Community in the Skip Garden

From raku firing with our neighbours Central St Martins, to celebrating Eid with our friends in Somerstown, to an evening get together to stand in solidarity with refugees, it's been a busy week in the Skip Garden!

This week for me is in many ways the coming together of much of our work around creating community and expanding community.

The word community is used in so many different ways, usually positively, to be part of a group, to feel belonging, yet for one to belong can also make another feel alienated.  Communities of sameness become islands separated from other communities of sameness, whether through religion, race, interests, abilities, and there are no opportunities, no excuses, for them to come together.  

I experienced in the Skip Garden this week a coming together of many different people, from many different backgrounds, with many different interests, finding ways to connect, to celebrate diversity, to welcome, to reach out.  It felt like an expansive community, for all.

The collaboration with CSM around the Ignition project has allowed us to not only work more closely with CSM’s ceramics students, to bring ceramics into our work as another form of hands on doing and reflecting, but also to connect with other local community groups doing amazing work, such as Women at the Well and Camden Town Shed. The day saw over 100 hundred people coming through the garden, artists, young people, families, community groups, random wanderers, in awe of the pieces of ceramics that were coming out of the raku kilns, made by community groups in King’s Cross, including Global Generation’s young people.

The Eid celebration came out re-connecting with old friends from Zad Cafe in Somerstown, who came on some of the first Pertwood camps back in 2009. We wanted to celebrate Eid together, a big community of people, from all faiths.  We cooked with young people and everyone brought a dish.  Children, young people and adults came in spite of the torrential rains and we enjoyed the simple pleasures of food and spending time together.

Our Summer Get Together event to raise money for the Starfish Project, who provide meals, friendship and support for refugees in Greece and France, was a way to come together to stand in solidarity with refugees across the world, to take a moment to be together with each other and with others who are facing persecution, to expand our sense of community, to recognise that there is hope, kindness and possibilities in what can feel as hopeless situations, that there are many unheard stories of strength, spirit and compassion which deserve to be heard.

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We often quote Aldo Leopold as an influencer of Global Generation’s work when speaking about community, in which the boundaries of community are enlarged “to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land”.  Though this is not spoken about explicitly when bringing different people together in the garden, I believe that this widening of perspective and inherent relationship with others, including all forms of life, is a common foundation which makes the most unlikely connections possible.