Farnham Fun Palace

Farnham Fun Palace

West St, Farnham, UK, GU9 7DX

6th October, 2018

On Saturday 6 October 2018, Farnham Fun Place will bring together, and for the 5th year, people and ideas to inspire and connect: tinkerers and crafters and fixers; painters and picture takers and story-tellers; knitters and sewers and menders; players and singers and dancers, gardeners and campers and travellers. It will be a celebration of art, science crafts and the community. Are you a Maker of any kind? Help us create hands-on fun for all ages (yes, adults are allowed to play!). If a hands-on workshop is not your thing, you can help looking after the visitors, documenting the event, setting the event up. Get in touch here: farnhamfunpalace@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!



At the Museum
11:00am till 5pm: Magnetic Fishing with Farnham Repair Café
11:00am till 5pm: Bite Marks with Maïlys Stiglio
11:00am till 5pm: Victorian Games or a workshop on Recycling (depending on the weather) with the museum
11:00am till 2pm: Lino Printing and Mark Making with Maltings Crafts
02:00pm till 5pm: Fun Palace Parliament & Music by YouUkes
At the library
11:00am till 4pm: Make Elmer the Elephant with milk bottles with the library
11:00am till 4pm: Make a Bag and Pop-Up Cards from paper with the library
11:00am till 4pm: Digital Crafts with the library
11:00am till 4pm: Easy Crochet with the library
11:00am till 4pm: Geometry & Patchwork with Brigitte Gillespie
12:00pm 2pm and 4pm: Story Times with the library
11:00am till 4pm: Physics for All with Ambassadors from the University of Surrey

Making our 5th Fun Palace

The Fun Palaces weekend is just round the corner and I don't know what's going to happen for us on the 6th. There's always a risk that the event will not go as well as we wish but that's okay, we welcome the possibility of failure as part of the process (and OF COURSE we want the day to be amazing, we're just honest with ourselves). But whichever way the event goes, the making of the Fun Palace has been a happy achievement for us. Fun Palaces have been like an earthquake for us. What we've been doing, as Fun Palace Makers, has been to try to rebuild a world that meets our expectations from the wreckage of the old world and its old ways. We haven't always managed but we have worked at it. And we're optimistic about it. And what's more subversive than optimism? Destabilising than the will to share? What I personally take away from making a Fun Palace for the 5th time is a chance to escape the past, get my hands dirty and create a future more attuned to my hopes. Fun Palaces say: you may be born on the ramshackle side of humanity, you can still get out of it, protest, think, say no, see farther than the tangible, mend the world around you when it no longer makes sense. Our Fun Palace is not perfect, of course it's not, but it's a beautiful adventure.        

Le Fun Palace: une confrontation de mondes

De Novembre à Septembre, on cogite, on rencontre, on apprend, on échange. Alors au terme des ces 11 mois, pas possible que le lien ne se fasse pas. C'est le Fun Palace.  Tous les possibles sont ouverts, encore faut-il les imaginer. Le musée, la bibliothèque comme lieux de corps et d'invention. Une vingtaine de faiseurs, 600 participants, combien de nationalités? Et notre propre responsabilité dans l'accueil de celles/ceux qui ont grandi là, dans la ville, une ville dortoir (avec Londres en bout de ligne) comme si la communauté n'était pas en elle-même une création permanente et perméable à la fois. Le droit à prendre pour chacun de briser les impasses. Les administrations fermées de remparts s'en foutent de tout ça. Notre tâche commune de repousser les obstacles, c'est imaginer déjà.

À chaque génération, la plus jeune de nos faiseurs a 9 ans, le plus vieux 74, la tâche confiée de reprononcer l'énigme de la communauté comme l'énigme de soi-même et du nous ensemble.


A Few Facts about Farnham Fun Palace (in alphabetical order)

Budget: we had none in 2014 and 2015. We were given £600 by a local grant in 2016. We have been using the money to buy a banner and material for our Makers. We also (and heavily) rely on donations and recycled material.

Facilitator: that would be me. It's about trying to get people and venues involved. I had no experience in the matter prior to making my first Fun Palace. It mostly consists in meeting new people over a drink, telling them about the Fun Palace and hoping they will take part. There is a bit of e-mailing involved too as well as organising meet-ups with our usual suspects.

