Read on to discover how your vision of Utopia could appear on this year’s official Shambala T-shirt!

Shambala has always been a party with a purpose, started by a ‘motley collection of dreamers, thinkers, artists, radicals and romanticists’ nearly two decades ago. We remain proudly independent and guided by the principle of getting better rather than bigger.

Shambalans, who make up our diverse community, are people that celebrate their differences, and see them not as threats but as opportunities to learn from each other and in return learn more about themselves.

We’ve become somewhat obsessed with the exploration of new, more positive ways of interacting with each other. Things need shaking up urgently, and ‘Adventures in Utopia’ is our battle cry!

This year also marks the five hundredth anniversary of the publication of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, the book that inspired both a literary genre and countless experiments in human living. Is it really possible to build a paradise in the here and now? Utopia by definition is a place that doesn’t exist, it is the method and expression – not the destination – of a re-imagined and better future.

We are over the moon that The Idler Academy will be hosting a whole afternoon dedicated to Utopian ideals, join them in The Cocoon on Sunday for talks and debate with four writers and travellers. Idler editor Tom Hodgkinson, author of How to be Idle and How to be Free, will host the sessions. We’ll hear from Tobias Jones, whose book A Place of Refuge details his experience of running a commune for recovering addicts and the homeless; David Bramwell, who spent a year travelling round the world visiting utopian communes from Christiania to Damanhur in Northern Italy; and Evening Standard columnist Richard Godwin who will discuss the campaign for fully automated luxury communism!

But most importantly this year we want to hear from YOU. 

So what does your Utopia look like? Is it a world where robots do all the jobs that we hate to do, so that we can learn musical instruments and handwrite elaborate and eloquent prose to those that we love? Or is it a world where we cast technology out and live, sustainably off the land in a network of ridiculous treehouses?

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So (in 150 characters or less) we want to YOU to describe your Utopia – either in a comment on this blog, or on our Facebook page, or just tweet us. We will then collate the most inspiring ones and turn them into a collage that will go on limited edition T-shirts. Naturally, if your words are chosen, you get a free one.

To get the ball rolling, here are some from Shambala HQ:

Sid (Creative Director) – “No borders, so people can walk freely with open minds and hearts and learn from each other’s cultures and customs.”

Becka (Marketing) – “A level playing field, where it’s your actions that count, not your bank balance, skin colour, background or what’s between your legs.”

Sophie (Marketing) – “Here, community is the sound bedrock, the nurtured souls grow tall and brave, and love flows, doggedly flattening all negativity in its path”

Christine (Production): “A place oozing with creativity, inspiration and community, where families grow and new friends are made.”

So Shambalans ,get dreaming and let’s put our heads together to create the future we want to live in!