We’re very clear that a Fun Palace is not (or shouldn’t be!) yet another Open Day or fete. It’s about a lot more than simply sharing what your venue or organisation or community does – it’s about genuinely opening the doors, truly handing over space, making it possible for all members of a community to not only take part in cultural activities, but to create them, to curate them, to LEAD.
We also realise this is a big ask. It’s scary to truly hand over a space to a community group (or a bunch of them!), it’s unnerving to bring together people who may not have worked together before or not even met until the day of your Fun Palace, it’s daunting to not only say that everyone has the right to create in community, but to take the steps to make it happen. But this is where change happens, where cultural democracy is possible, where a truly equal society MIGHT begin. And it’s these beginnings that lead on to new work, new growth, to local change and possibility, from a Fun Palace.
Both Farnham Fun Palace (with us since the start in 2014) and Boundary Estate Fun Palace (2016 and 2017 Makers) have set up ongoing events born of their annual Fun Palace, events that are of and for their own community. We love this and would welcome more stories of what else your Fun Palace has enabled you to create.
from Carine at Farnham Fun Palace:
The Parliament was an invitation to anyone and everyone who was at the Fun Palace to talk about what we would like politics to be like and what we can do about it on a local, small yet vital level. We all took a pledge to go beyond our words and the first initiative was the Demo Café: some of us got more concerned with local politics, attending council meetings for example. Others discovered the existence of community initiatives like the Eco-cinema where people bring food to share and watch short films with a green theme, or Transition Town Farnham, or Farnham Local Food (community supported agriculture).
The change initiated during the Fun Palace is very slow but ‘sustainable’ as they say. Because it involves people whose opinion is not usually sought and once we realise we have the right to speak out and the capacity to change things (again on a small but vital level), well good luck trying to take that back from us! I hope we have a second Fun Palace Parliament this October so we can build on the progress made and hopefully get more people involved, and not just for the Fun Palaces weekend.
from Philip at Boundary Estate Fun Palace:
Beyond the Boundary is a result of the 2017 Boundary Estate Fun Palace where Aditya Chakrabortty of the Guardian hosted a well attended debate on social housing, enjoyed by all. From that we realised that with friendly discussion and debate we might understand each other a little better, discover new thoughts and ideas and look at things a little differently and wanted to organise regular events on the Boundary Estate where we could do this. After some thoughts and planning we came up with the idea of a series of talks, debates and screenings to raise funds for St. Hilda’s East’s community projects. For all events registration will be free, but those who are able to can make donations at the door to raise funds for St. Hilda’s.
Each series will focus on different subjects of concern to local residents and those who live beyond the Boundary Estate, and we are really pleased that we have a range of incredible people for our inaugural series “The Way We Live Now”. If this series is a success we’re hoping to organise another in the run up to our 2018 Boundary Estate Fun Palace, on the small theme of equality in arts, sciences and sport…
Our May line-up is:
9 May – Aditya Chakrabortty, Senior Economics Commentator of the Guardian of in conversation about austerity, community and gentrification with long-time Boundary resident Philip Green.
16 May – Dr. Lisa McKenzie, academic at the LSE, author and campaigner, will talk on class inequality, social justice and British working class culture.
23 May – ‘Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle’, a documentary about people who know housing is not an expensive luxury but a fundamental human right. Followed by Q&A with director Paul Sng.
30 May – Alison Inman, social housing and women’s rights activist, co-founder of SHOUT – Social Housing Under Threat, and current president of the Chartered Institute of Housing will talk on the impact of housing policy on women through her experience of working in and campaigning for social housing and housing justice.