Maker: anyone who takes part in the Fun Palace really. From the people who do a workshop to the volunteers who help set up the event to whoever shares ideas during the year and help us make a better Fun Palace. All Makers are volunteers – we had a few who managed to get their own funding for the event but our budget does not allow us to pay the people. There are no criteria to be a Maker: all ages, all capacities and all abilities are welcome.

Marketing: the Fun Palaces HQ provides the posters, the museum helps us spread the word among schools, the library does so among their staff and users, the Farnham Herald lend us their window for a free display the week leading to the event and local pubs and shops display our flyers. We also advertise the event in free newspapers and online.

Participant: anyone who visits the Fun Palace. We do not call them visitors because they are more than that: they take part in the workshops, they play with us, sometimes they also teach us a skill or two! Everyone is welcome.

Workshop: a hands-on activity, free and accessible to all. It can last 1 hour, half a day or the whole day. It can be arts, sciences, technologies, crafts, politics, sports, etc…

The making of a Fun Palace is a Fun Palace

Today we're playing with The New Encyclopedia of Origami & Papercraft techniques: https://www.goodreads.com/.../8805790-the-new-encyclopedia-of-origami-and-paper... Three years ago we did an origami workshop for the Fun Palace. Neither Alex nor I knew anything about Origami but it sounded fun. So we learn it from scratch. And in October, after about 7 months of making all sorts of animals, we were still so bad at origami that we renamed the workshop the 'Roadkill Origami Workshop'. And on the Fun Palace day, some visitors took over and taught us how to make proper (i.e recognisable) origami. We ended up turning the back garden of the Museum Gallery into an origami pond, had origami frogs races with the Museum Assistant Curator and one of the participants told us when she came back the following year that after the weekend she had made plenty of origami stars to put in the window of her hair salon.That touched us beyond words. It's all good, isn't it? We learnt something new. We shared it. Some felt welcome to share their own skills. Others went home and kept playing. And we were not even good at it. EVERYONE CAN MAKE A FUN PALACE! Off to do a bit of paper weaving now - looks simpler than origami...We'll post pictures in 6 months.Maybe.

Fun Palaces read: The Amateur by Andy Merrifield and the Fun Palaces Manifesto

Why we make a Fun Palace - take 5!

The answer to that changes every year. Year 1 was about trying something from scratch and having fun. Year 2 was about trying again (all the things we got wrong the first year! Also all the things we learnt the first year!) and having fun. Year 3 was about building on all the beautiful things that happened during year 2 and having fun. Year 4 was about noticing all the changes that had been happening to us as we became Makers. I suspect year 5 and all the years after that are going to be about exploring these changes, learning more about ourselves and about what we are capable of. And having fun.

So here's what making a Fun Palace (and everyday participation in general) has meant for me:

  1. Getting to know my community – feeling more connected and integrated.

  2. Exposing myself to vulnerability. Getting my community to know me, being open about my inexperience and my mistakes. Giving myself permission to play.

  3. Challenging pre/misconceptions (including mine) through sometimes difficult conversations (You're not from here and you consider yourself part of the community? You're not an artist, do you have permission to make a Fun Palace?).

  4. Learning to value my own ideas and not seeking validation from local cultural organisations whose vision can sometimes be unique and petrifying.

  5. Becoming aware of the satisfaction of at least trying.

  6. Doing all the above through creativity and fun, with the space (mental and physical) for trial and mistakes.

  7. Feeling empowered enough to give back: I've started volunteering at our local museum in December. The museum have lent us their gallery every year since then and supported the Fun Palace by offering to help with the marketing among other things. When they posted a call for volunteers on Twitter in December I said yes because I thought my experience as a Maker could benefit them one way or another. I also thought I would get a wealth of knowledge from them. And most of all I said yes as a thank you for allowing the Fun Palace to be.

To me Fun Palaces, and everyday participation, is not a cultural alternative. It is an act of resistance, an orientation that leads everyone of us to take charge of our lives, of who we are and who we are in our community. Without everyday participation we let the system take charge. Everyday participation re-establishes togetherness, social understanding and cooperation. And creativity. And fun.