During the festival, one of our goals was to design the Openvillage roadmap. Maybe you did not realise, but for three days we lived in openvillage. In a series of posts, I will present the fundamentals of Openvillage, in terms of lessons I learned from this wonderful experience.
Lesson I : The Feeling of Belonging to a Community
From virtual exchanges to physical presence, some core values have been set up during our various interactions; allowing everyone to feel as a family regardless of its particularity. Thus, on the basis of transparency, inclusiveness and devotion to the community, we co-construct our sense of belonging to the Edgeryders community.
Before the festival, as an external observer, the first trace of transparency that I noticed in Edgeryders community was his discussion forum. This one is open to everyone, without barriers and all topics are debated in public. The summit of this transparency was manifested in the documentation of the festival. Thanks to the USB keys on the table, each participant had access to all the documents of the festival and had the opportunity to intervene in the Google doc. This opportunity to participate and give your opinion like ancient members, facilitates integration and allows everybody to feel a full member of the Edgeryders community.
In terms of inclusion, the festival has been successful; starting with the different spaces chosen for the meetings (La serre & Quai du Hainaut). Whoever we are, no matter where we come from, these spaces were open to all cultures and everyone recognised himself in these places. Human interactions were very warm, never saw an isolated participant unless it was voluntary. We also note the efforts that have been made to avoid the exclusion due to language. Thus, the participants repeated their sentences each time they were not understood, they spoke softly to allow non-English speakers to better understand them, and we even had translation from English to French during the festival. I cannot avoid mentioning the Code of Conduct, Consensus (on Diet, Dish washing, toilets...)which ensure a mutual respect among all participants.
- Devotion to the community
The fact that there was no designated a specific officer at the festival, allowed everyone to be involved in different activities. From the first day, everyone has found a way to make themselves useful, either by arranging the room, by welcoming the newcomers, or by cooking for the others (special mention). This is a proof of humility and guarantee of equality between the different participants.
- Generosity (by @alberto)
Being immersed in a generous community feels great. But we have an ulterior motive for pushing this ethic: a group that practices generosity is better at collaborating, because people relax and do not have to spend time and energy watching their backs, making sure that they do not get exploited etc. This way, people can focus on doing real work. A group that works like that is more efficient. We need that, because we do not have the traditional attributes of efficiency (scale, scientific management etc.).
On the other hand, generosity and collaboration are super easy to break down. As @johncoate said during his presentation "there is no community if the toilets don't flush". This means that all of us have to stay close to practical work (cooking, cleaning, taking notes...), and celebrate it.
It emerges from this beautiful experience that the feeling of belonging is the first care that can be given to the individual. Feeling surrounded, understood and considered is the basis of a sincere and strong commitment within the community. This is the first foundation of openvillage. However, given the current ill of our society, we would be tempted to say that it is almost impossible to recover and find this kind of feeling. But no, the festival has given us another very big lesson that will be the subject of my next post entitled: Resilience: tribute to Zyara.
In the meantime, I invite you to improve this text on the way you lived and perceived your belonging to the group Edgeryders..