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What We Do


COMMUNITIES THAT PLAY TOGETHER, STAY TOGETHER

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What We Do


COMMUNITIES THAT PLAY TOGETHER, STAY TOGETHER

Civic art. Social good.

The Curious Citizens Project is an informal arts collective and cultural workshop for civic transformation. We believe that play is an essential (and often underutilized) force for public good and democratic rejuvenation and we act on that belief.

We work *with* communities across Washington, DC, bringing people together to imaginatively redefine, remix, and *play* with the world around them. Sometimes we do this using technology, sometimes we do this using theatre, sometimes we do this using policy, and very often we do this using duct tape. Loads and loads of duct tape.

We play the long game: Whether temporary or built-to-last, physical or digital, policy or polka dots, our experiments are (co-)designed with social justice and connectivity in mind. More about our mission and approach below.

Although primarily run on volunteer time, our work has been supported by the Washington, DC Economic Partnership, the 24hr City Project, the Awesome FoundationDC Funk Parade, National Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Open Technology Institute at New America, as well as countless partnerships and contributions of love, time, and elbow grease from local businesses and non-profit organizations.

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WANNA MAKE SOMETHING TOGETHER? 

The Curious Citizens Project loves to scheme. Whether you're looking for to craft creative mischief, to make a wonky initiative more interactive and participatory, to gutcheck a collaborative process, or to erect a human-sized demo of your neighborhood using only crowdsourced toothpicks, we've got the chops to help you out. 

Send us a note and let's start talking.

Our Approach


Our Approach


THE POWER OF THE POSSIBLE

We believe that lasting social change (no matter how small or big) requires a combination of shared experience and suspension of disbelief in order to be realized. That's why our work is devoted to defying the impossibility of progress. When we choose, as individuals, to collaborate with our communities in the face of a seemingly impossible challenge, we can create a new possible -- a window into what the world could be if things worked differently, even before we're ready to live with that difference.

Creating new possibles allows us to test drive the future, to explore alternative social norms and structures, generate creative confidence, guide big picture advocacy, and, ultimately, challenge the way we live in the physical, digital, and social spaces that define the present. 

CIVIC INNOVATION & CIVIC STRANGE

Healthy civic engagement doesn't exist in a vacuum. It has be cultivated, both through the strengthening of participation muscles (one flex-per-year at the voting booth doesn't count) and through the stewardship of "magic-positive" environments. For most of our adult lives, we are confronted and constrained by The Ways Things Are -- so much so that we need to actually retrain our ability to suspend disbelief, to overcome social and privilege barriers, and to imagine the world differently. To this end, The Curious Citizens Project maintains a portfolio of work dedicated to agendaless absurdity -- a series of strategic, interactive art interventions that serve solely to surprise and give communities the chance to practice participation in reality-bending scenarios without the pressure of external co-option or expectation.

BETTER, TOGETHER

Every Curious Citizens Project project starts from the context of an online or place-based community. In addition to leading new initiatives, we also love to follow (read: support the work of others), and take pride in taking the time to make our work context and culturally sensitive and relevant.

We have experience working with local governments, community organizations of a variety of formal and informal structures, and civil society groups. Curious to learn how we could work together? Email helloATcuriouscitizensDOTcom or head over to our Contact page

Manifesto


Manifesto


  • We believe in that participation in public life can and should come from a place of joy, not obligation. 
  • We are stewards of public commons, be they digital, physical, temporary, messy, sculpted, or otherwise.
  • We believe in magic.
  • We believe that people come first and that the best creations arise only when we work together. 
  • We believe that open access to information and opportunities for play and creation are essential to the development of healthy, vibrant, active communities.
  • We are devoted to making the impossible possible.
  • We believe that living in the present and being mindful of the past are essential components to creating equitable, imaginative, transformative futures.
  • And last, but certainly not least, we believe in you.