The Camphill Dublin Culture Center Initiative
Since becoming established in Dublin, Camphill has been endeavoring to make a wide range of cultural and artistic activities available to a broad spectrum of people. This has gone far beyond the people living and working at Greenacres. Indeed, over the last few years, we have found that activities that we have begun at Greenacres have had to move elsewhere or stop altogether because they could no longer be accommodated in our limited social space. In the first place we had imagined building a hall or community social space for our own use. However, when we looked at our broader social agenda to become more active in wider society, we realised that it would be preferable to create a public center for culture and the arts.
The aims of this center would be as follows:
Inclusion: The primary aim would be to actively engage and empower a broad spectrum of people in artistic and cultural activities.
Participation: To seek peoples participation.
Expression: To promote the view that the arts offer people alternative forms of expression.
Employment: As far as possible, the center would be staffed by people with special needs, thereby creating social employment opportunities.
Camphill communities in Ireland and elsewhere have successfully created enterprises and centers that combine these same kind of aims. There are community halls in most Camphill communities and these are often available for use by local groups. Perhaps best known is Castalia Hall in Ballytobin community, Co Kilkenny. This is becoming one of the main performance spaces in that part of Ireland. The nearby KCAT Art and Study center in Callan is an exciting venture in promoting inclusive cultural activities. Also of relevance are the cafes run by various communities. In Thomastown, for instance, The Watergarden is a famous culinary and cultural hotspot and in Kilcullen, Co Kildare, An Tearman is a very successful Camphill-run shop and cafe. Information on all these facilities is available on www.camphill.ie.
The Center - Activities
The photo shows a mock-up of how these activities might be combined in a Center. All ofthese activities have in common an aim to promote participation and inclusion, throughcommunity empowerment. The Culture Center will be a genuine social enterprise,providing work and social activities for people and a 'shopfront' for Camphill in Ireland.
We envisage a number of potential activities happening in the center. These include:
- Arts and crafts workshops: this could include traditional day programmes like we already run, public lessons and the possibility to have an open-access, drop-in, type space.
- Exhibitions: affording the opportunity for people to display their creations.
- Seminars, workshops and talks: expanding the activities that already take place in Greenacres and making the facility available to other groups.
- Movement workshops: such as yoga, creative dance and eurythmy.
- Performance space: for drama and music.
- Cafe/Shop: as a meeting place, an income generator and a source of healthy, organic, local, fairtrade produce.
- Meeting place: for our own use, for Camphill in Ireland and for likeminded groups.
Location an initial step would be to find a suitable premises or piece of land and to convert this or build new to suit our purposes. The location for the center should ideally be within the Stillorgan/Dundrum locality, so that it remains integrated with the lifesharing homes in the same neighbourhood. Funding There is no doubt that a fundraising drive will be needed to bring this vision into reality. However, given the current state of the property market, finding a suitable premises might be as much about imaginative ideas as about purchasing on the open market. Timescale The vision for a Camphill Dublin Culture Center has been growing for many years.
Our proposal is to now launch the planning of how to realise the vision as soon as possible. Once some of the groundwork has been done, it should then become clearer in what period of time and in what phases the Center comes about. Managing the Initiative We propose to create an 'Initiative Group' to oversee all aspects of the project. A number of individuals have been approached and are very receptive to the idea. Some of these people will be asked to be on the Initiative Group, others will be called on for advice and assistance as needed. The next task is for those who commit to being on the Initiative Group to meet and begin detailed planning. It is hoped that this will happen in the next month or so. 2nd March 2010 See photo gallery for images of what the Culture Center might look like!!