Nature and Culture to Revitalize an Island – International Workshop

From October 8-9, the REALtimeFOOD project welcomed a group of creative thinkers and doers from Hong Kong, Thailand, Saudi Arabia,  France, United States, Korea, and Japan to stay in Megijima, Japan for a workshop aimed at generating ideas for socially and ecologically beneficial economic activity on this small island with a dwindling and elderly population.

Together the group undertook an in-depth social and ecological field study of the island in the spirit of Patrick Geddes’ valley section, meeting with locals to hear stories spanning the ecological cycle from sea to field to forest, and experiencing the natural environment in a way that informed their creative practice throughout the weekend.

After the field studies, the rest of the time was dedicated to ideas and actions. Participants worked in small groups, each tasked with creating a locally-relevant product that can be 1) produced completely with sustainable resources from the island, and 2) made simply enough so that the senior residents can participate in the production process.

Workshop participants remarked that the experience provided them “a time and space to feel and develop my creative ideas towards a good aim” and “an experience that showed me how much depth and uniqueness each island and each community has” and “a new appreciation for producers of food and fishermen [who were] far more delicate and aware of the environment than I knew”.

The weekend ended with physical prototypes, ranging from natural musical instruments that exhibit the sound of the island, to locally-sourced branding kits for local farmers complete with wood block stamps and ink made from wild plants.

The products produced in this workshop will be developed further with the community in Megijima as ways to help generate socially and ecologically beneficial economic activity for the community of this small island.

This workshop is a project of SocieCity and Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness, and was conceived and run collectively by artists Patrick Lydon and Suhee Kang, and project producer Kaori Tsuji.

Participants:

Dahoom W Abood (Saudi Arabia)
David Billa (France)
Dorothy Cheung (Hong Kong)
Yasutaka Kaneda (Japan)
Pattarapol Leemeechoke (Thailand)
Kimiko and Ayaka Suetake (Japan)
Chisa Yomo (Japan)

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