As Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry wrote, “There is a deep pull within us to discover and be true to the fact of our own interrelatedness.“ We experienced a new kind of togetherness in 2012 when we moved the Skip Garden, the Hoop Garden and our office onto our current location, writes Jane Riddford.
Bringing the different parts of the organisation together enabled us to see and experience ourselves more clearly as an ecosystem. A big factor in enabling closer collaboration was the fact that for the first time we had a kitchen on site. This meant that we began to regularly sit down as a whole team, to share a cooked lunch together.
The Kitchen has also meant this since 2012 we have been able to run bi-weekly lunch and learning sessions, that bring together construction employees and new businesses in Kings Cross with local children and young people. These are opportunities to get to know each other and to implement projects that improve the sustainability of the Skip Garden and the surrounding areas.
An example of the creativity we have experienced amongst diverse groups of people was the Big Knot project which ran throughout June 2012.
“Can we get hold of the materials on the construction site for a Big Knot project, I want to make a Giant Knitting Nancy” said Berni Yates, widening participation leader of Central St Martin’s College of Art. Within hours the call went out for cast aside lifting straps and debris netting, safety vests and pipe lagging. Anxiety turned to anticipation... what would happen this time? Word got around and the wheels of construction got moving.
Thanks to General Foreman Chris James and the BAM Nuttall team, over the weeks that followed a chorus line of trucks, tractors and forklifts entered the Skip Garden gates depositing cable drums and pipes, one ton builder’s bags and scaffold boards. I watched faces of bewilderment turn to smiles as the makers of roads and buildings became designers of fashion and furniture. Giant looms got bigger and bolder, pallets up ended created sports nets and story chairs.
This was the weaving together of not just of things but most importantly of people... Kings Cross people.
I stood back struck by the chaos and cohesion of it all. The blend of stories and skills from textile and product designers, young construction apprentices, office workers and local young people. The big knot was yet another occasion that revealed how it is in the relationships between people that a new and more responsible culture will emerge. As is our practice, we bookended practical activities with time for reflection.
This is what the participants had to say about their experience...
We witnessed a weaving together of impulse and matter, process taking shape in name and form. This small story spoke of a much bigger story ...an ancient and cosmic story in which different elements have come together at the right time to create the inner and the outer;... plants, people and poly-tunnels, over last 13.7 billion years.
In 2012 we also ran our first Big Bang Summer school in which we introduced this Universe Story, which has now become foundational to our work, to twelve young people aged between 11 and 16 and many of Global Generation’s Kings Cross collaborators including scientists, artists and construction workers.