Albert Einstein once said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Many leading thinkers agree with him. Yet imagination is often overlooked in today’s world. The Institute of Imagination (IoI) is trying to rectify this, giving children the chance to explore the potential of their imagination within the Imagination Lab at The Workshop at 8 Albert Embankment in London.
“We invite children and their families to engage in events and workshops, encouraging the kids to apply their imagination and creativity across the arts, science and digital tech. But we are truly multi-disciplinary so we see no boundaries between maths and dance, for example,” says IoI’s Tom Doust.
Once a fire station, 8 Albert Embankment was acquired by U+I in 2016 to breathe new life into this neglected street, just a stone’s throw from the River Thames and Westminster. The Workshop was set up as a meanwhile project in one of the abandoned warehouses on the site. IoI was formally established in 2015 but The Workshop is its first significant space, 3000 sq ft, with another 12,500 sq ft available when needed.
Giving the majority of the space to the Institute was an integral part of U+I’s ultimate ambition to deliver a development that works for and with the Lambeth community, providing access to education for local families.
“We work closely with local schools and families, we’ve won local awards and we are supported by Lambeth Council and local business organisations,” says Doust.
Since opening in February of this year, 11,000 people have passed through the Imagination Lab. A large number of those visitors have come from the local area, as IoI makes a point of interacting with Lambeth schools and offering a discount to local residents.
“Wherever we work, community is key. We wanted this space to be accessible to kids from all over London but particularly to Lambeth residents,” Doust explains.
The local response has been enthusiastic, with children from different schools coming together, neighbours getting to know one another and teachers discovering a different perspective on education.