Woods for The City is a public event that helps to collectively explore solutions to the community’s selected challenges by engaging the power of trans-disciplinary creative inquiry with local agents and guest contributors. The event caters for offering its participants personal engagement and synergetic effects by relying on processes of open space, artistic inquiry, direct interaction and embodied practices.
Its aim is to be a catalyst to inspire living connections across and beyond disciplines and diverse local social groups, to explore shared concerns and questions of how we want to live and create sustainable future. Such exploration happens beyond “just talking” about things, but as a direct experience, intellectual, emotional, sensory and bodily engagement. Such engagement fosters personal understanding that no amount of words and symbols can do with same depth and meaning.
Its format is a mix of elements of an (un)conference, an engaged artistic experience, and a collective creation - all around the subject chosen by the City and its stakeholders. Our work as Foresta Collective is to design this high-impact experience tailored to the specifics of the City’s challenge, and engaging the local resources.
Main principles and Key elements
Participants are invited into a journey, to move between different “stations” throughout the site, to experience the space in a new way, to engage with the landscape, architecture and artworks, to spend time alone as well as in direct interactions and exchange with each other and event contributors.
One of the “stations” of the parkour offers a space for people to meet around important topics, like people normally do in a context of a conference or a symposium. We use the format of an unconference to ensure that participants can cocreate the content and direction of the discussion, rather than follow a predefined agenda.
Collaborative Creativity and Arts
Art is multi-faceted. Contributors from various artistic fields support a more profound personal engagement of the participants, and help experience things on different levels, through different ways of knowing. Arts also relates to raising of inner creative powers, an active position in life, expressed through creation of objects, ideas or experiences that have depth and impact lives. For the whole story of our vision of art please click here.
Woods in the City events take place in locations where nature and culture can meet. Nature gives a context for serenity, focus and inspiration. Some of the wisest and most sustainable ways for tackling challenges of modern life can be developed based on or in connection with nature's holistic ways of being. We believe that for many of our endeavours, be it trying to design a smarter city, a more sustainable and inclusive neighbourhood or more humane business models, inspiration and advice can come from nature.
Woods in the City, like all our projects, are rooted in embodied culture, helping participants to engage with subjects more personally and holistically. Embodiment is not just moving instead of sitting, but practicing a higher level of attention to notice how a subject resonates as a whole body experience. Direct experience of any kind, sensory and bodily engagement fosters personal understanding that no amount of words and symbols can do with same depth and meaning. To continue reading our story on embodied culture please click here.
Food, the way we relate to it, the way we grow it, all the processes around food are at the core of our understanding of multi-layered sustainability. Food is a conversation - between people and nature, seasons and landscape. It is a tribute to the passing of time and shifting cycles, to attention and listening, to regeneration and care. Food is a relationship - between arts, crafts and technology, that meet in crockery, cutlery, and all the tools we use when planting, harvesting, eating and interacting with food. Food is human connection - between those who grow and those who receive, between societies economically and culturally, between generations spoken through stories and ancestral recipes. It’s a connection between those eating together, and a connection to ourselves, to our own senses, and embodied experiences. Food and connections around it is a vital part of the experience.
The event supports the city administration and the community in achieving the following:
Sharpen the awareness of community members around a specific subject of importance
There are many topics that challenge communities today locally and globally, such as social separation, immigration, gentrification, well-being, domestic violence etc. Bringing a complex topic to the surface in order to broaden and deepen its understanding can facilitate finding solutions that may be supported or even generated from different parts of the community, and avoid radicalisation and controversies based on narrowed thinking and shallow understanding.
Provide further opportunities for local cultural agents
Art and culture is one of the central pieces in the overall Woods design. This event will help create additional opportunities for more local cultural agents to engage in a creative process that is furthermore solicited by the City to help address an important subject. The event would look to engage art students as well as established artists and art collectives.
Create space for collaboration across different domains
Away from siloed exchange that happens in most professional conferences, Woods caters for creating a space where various fields of activities and domains can come to collaborate on offering perspectives to the same complex subjects. This collaboration can ignite further cross-pollination and trigger innovation and change across education, business, cultural institutions and politics, as well as across representatives of different local social groups and associations.
The event strives to create a space where values can be shared, embodied and embedded, through carefully designed experiences that invite people into a deeper understanding and provide a fertile soil for embodying values such as integrity, attention, holistic thinking, ecological citizenship, diversity, balance, dialogue, and others that contribute to shaping sustainability mindset with respect to individual, relational, and global aspects.
Who is it for?
Through the diversified nature of the event (art, culture, business, social and education working together around a selected subject) and the engaging and inclusive format that it offers, Woods can be an inspiring and rewarding experience for a variety of population, different ages and social groups. We however believe that Woods may primarily attract people that share the following characteristics
Open and curious
Active and ready to share own perspectives
Affinity to being exposed to artistic input
How could it happen?
To describe very shortly the steps towards realisation of such an event, it begins with us meeting with representatives of city administration, cultural, social and business stakeholders. In a workshop format facilitated by us, we decide on the topic of the future event, and the key contributors from the local community that could be engaged.
At the next stage we (Foresta Collective) design the concept of the event, working together with the selected contributors from the community. The concept is presented to the event stakeholders and when approved, a date and location is found. The final budget is approved.
We stage and rehearse the event’s particulars, while communication activities run to attract the audience.
The event takes place on one or several dates, depending on agreed impact scope, design and vision.
If this concept resonates with your City’s needs and you would like to discuss it further, we suggest an online or a personal meeting where we could answer your questions and discuss the next steps. In preparation to this meeting, you may think of the following questions:
What topics in your community would you want to consider for Woods event?
Who are the active stakeholders in your community (from culture, business, education, politics…) whose contribution in such an event may generate the highest impact for the event’s goals?
Which groups in your community are rather isolated and would benefit from collaborating on such a project together?
We’ll be glad to cocreate a Woods for your City!