We opened The Museum of Futures as a sustainable community space in a vacant shop in Surbiton, to enable more people to engage with and respond to community activity, help them develop a shared vision for the area and involve the broadest cross section of the community in delivering it.
It responded to our community’s desire for a permanent, local venue for anyone who’d like to see things change for the better, and who has the urge and energy to work with others on imaginatively making that change happen. An accessible, democratic, creative environment where local people can challenge any sense that there is ‘inevitable decline’, research ideas and collaborate on a shared vision for a more positive, inclusive future for our communities and businesses.
‘Plenty of community activities going on, brilliant initiatives like the Seething Festival, Surbiton Food Festival … and the Museum of Futures project – brilliant!’ (Community Survey)
A key feature of the Museum is The Community Kitchen, designed to enable local start-up or home-based food businesses with the opportunity many have been seeking to explore the potential for a sustainable business future in cooking and catering. The Kitchen provides such independent businesses and the wider community with new opportunities to learn and develop. Through workshops, skills exchanges, demonstrations, research and food industry advisory surgeries.
More than 40 business and organisations have used the Museum and its facilities. It has encouraged new business to start and businesses to grow, and introduced people to new experiences, skills, networks and friends. Local businesses and entrepreneurs have used research there to develop new products and services. It’s hosted business, creative and wellbeing workshops, visual and performance art installations, music recordings, robot workshops, Heritage Lottery-funded research groups, butchery demonstrations, pop-up restaurants, exhibitions. It’s home to the Seething Writers and Free University of Seething lectures have delighted diverse audiences with new approaches to heritage, film special effects, psychogeography, sociology of community, curating in the digital age and aromatherapy.
'It’s changed my life.' (community volunteer)
Our community surveys reveal that anyone who actively joins in with local events and activity has a far more positive attitude to the area and a real sense that they can influence their environment and their future prospects. If you’d like to see things change for the better, and have the urge and energy to work with others on imaginatively making that change happen, we want to hear from you. Get in touch if you want to learn more, get involved, or share your ideas.
We want everyone to help imagine the exciting new futures that can be designed and delivered through collaborating creatively with others.
The Museum of Futures was launched in 2015 by The Community Brain with funding from the GLA through the Mayor’s High Street Fund, and support from the Surbiton Business Community and the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.