James Turner – Radical optimist

Cats and activism may not seem likely bedfellows, but James Turner, founder of the creative collective, Glimpse, is looking to change that assumption. His project aims to focus the minds of the global creative industries on to causes that require more public attention.

James Turner. © Vicky Grout

It’s about encouraging positive social values and positive behaviours in society – the kind of stuff that advertising is very good at, but doesn’t always do in the right way. Glimpse is about training that skill and those talents on something that’s good for society rather than things that are purely good for the bottom line.

James Turner

One of James' projects involved stripping Clapham Common tube station of advertising and replacing it with glorious pictures of cats. James funded the project via Kickstarter, raising nearly £25,000 in under a month. It’s frivolous and he knows it, but there are important messages at the heart of the campaign. “It’s about transforming a public space in the centre of London", he says, “taking it away from traditional commercial advertising and putting people power at the heart of it".

This philosophy is one he’s applying to future Glimpse projects, making activism light-hearted to engage a new audience. “When you make things a bit more entertaining, you get millions more people taking part".

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