a picture of resilience The "Imagination Squared" social experiment is a display of what resilience means to the community of Athens, Georgia.

Diverse members of the Athens community are asked to modify a five inch wooden square to represent resilience.

What does resilience mean to you?

From left to right: "LGBTQ," "Stones," "Mask On," "Moon" and "Coastal Flux."

There are no rules

Participants may glue a strange object from their garage on the square, wrap it in the fabric of their grandmother's sweater or use colorful clay to represent the fragile ecosystem of a coral reef.

“The visuals help us hold space and help us see that we are very different, yet tethered together."

Christina Foard, the project director of Imagination Squared.


The social experiment is also about overcoming the frustrations and limitations of modifying the square, and it's about the conversations and thoughts provoked in the process.

After the squares have been dropped off at a designated location, the participants have the option of sending in a written explanation.


"The dozens of phone lines represent communication between all the passengers on spaceship earth. We must all work with and care for each other with resilience to create a sustainable future."


"My piece is supposed to represent how I become resilient by hiding in a metaphorical maze. I isolate myself and come up with a way to make myself resilient. My piece also connects to the theme of structural resilience in the sense that this piece is made of cardboard triangles and masking tape. These materials are not strong on their own but when they are put together they make a strong shape ... "


"This represents my journey in and out of a very dark time in my life, the bees symbolize how positive or negative thoughts can pollinate and take over ones mind and life. I’ve been working on training myself through cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness to go from negative cycling, obsessive, thoughts to more positive, self compassionate ones."

The social experiment is not complete until all of the squares come together in a vast collage of color, texture and symbolism.

It's about daring to participate — daring to belong.

“The way people felt about seeing their square in and amongst the others was groundbreaking,” Foard said.

Squares displayed in the Lamar Dodd School of Art.

Looking forward

The future of the project will include the sound of resilience. Participants may record audio that will be playable by pressing a button on the square.

Click the button below to learn more about stories of resilience and imagination squared.

Written by Nicole Schlabach, Photography by Christina Foard and Nicole Schlabach.

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