Over the summer, 300 years or so ago, I had the privilege to contribute to CIVIC SQUARE Re_ Festival. I have since spent much of the summer working alongside and towards a vision I set out in the festival, building spaces where we hold grief collectively and in our everyday lives. Read on to hear more about CIVIC SQUARE and Re_ festival, the Department of Dreams, the Dream Fund, and the Re_ Collective.
CIVIC SQUARE kicked off the Department of Dreams with an epic online festival, Re_ Festival; reimagining, reorganising, retreating, resisting, reframing, resting, recovering, remembering, restoring, recognising, reflecting. The festival marked a moment of coming together, dreaming together, and beginning to navigate towards a time of recovery after the initial emergency COVID-19 responses.
Working with visionary doers, thinkers, artists and designers, the purpose of the Department is to forge bold new regenerative futures that weave together the dreams of many.CIVIC SQUARE – The Department of Dreams
Re_ festival spanned 6 days, with 106 speakers, and over 2,000 in the audience, bringing together artists, thinkers, writers, designers, dreamers, doers, to dream together. You can catch most of the festival through Re_play. I will revisit some of the talks in the coming weeks, and share some of them here.
Tumbling on from Re_ festival, CIVIC SQUARE and the Department of Dreams launched the Dream Fund to resource bold, creative and regenerative dreams surfacing in our multiple communities.
As part of Re_ festival, I held a collective space to remember our missing people, restore embers of hope, recognise grief, and reflect on a wider dream together.
Weaving Threads of Grief; A space to hold, pull apart, mend, trim, observe, feel, stitch and weave threads of grief and legacy into our everyday.Re_ Festival Session
The dreamscape that I offered to the festival, and that I embody in my work, is a vision of a world where we walk alongside the legacy of our missing, where we hold grief collectively, where we weave and craft with threads of grief openly, frequently, and with love.
Following on from this session, and collective dream, I have been awarded a commission from the first round of the Dream Fund. The resource will provide some time for me to sit alongside members of the CIVIC SQUARE neighbourhood and the Front Room, geographically located near B16 or neighbours from further afield, and weave their threads of grief. Part of building a dreamscape that holds grief collectively, is holding grief together at our neighbourhood levels.
I am inviting up to four neighbours of the Front Room to join me for a 1-1 hot drink, and a long chat, digitally or at a physical distance.
Practically, this means having a conversation with me about a grief you would like to explore, which we will audio record. After our chat, or chats, I will work with you to create piece of art to capture your threads of grief, the legacy of your person, or whatever else that might look like for you.
Re_ Collective Cohort
This dreamscape of holding grief is not simply a case of talking, being open about grief, awareness raising, creating spaces, and other valid but singular endeavours. Crafting this space is deeply rooted in resistance, in removing systems of oppression, resourcing communities and care, and rebuilding collectively, with all the complexities and pluralities we carry and exist within.
In developing this work, I have been invited to be part of the RE_ Collective, held within CIVIC SQUARE in partnership with UnLtd. The Re_Collective have convened a cohort of pioneering leaders who are exploring, building and fighting for a just recovery alongside their communities. When I say it is a privilege to be a part of this group of truly legendary leaders, I really couldn’t be exaggerating. I will share more from the group as we move through the year together.