Imagined Places

An exhibition of projects commissioned by the Sussex Co-Lab

23-26 March 2023, 12-6pm


Imagined Places

Imagined Places

Curated by Laurence Hill

Lighthouse is pleased to present Imagined Places - an exhibition showcasing the outcomes of an intensive 3-month residency by three creative teams commissioned by the Sussex Co-Lab at the University of Sussex. The teams were selected through an open call to respond to the urgent need for dialogue and community engagement in sustainable city planning. The goal was to improve access and the representation of a wider demographic in that process.


Imagined Places is not about conjuring other worlds, it is not about fantasy, it is about taking your world and imagining it better. It is about creating future histories.

The exhibition, located in three areas of Lighthouse, captures each teams’ creative responses to the challenge of making processes around urban planning and placemaking both inclusive and collaborative.

The teams are place-based, and their projects have drawn on their participants’ local knowledge, memories and wishes; on databases of historical information; and on hidden or lost histories, to reimagine both the present and the future of their urban environments.

Each of these projects exemplifies a grassroots approach and the belief that people are the experts on the places in which they live, and aims to be a starting point for conversation about current development and future planning.

The exhibition tells the story of each of the selected projects, capturing the processes behind their work and the results of collaborations with participants. Each offers visitors an opportunity to engage with the ideas behind the work and contribute to its outcomes.

In showcasing human messiness in knowledge, memories and wants and in uncovering forgotten or hidden histories, the exhibition is a powerful counterpoint to the sense of planning as something top-down, linear, grid-like and controlled. It offers an alternative to business as usual.

Imagined Places has been developed with the teams supported by curator Laurence Hill.


Hospitable Environment is a community arts organisation based in Newhaven, which has been working with local groups to reimagine and reclaim their town.

Urban Fabric is formed from two organisations, Sew Fabulous and Quiet Down There, both based in Brighton’s Open Market. They have collaborated with local people to develop a fabric representative of people’s feelings about the area.

Judith Ricketts is a digital artist and senior lecturer at the University of Brighton. In collaboration with the Centre for Memory Narrative and Histories she is developing an augmented reality app which will uncover Brighton’s hidden histories, both real and imagined.

Accessibility Information

  • The Digital Lounge is in the basement of the Lighthouse building accessible via a lift. There is a maximum of two wheelchairs allowed in the Digital Lounge at any given time. The lift holds a maximum weight of 300kg.
  • There are accessible toilets next to the space.

Credits & Sponsors

The Sussex Co-Lab is a creative placemaking initiative which evolved out of a need for innovative forms of engagement between local authorities and local stakeholders such as residents, community organisations, businesses and so on. Taking the form of a residency programme, the Co-Lab seeks to support cross-sector partnerships that creatively address the needs of a community in a space. Guided by placemaking practices, the Co-Lab encourages participation of underserved groups by amplifying voices, aesthetics, and creative visions.

The goal of the Co-Lab is to produce an alternative method for engagement with communities that goes beyond public consultations, and instead collaborates with constituents from the moment of conception and design, throughout implementation and delivery.

This Co-Lab is led by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) at the University of Sussex.

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