Contemplative Activism Hubs

Our hub in Bergerac: a practice in the art of dwelling

“One of the basic human requirements is the need to dwell, and one of the central human acts is the act of inhabiting, of connecting ourselves, however temporarily, with a place on the planet which belongs to us and to which we belong.”

Charles Moore for Junichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows

In the recent weeks we have began the process of creating a new hub, a new place of dwelling. A place to practice the daily art of dwelling. The art of mindful dwelling. A place not to simply exist in but to exist simply in. A place where we can celebrate and take joy in what is regularly considered mundane by turning daily routines into an artful practice.

Mme Girol has lived, raised her children and grandchildren in this place, she now passes it on.

An ancient disused farm has been chosen. For we believe that the hand of time is at the centre of a space in which life can be lived beautifully. Generations have been adding and taking away, they have built structures that provided basic protection from the elements, they built them using materials that could be found on the neighbouring lands. They repaired them by hand, they stacked stones by hand. Each and every piece bears the marks of human hands. When we return to these spaces and repurpose them for a different kind of dwelling we are reminded everyday of the people that have contributed to the feeling of the space. As John Ruskin so beautifully once said:

When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for.

Not only do we give thanks to those whom have laboured to create these spaces we will endeavour to carry this concept forward as we design interventions in this historical space. Ensuring every decision is made with the future inhabitants in mind.

Hand prints can be seen in the wattle and daub from generations past.

Let us take the human hand as the starting point for how to build a community rooted in nature, beauty and time. We ask what if the hands of the inhabitants continue the story of these spaces? Continue to add and take away in the same fashion that has gone before, but with a slightly different objective. The creation of spaces that teach us to dwell in harmony with the earth, spaces that will guide us to inspiring thoughts and ideas, ideas that will empower a community of the future. What does building a space mean to you? Could being surrounded by considered objects help make tasks or daily life a celebration? Could knowing that your own labour created the space you dwell in delight and inspire? This is only the beginning of this conversation.

Poppy from