Immy is a co-founder of Impact Hub Birmingham, a network of citizens, makers, doers, entrepreneurs, activists and dreamers committed to building a better Birmingham and better world.
Immy was one of the original founding team members that produced Birmingham’s first ever TEDx. Over the last 5 years Immy has curated and produced TEDxBrum as licensee including:
2012 The Next Revolution at mac, Birmingham
2013 Marking the Map at Millennium Point
2014 DIY at the Library of Birmingham
2016 Power of Us at Town Hall, Birmingham
Immy is also a part of Project 00, Zero zero is a collaborative studio » of architects, strategic designers, programmers, social scientists, economists and urban designers practicing design beyond its traditional borders.
Impact Hub Birmingham: birmingham.impacthub.net
Project 00: project00.cc
Were you born in Birmingham? Yes
What’s your favourite childhood memory of Birmingham? The day Stechford Cascades opened at the bottom of my road.
Summer days in Cannon Hill Park.
When was your breakthrough moment? The moment I realised that you can just be unapologetically you and actually the world needs that more than I realised as a child / teenager.
How did you get into what you’re doing today? I had worked in two large organisations after graduating, they were perfect dream jobs in many ways. Throughout both those experiences I saw layers and layers of bureaucracy and power grabbing holding back amazing work, I saw lots of incredible talent and passion be suppressed by managers and was so frustrated by seeing how much energy there was and what this could mean for our places if it was unlocked. I was also volunteering to run TEDxBrum and part of 100s of citizens were coming together and truly wanting to come together to build an even better Birmingham, but also tackle some of our biggest issues together. So, was born the movement for what later became Impact Hub Birmingham.
You can read more about it here:
https://birmingham.impacthub.net/2015/05/17/1-mission-3-stories-5-lessons-5-plans/ & https://birmingham.impacthub.net/2015/05/17/1-mission-3-stories-5-lessons-5-plans/
What’s the greatest memory from your career? So many, but most certainly the moment our Kickstarter was fully funded. This was for 3 main reasons:
1. 1000s of Brummies and people across the world helped to make it happen.
2. Lots of people I trusted and respected had been rather disparaging about a group of young people trying to do this, at times I would say it went as far as bullying. So, for me, in the youngest and most diverse city in Europe, a stat we often market ourselves on in this city. This was for me a moment it was a real example of practically what this could mean.
3. We tried for 2 years to get institutional, local government and funding support to no avail, often we were laughed out the room as too utopian. So, this was a moment that showed what happens when citizens take control of their own dreams.
There is a long way to go, but 3 years ago, this was a transformational moment for me in understanding what was possible.
You can read more here: https://birmingham.impacthub.net/2014/12/04/kickstarter/
Favourite thing to do in Birmingham? Go to park run at Cannon Hill Park on a Saturday morning.
What makes Birmingham stand out to you? It’s potential to be a global city, it has a window of opportunity to learn from the mistakes of development in other cities and bypass that, to be a global beacon for a city based on inclusive growth.
What are your thoughts on the future of Birmingham? I believe it is growing and developing in incredible ways. However, I believe this is a crucial moment for us to learn from other global cities and not grow at the expense of its citizens, but together. Truly inclusive growth will mean not just pursuing the typical growth model, that benefits the same people. Instead, truly putting inclusive growth at the heart of our ‘economic strategy’, focusing on collective wealth and ownership – this will take bold, brave and humble leadership. I will always believe and work for this being possible.
If you could change one thing about Birmingham, what would it be? Right now, progressive land / development policy and legislation to put citizens at the heart of the future development so inward investment and community wealth sit side by side, and the citizens aren’t an after thought or ‘done to’, instead at the heart of it transformation over the next decade.
A community land trust would be a start.
Who’s the most famous person you think is from Birmingham? Dame Elizabeth Cadbury, Mary Lee Woods (noone knows the latter, but they should)
Who are your heroes? Someone you look up to? Konda Mason founder of Impact Hub Oakland, Michelle Obama, Black Panther Party.
If you had a dinner party, which 3 people would you invite? Michelle Obama, Mai Bhago, Bobby Seale
What are your plans for the future? I hope it will next phase of Impact Hub Birmingham, a new building, community land trust, community housing project and I hope many more fabulous years in the city.
Who’s the most famous person in your phone book? Malala