Past, Present, & Future

Circa 250: Its Rationale, History, Focus and Future

Past, Present, & Future


Circa 250 provides meaningful, creative discourse to inspire reflection and provoke transformation. The platform features original content that delivers maximum value with an economy of means, always around 250 words or seconds. Our contributors embrace constraints, resist verbosity, and cut to the essence to convey meaning and conjure beauty. Our focus is unwavering, whatever the topic, knowing that boundaries don’t define but rather, when approached with the appropriate gumption and intent, catalyze creativity and transcendence.


Circa 250 evolved over time. It started in November 2009 as an introduction to a weekly public email about Chicago-area sustainability news and events produced by the Foresight Design Initiative. With an audience perennially pressed for time, and with additional content that followed, it seemed imperative to keep the section short yet compelling. Embracing a subjective perspective on more objective events and ideas kept it focused and interesting, as well as challenging to produce each week! Based on informal feedback, the formula seemed to work. By the time the e-newsletter had run its course, a commitment to writing these micro-essays had been established. They continued to be drafted and sent to the existing list of subscribers. The independent Circa 250 identity was created in 2019 with the ambition of eventually expanding beyond the initial series. At this time, artist David Greaves began contributing pen and ink header drawings. In late 2023, with 600+ archived emailed installments, the current online repository and publishing platform was launched. The first special Circa 250 series, All Trails, replaced the original Forecast for eleven weeks that fall.


Circa 250 currently distributes and archives no more than two, c. 250-word emails each week, one of which is the Forecast series, now in its 15th year. In March (2024), Circa 250 published its first special series, Bridge of the Gods, that ran concurrently with the original for five weeks. David Greaves continues to contribute commissioned artwork for all.


Circa 250's first expansion phase is focused on generating a regular set of special series to run concurrently each week with the Forecast but with their own topics, structures, and possibly collaborators. The second growth phase, planned for mid-2024, will introduce a weekly, Circa 250 podcast (kept to around 250 seconds). Whatever form Circa 250 installments might take, the guiding star objective remains the same: Insight. Brevity. Following that light, we hope might increase the possibility for beauty, rejuvenation, and transformation.

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