Back in June this year we were invited to take part in the Farnham Sustainability Festival. The event celebrates efforts to sustain a healthy planet, communities and wellbeing through a series of free talks and workshops. We held a junk modelling workshop and we were delighted to see adults play as well as kids. There were loads of community groups there including some who have taken part in the Fun Palace over the years: Farnham Community Farm, Transition Town Farnham, Farnham Repair Cafe. Right next to us was the XR Farnham Art Group.
"Together we can find a messy, vibrant and imaginative response to the state we are in."
Chatting with them we realised that the Farnham XR Art Group is made of individuals also involved in a lot of other community groups and artists, including Fun Palace Makers. Everything is joined. Community is about people who know people who know people, about neighbours talking and working together. So it came very naturally that the XR Farnham Art Group agreed to take part in this year’s Fun Palace. Because of the connections obviously. But also because this web of neighbours and colleagues and friends has created a culture of support, care and encouragement that is at the very core of the Fun Palaces campaign.
Like the Fun Palaces campaign, the Farnham XR Art Group encourages collaborative making practices by hosting among other things screen-printing workshops to encourage learning through hands-on workshops. The Farnham XR Art Group and the Fun Palace weave together stories that are political, personal and creative. Both campaigns acknowledge that we're all part of the problem and part of the solution too and together we can find a messy, vibrant and imaginative response to the state we are in.
"What matters is to keep the dialogue going and the doors open."
The question Farnham XR Art Group and Farnham Fun Palace will ask this October is: how do we minimize waste and how do we consider the environmental impact of our making? The Farnham Fun Palace has always relied on recycled, repurposed and donated material. But there is so much we can do better.
What is necessary to remember is that as a creative community we can help. We have the resources to communicate issues to participants and we have the skills, knowingly or not, to enact change. And we welcome conversation. We do not expect everyone to agree with what the Fun Palaces or XR campaigns stand up for, what matters is to keep the dialogue going and the doors open.