based on current trends.

Design Thinking Workshop

In February, for a week, the Centre for imagination will offer Woodstock staff the opportunity to learn the basics of design thinking, the approach to problem solving that is changing many fields, including education.

Mona Nasseri

Originally from Iran, with initial training in jewelry design, Mona Nasseri earned her doctorate in design from the University of Dundee, in Scotland. She now lectures at Schumacher College in the UK. She will collaborate with Amy Seefeldt in offering this workshop for Woodstock Staff.




Woodstock’s Centre for Imagination seeks individuals, organisations, and Woodstock alumni interested in growing a network full of learning, a network committed to helping young people find their place in the world of the future. The Centre is eager to partner with all of the following:


cfi-team-450-300Imagineers who want to volunteer with the Centre and share their expertise to empower young people.

Peer schools looking for imaginative ways to better prepare young people for adulthood.

University initiatives related to leadership, global understanding, and shaping a sustainable future.

Non-governmental organisations dedicated to transformative learning.

Scholars looking for short sabbatical or research periods, who want to share their learning with young people.

Social entrepreneurs who want to transform the world through working with young people, helping young people become changemakers.

Professionals in any field who want to connect with, inspire, and mentor young people who share their passions and gifts.

Donor individuals or organisations who want to provide material support for young people to discover and cultivate a real vocation – a rooted sense of direction and identity to carry into their futures.