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Life Itself April Update

Hello to all! 

As May floats gently along and the days are longer and brighter, there is plenty more news to report to you. We have been busy behind the scenes at Life Itself, as well making more frequent public appearances on podcasts and seminar discussions. 

Life Itself co-founder, Sylvie Barbier has been discussing her ideas on the Joe Lightfoot Podcast. She had a thoughtful discussion regarding learning to grow beyond motherhood, and spoke about Life Itself as an organisation more broadly.

On May 5th, Sylvie appeared as part of a Wise Societies talk, hosted by Demos Helsinki. The inimitable Geoff Mulgan presented his recent paper on new ways to think about Wisdom, and Sylvie took part in the discussion. She highlighted the importance of sitting with the trouble, and it was great to see her help spread the ideas of Life Itself to a wider audience. 

One of the big projects for Life Itself is the ongoing renovation of our site at Petit-Bois Martin in Bergerac, France. We aim to turn it into Life Itself’s main base in the future. James is doing a brilliant job taking charge of the development, and brings his assurance that great progress is being made.

Work commenced on April 6th, with a team of four: Laurent (stonemason), Yannick (carpenter / electrician / plumber), Sam and Francesco (labour). In the last month, they have stripped back the interior to what the original farmhouse looked like when it was built. All false ceilings are gone, as are all dividing walls, and every original doorway has been opened up. They are now in the process of ‘raking out’, making the property ready to put fresh mortar in. After another week of work, we’ll be ready to start construction. 

The eventual aim is to split the property into 3 apartments over 2 floors. The idea is that those units will be able to be reconfigured into different sizes and spaces. Hopefully, by the end of 2021, the main kitchen/diner and bathrooms will be installed, so the site will be habitable by Autumn. So we are edging ever closer to the base site for the future Life Itself vision!

Rufus Pollock, Life Itself co-founder, has been talking regularly with Geoff Mulgan  around the topic of wisdom. Rufus summarised their thinking so far, and what they would like to do next, as ‘Bridging the Wisdom Gap’ which you can read in full via the link. It gives a great insight into the sorts of thinking we are trying to achieve and work on here at Life Itself.

In other news, we are embarking on Round 2 of our project to ‘Map the Space’ that Life Itself exists within. In essence, we want to know who is out there working in similar areas to us, and we want to grow our community and make connections with them. We are keen to speak to new people, so please do get in touch if you think we could collaborate or generally share ideas! Contact us at [email protected]

At the start of the year, we had two wonderful volunteers stay with us – Joe and Charlotte. They immersed themselves enthusiastically in our way of life here, and we formed relationships that will stick with us for a long time. Upon leaving, Joe wrote an incisive essay answering the question, ‘What role did views play in the abolition of slavery?’ His essay looks at the interaction of culture and structure, which is a deep interest of ours at Life Itself. You can read it in full here, on our Community Projects page: https://lifeitself.us/community-projects/ . This Community Projects page will point you towards the many projects embarked on by our Life Itself network. 

That’s all from us this month – we will keep you posted on all future developments. There is much more exciting news to bring you soon. 

Life Itself