You don’t wake up and find a utopia fully realised and perfectly formed. They happen a little bit at a time, unevenly, erratically, and if we know how to look, we can see glimpses of them, everywhere.

It’s hard to be excited about the future right now. Climate change is accelerating; inequality is growing; politics is polarised; institutions designed to protect us are strained; technology is disrupting the world of work. We need to upgrade the operating systems of our society.

Jess Scully asks, What can we do? The answer is: plenty! All over the world, people are refusing the business-as-usual mindset and putting humans back into the civic equation, reimagining work and care, finance and government, urban planning and communication, to make them better and fairer for all.

Meet the care workers reclaiming control in India and Lebanon, the people turning slums into safe havens in Kenya and Bangladesh, and champions of people-powered digital democracy in Iceland and Taiwan. There are radical bankers funding renewable energy in the USA and architects redesigning real estate in Australia, new payment systems in Italy and the Philippines that keep money in local communities, and innovators redesigning taxation to cut pollution and incentivise creative solutions.

Glimpses of Utopia is a call for optimism. Humans everywhere are rising up to confront our challenges with creativity, resilience and compassion. Harnessing technology and imagination, we can reshape our world to be fair and sustainable. This book shows us how.

Glimpses of Utopia is published by Pantera Press; order the paperback or the eBook now.

“Our task is to reach out into the future and to pull it into the present, because we have run out of time. In Glimpses of Utopia Jess Scully directs us towards the kind of compelling vision we need, in the understanding that we are living in an imperfect world.”
Christiana Figueres, The Future We Choose

Jess Scully is a curator who uses creativity to engage people in the knowledge economy and with urban life in the twenty-first century, working to shape a sustainable and inclusive future.

In 2019 she was elected as Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney and in 2016 she was elected as a Councillor, as a member of the Clover Moore Independent Team.

Jess has charted a unique career over twenty years; founding ground-breaking festival Vivid Ideas, Australia’s largest creative industries event; supporting emerging talent through projects such as the Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards; sparking new thinking through TEDxSydney and transforming public space as a public art curator. She has also worked as a policy advisor, radio host and magazine editor.

As a Councillor, Jess advocates for new models to address the housing crisis and support workforces of the future, is working on reviving nightlife and expanding access to culture, and protecting digital rights in the public realm. She is committed to opening up politics to younger and more diverse people, to expand who plays a role in shaping the life of the city.

Glimpses of Utopia is her first book.

“Jess Scully has scoured the world for the best ideas to fix this mess we’re in. I found myself scribbling in the margins of each page, nodding enthusiastically and talking about what I’d just read with whomever would listen.”
Jess Hill, See What You Made Me Do

Events & Talks

“Remarkably invigorating – a collection of eminently practical ideas, from a writer who has done the nitty gritty work of making change herself. And if we were able to join together to make them happen, our world would change. As we emerge from the pandemic, this is precisely the kind of thinking that we need.”
Bill McKibben, Deep Economy


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“As a long-term social activist, I know protesting about what’s wrong is not enough! Without Glimpses of Utopia, creating more civil societies too often falls victim to pessimism. So we need utopian options that offer the optimism needed to create fairer futures! Jess offers proposals to discuss, explore and design our way out of the current mess!”
Eva Cox AO


Glimpses of Utopia provided me the rarest thing in these grim times: hope. For the first time in so long, it shook me out of despondency, and made me excited and galvanised by the potential future of democracy.”
Benjamin Law, writer and broadcaster

Buy the book

Order online through Booktopia, or find your local independent bookseller here.

Read Glimpses on your Kindle or Kobo eReader. Glimpses is also available on Apple Books and the Google Play Store.

The audiobook of Glimpses is out now on all major platforms including Audible, Apple Books, and the Google Play Store.

Borrow Glimpses from your local library (or request a copy if they don’t already have one!).

“An audacious appeal to our best selves, daring us to reimagine a better world that not just should be but could be. Glimpses is the gentle nudge we need as we grapple with how to turn a global calamity into an opportunity to create a better, fairer future for ourselves, our children and our planet.”
Jan Fran, writer and broadcaster