Playground for Peace
Recently , over coffee in a lovely little arts cafe in Arambol I met with a Swedish woman, a singer song writer, architect, and social tinkerer by the name of Anna-Irene. Her project is called ‘Playground for Peace’ and has its home in a beautifully renovated three story barnyard between the oak forest of Carleberg (Gaard) and the town of Riga in Finland.
During our chat we spoke about the potentials of new forms of social organization and Anna stormed ahead with a full description of a project which she has been actively working with for the past few years called ‘Playground for Peace’. Her premise is that we have tuned our tools of social organization toward the competitive and thus towad the destructive. She offered that there was as much evidence to pove this as more than an assumption in todays state of affairs in the EU and beyond. Rather than base ourselves in competition and the destructive aspects that comprise the characteristic impulses of ‘war’, as we do in society at large today, Anna wants to see spaces that operate as “hubs for the transformation movement” and with the ‘Playground for Peace’ she wants to create the first of many spaces that provide place for marginalised youth learning to live in both the local and global realities. Much like the WOOFers (willing workers on organic farms), she envisages ‘Willing Players for Peace’ who contribute to “holding global space for local youth development”.
The ‘Playground for Peace’ is quite like the unmonastery in that it is not a fixed-location project. Anna wants her pioneering project to be the first among many and wants to use her initial idyllic location to serve as a home from which further projects can be seeded through template design and fundraising projects based there. The location at the Carleberg forest is perfectly situated being between the town of Riga and the oak forest of Carleberg. It is 5 minutes by car to the airport and it just so happens that the buiding is on the path for the weekend walkers of the town who enjoy relaxation in the forest.
The barn is an old three story classically nordic design…you know, the ones with the ramp for tractors to access the second storey. Anna really surprised me when she broke out her laptop with the full architectural plans for ths place and told me about her work as a professional architect. The building is truly amazing, and her friend Saulus does a lot of the work there. Saulus is a carpenter and machinist by trade “and a good one!” and has his workshop in a room on the bottom floor of the barn. When Anna-Irene lives there she helps with the structural upkeep of the building and runs a cafe and ‘safe-space’ between the milk parlour and the beehive in the wall on the corner, which she aptly names ‘the land of milk and honey’. The weekend walkers often come and sit, enjoy coffee and cake, connect, read, and share experiences there.
Also in ‘the barn’ there is a craft studio and small exhibition space run by local artisans, while outside to the front of the barn there is a large green area, “enough space to run a small-medium sized festival” as Anna told me…which got me thinking of course! The barn itself belongs to land that also has on it a large area of the forest with the remains of an old cloister from a Johannite monk order, and of course I was thus thinking the whole time about this as a perfect fit for the UnMonastery.
There is a legal difficulty though, and this is one which could be to the advantage of the unMonastery’s involvement. It seems that the land was sold by an old lawyer to a farmer and that the terms of the sale are in dispute. I cannot remember the exact details of this problem, but I do remember that it is almost scary how it fits the nature of the transition in general with the old lawyer using legal blocks to any productive work being done and the farmer unable to utlize the land properly or make the changes he needs to make to create a productive situation. At the time I remember thinking that this is the key that the Edgeryders can turn to make this situation work. Alas we will have to wait for Anna-Irene to remind us of the details.
In front of me I have a hand drawn map of the space and a key as to what goes where inside, but it is in my shabby writing and in pink and bue ink and so I will instead invite Anna to post some details about the site and suggestions for the road ahead below.
For now I can offer that there is space here for a lot of good work in a beautiful and friendly environment. Anna has suggested that a good time for activities in this space woud be in season, that is July-August, and that she would like help in the ceation of a manifesto, a manual, and a manuscript for the values, guidelines and vision of this ‘Playground for Peace’. Do you have ideas, are you excited about helping this project get moving?
If so contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
(:and remind her to join edgeryders when her fingers are free of the strings she plays so well:)