The effects of the Coronavirus pandemic have been enormous especially on the lives of those who have been seriously affected by the death of a loved one or recovering from the virus after a stay in hospital, as well as those who have lost their work and sources of income. All of us have experienced a prolonged lockdown which itself has taken a toll on many people's mental health and well-being. But there are things that have been learnt during the experience and these we want to explore.

Engage had no choice but to postpone our seminar series this year and instead we wanted to offer something to the city as it starts to emerge from lockdown and we continually heard people saying they didn’t want ‘business as usual’ to return and many said that the virus was giving us all the opportunity to think bigger and better and to create the kind of place where we really wanted to live and where everyone could flourish.

So, working with residents and citizens from Leeds who felt the same, we decided that it would be a good idea if we shared these ideas together in the hope that we’ll each inspire the other to explore what might come next. We settled on a format that involves each city choosing a number of people to form a panel of speakers who will try to imagine what it would take for their city to delight them.

The first two events in this series—which we hope will continue with more cities in the future—took place on two consecutive Saturdays in June, the 20th and 27th. Recordings of both events are available on YouTube:

Liverpool, 20th June

Leeds, 27th June

There has been interest shown from other cities that would like to be included in any future events and so we are currently looking at connecting to cities along the M62 corridor before seeing if there is any interest from further afield in the north of England. Get in touch with us at for more information.

A full Press Release is here:

Our most important task at the present moment is to build castles in the sky  – Lewis Mumford

In partnership with Wordscape and Playful Anywhere in Leeds, we are hosting a 2 part event series that asks, ‘what would it take for the city to delight us?’

For an hour on Saturday evening from 7pm on the 20th and 27th June, we’ll hear stories and ideas from each city in turn, looking at exciting and delightful grassroots projects that add significant value to their communities and the city at large.

Over the series we’ll talk about how we scale these ideas and the role of active citizens within them. But we’ll also have space to talk about things that don’t exist yet, but we wish did, and ask what are the areas of the city that we wish would delight us and how we might get there. We’ll hear a broad range of ideas from each city and various communities within them that will spark discussion and ideas.

Each session will be chaired by representatives of both cities and we will draw threads for the things we have in common, and the things that make our cities uniquely delightful.

We will, of course, talk about the Pandemic we’re all facing and what we’re learning during it and what effect it is having on our cities. Are there any new things that are happening right now that we want to carry forward with us into our post pandemic cities? Do we want to go back to business as usual? Are our city leaders aware of these things?

We are building a community of enquiry around this question. We want the challenge of our city leaders and our citizens to go beyond a merely functional city, although we want that too, to how can cities inspire and delight the people that live in them and what role will we all play in this?

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