Print Page   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Register
Sign In

Global Archives


ICA-USA Living Archive



The Institute of Cultural Affairs continues transforming its extensive archive of programs, projects, methods, and training by staff and volunteers from a private treasure trove into a public civic asset. Our aim is to share the experiences and tools from an energetic 20th century "peoples’ movement” for social justice and human development with today’s citizen activists, civic leaders, thinkers, and students. We believe that 21st century learning organizations and change movements will learn much from this creative citizen’s movement of the late 20th century.


Collections of ICA’s pioneering work include:

  • participatory methods for visionary planning and action
  • childhood and adult learning
  • locally-guided projects for mobilizing community residents
  • resources for soul care that energize individuals and groups

Current Archival Activities


ICA staff and dozens of volunteers have begun by organizing, cataloging, and digitizing several of the numerous collections of the Institute of Cultural Affairs and the Ecumenical Institute Living Archives. Examples:

  • Spirit life materials underlying all of the programs of the Institutes
  • Audio-visual resources and cultural objects from hundreds of events, projects, and communities around the world from the mid-1950s to the present
  • Town Meetings (Community Forums)—a program launched by ICA during the US Bicentennial, includes original documents for one of the most comprehensive data sets of community challenges, aspirations, and project proposals created by workshops in several thousand communities across the US and around the world 
  • Human Development Projects (Global Social Demonstrations)—ICA’s demonstration program of participatory community-building projects, grassroots leadership schools, and coordinated regional development in strategic locations beginning in Chicago’s Fifth City and replicated across the globe
  • Institute of Cultural Affairs and Ecumenical Institute courses, seminars, and dialogues, that focus on social dynamics, transformative change, spirituality, and ethical living combined into Academies, International Training Institutes, and Human Development Training Schools  

The Ecumenical Institute gate saved from the West Side is installed in the Archive space.

Here's one of the many finds the sojourners have made. A talk given at an Annual Liturgical Conference in 1964 entitled the Peace of Christ in the Modern City.


Download the audio file here.


Be sure to consider Volunteering!


You are welcome to come for any length of time 


You are invited to work with others on the tasks of organizing the rich legacy of the Order Ecumenical, the Ecumenical Institute and the Institute of Cultural Affairs. This Archival work is focused on different "records" each day. Recently, the Fifth City Project has been organized and foldered with files dating from the early 1960s. A special section has been arranged on the Fifth City Preschool.


Audio Visual collections are being organized with a 4ft by 6ft light table and 3000 slides are scanned and being digitized. Many more need to be examined. Each person can choose which collection to explore. 


Volunteers are continuing their focus on the Global Archives Project. Individuals and groups of colleagues gather for archival tasks, discussions and community life.


An active Archive Team is working on site at 4750 and many are working at home. Let us know if you are interested in being part of that team.  

Your support can help the ICA-USA mission in many ways. For more information, contact Seva Gandhi 773-769-6363 x312 or Marge Philbrook, 773-769-6363 x235 or email the Archives Team at 


Bookmark and Share