“Let me help you or you will drown, said the monkey putting the fish safely up a tree.” - Alan Watts
We believe in taking things slow. By slowing down our decision making process, acknowledging the whole rather than merely the immediate, and by using and re-using all available natural and human resources, we are able to be self-reliant and sustainable. Living, growing and evolving in this way, maintaining an internal balance in which all elements interact with one another, allows us to define our own model of social enterprise.
We promote the philosophy and design principles of permaculture through connective art practice, skill-sharing and utilising embodied energy. Through the perspectives offered by slow and careful observation of our environments, by engaging with and listening to our communities and remaining unrestricted in our outlook, we create an inclusive, aspirational space where an expanded concept of art can be explored.
We are passionate about interdisciplinary art – from participatory filmmaking to explorations of embodiment, applied theatre to meditative enquiry – and our artist residencies offer a unique way to deepen and enrich our perspective of our space, as well as facilitating engagement with people of all backgrounds. We support those whose work engenders a responsibility toward sustainable and humane social and ecological futures, and we see the creative process as the primary means by which the core tenets of permaculture can be experienced.
We seek to fulfil a variety of roles – a space to learn, to create, and to share – and the principles of permaculture design offer a unique framework through which this can be achieved. We believe how has an equal importance to what, and we aim to keep the fish in the water and the monkey in the tree.
"Let's talk of a system that transforms all the social organisms into a work of art, in which the entire process of work is included." - Joseph Beuys
We believe in sharing. By creating an open, supportive space for artists and agents of change to share their ideas, to create a dialogue through which a deeper understanding of those ideas might be reached, and to allow for cross-pollination spanning disciplines, methodologies and intentions, we hope to rethink the creative process.
Arts Lab participants are invited to meet as small groups on a monthly basis, either within the studio setting or outdoors. Each are offered equal time to share ideas, practical experiences or works in progress to the group, who are in turn invited to respond. Previous sessions have seen participants offer thoughts on a diverse range of topics; from Carl Jung and yoga to transforming justice, and from imaginal psychology to how to support communities whilst travelling. There have been performative works, collaborative culinary experiences, development of meditation practices, and plans for art collectives.
The group is aided by a ‘curator’ who oversees the arena, allowing for a parallel exchange which can develop and inform individual participants’ contributions, and shape the structure of one happening to the next. Exploring the creative process within this arena is a means of reconnecting art with life, defying the traditional notion of the isolated artist and expanding opportunities for insight, perspective and growth.
05.2014: Commencement of second 12 month UK Arts Lab, supporting socially engaged artists and agents of change to grow, develop and cross-pollinate their work
05.2014: Visual artist Rosa Quintana Lillo commences two-week Hurst Castle residency
05.2014: Sculptor and painter Mike Edwards commences two-week Hurst castle residency
03.2014: Contributed to Sustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide by Julianna Birnbaum and Louis Fox
01.2014: Hosted Shaura Hall's Neuroscience and Mental Health for Kundalini Yogis in London
01.2014: Documented London self-build group SLICE's visit to Bristol self-build initiative Ecomotive
12.2013: Donations to BC Wildlife Federation, Callanish Society and O.U.R. Ecovillage
09.2013: Dancer Espirito Santo Mauricio commenced Hurst Castle residency, and was featured by local press
08.2013: Psychogeographer and multi-disciplinary artist Nimmi Naidoo commenced inaugural Hurst Castle residency, and was featured by local press
05.2013: Business spotlight in Permaculture Magazine (volume 3 issue 12) outlining how the charity uses permaculture principles
03.2013: Farm Talk with Michael Ableman at Foxglove Farm and the Centre for Arts, Ecology & Agriculture on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
11.2012: Completion of 12 month UK Arts Lab, supporting socially engaged artists and agents of change to grow, develop and cross-pollinate their work
10.2012: Featured by P + B magazine, exploring the background of the initiative and the intentions of the founders
08.2012: Site visits to O.U.R. Ecovillage (global community), Foxglove Farm (sustainable farming project) and Saltspring Seeds (seed activism)
07.2012: Documentation for High Heathercombe Centre permaculture design course released online
05.2012: Donation to UOT, a global social sculpture project for developing creative responses to the ecological crisis
05.2012: Hosted Urban Design Permaculture course and became a member of The Permaculture Association
04.2012: Fleetwood Initiative established and registered in the UK, Facebook community created