Sympoiesis Residencies: Being at home in troubled times


Life Itself is gathering groups and communities interested in radically committing, together, to be in kinship with our troubled world. We will respond to chaos together, with artistic and spiritual practice that includes deep attention to humble activities like breathing, cleaning and food. 

Under the banner of Sympoiesis, we are running a series of residencies that are a spiritual cooking-together of various ingredients: people, practices, workshops, art, community life and actual cooking. The ingredients are drawn by the opening of a space, a vacuum to be filled by people and practices too spiritual for politics, too “political” for the monasteries. The idea that life can be divorced from spirit is at the heart of our trouble. Let’s sit with this great trouble without giving into the narrowing impulse to “save the world.”

Each residency is a month long, the first starting in mid October 2021. Residencies combine both an activating frame of collective practices with the space for you to continue your daily work – a key aspect is learning how we can integrate community and practice, collective and private, absolute and relative in our daily life.

Key Information

  • What? Experiential collective residencies.These are an opportunity to explore the practices and social technologies we need to transform our reactivity and learn to work and live together.
  • How? Residencies combine both an activating frame of collective practices with the space for you to continue your daily work – a key aspect is learning how we can integrate community and practice with our daily life. Each residency is oriented around a key theme or question. See below for the detail of each residency.
  • Where? The Life Itself Praxis Hub, Bergerac, France (10km from Plum Village)
  • When? October 2021 to June 2022 
  • Who (is coming and can come)? We are open to all who wish to engage: system-thinkers, spiritual ecologists, bodhisattvas, change makers, symbiotic entrepreneurs, poets, painters, ecodharmists, people ready to just be with what comes, good and bad. 
  • How can I participate? Please apply online using the form below.
  • How much does it cost? Approx €350-550 per month / per person for room plus €210 for food (€7/day). Couples can share rooms at a substantially reduced rate. Financial assistance may be available.
  • More questions? See the FAQs below.


Communities interested to gather in the Bergerac Praxis Hub  are invited to contact us for the rest of the schedule. 

  • Sympoiesis #1: Daily Collective Practices 15 Oct – 14 Nov
  • Sympoiesis #2: Contemplative Activism. 15 Nov – 15 Dec 
  • Sympoiesis #3: Patterning Conscious Community 7 Jan – 5 Feb
  • Sympoiesis #4: Collective Intelligence 15 Feb – 15 Mar 
  • Sympoiesis #5: Making Eco-Spirituality Accessible Final Dates Coming Soon  
  • Sympoiesis #6: Conscious Food Final Dates Coming Soon     
  • Sympoiesis #7: Open for curation 15 May – 15 June 

Sympoiesis #1: Daily Collective Practices 15 Oct – 14 Nov

Sympoiesis #2: Contemplative Activism- writing residency- 15 Nov – 15 Dec

  • Question: what contemplation could bring to the current complexity of our time? 
  • Curation community: Contemplative Activism subgroup of Life Itself 
  • Guardians of the practice: Liam Kavanagh and Naresh Grandjiande 
  • Language: English 
  • Participation: Open application
  • More info about this residency: Sympoiesis #2: Contemplative activism – writing Residency

Sympoiesis #3: Patterning Conscious Community 4 Jan 2022 – 4 Feb 2022

  • Question: What are the patterns and practices to cultivate conscious community?
  • Curation community: Cultural Catalyst Network + Life Itself
  • Facilitators: Karl Steyaert & Rufus Pollock
  • Language: English
  • Participation: Open application
  • More info about this residency: Cultivating Conscious Community Residency – Jan 2022

Sympoiesis #4: Collective Intelligence 15 Feb – 14 Mar

  • Question: What tools can collective intelligence offer to support the societal paradigm shift? 
  • Curation community: MIC (house of collective intelligence) 
  • Guardians of the practice: MIC co-op (members of the co-op) 
  • Language: French
  • Participation: Open application during workshops only

Sympoiesis #5: Making Eco-Spirituality Accessible 2022 – Final Dates Coming Soon

Apply Now

Sympoieisis*, “making together”. 

This concept, proposed by Donna Haraway, seemed appropriate at a time when, despite our best intentions, any attempt to do things together often leads to conflict. Whether in our personal relationships, our workplaces or in the most beautiful intentional community projects, violence, injustice and power dynamics inevitably come to the fore. 

Stuck in our perceptions, we are often the victim of the one we oppress, unable to get out of our crossed projections. 

So the question is how to deal with this dynamic which is part of our collective trauma and which is rooted in a culture of polarisation of which we are only the mirror? How do we get out of the paradigm of good and evil, of failure and success in order to stop feeding the injustice, violence and oppression in this world?

Rather than hope for a different future we start adapting deeply now, remaking the future sympoietically. We are being-with what is coming.,We create a frame of togetherness to adjust to the trouble.

 *A term that Donna Harraway developed in her book Staying with the Trouble which means: “interfacing between different viewpoints (and in fact disciplines of science) to establish a principle of collaboration (synergy) by which the expertise of either standpoint can be combined, and enhanced, to bring out new understanding.”

Why Sympoiesis residencies

We know that many of us are interested in the transition, the state of the world. In our own ways, each of us is sensitive to it and wants to contribute to it.

However, we see that whatever good intentions, either in our personal, work or community life our automatic mechanisms seem to bring us back to suffering, injustice and oppression.

It is becoming clear that we need collective bodies (communities, sangha etc) to transform those mechanisms through collective practices and new social technologies.

Life Itself is organizing a series of experiential (and experimental) collective residencies under the title of Sympoiesis where we can explore what practices and social technologies we need to transform our mechanisms and heal together.

Each residency will run for a month with the first starting in mid October 2021. Residencies combine both an activating frame of collective practices with the space for you to continue your daily work.

About Life Itself

Life Itself is a multidisciplinary network of pragmatic utopians. We are committed to practical action for a radically wiser, weller world. We create hubs, start businesses, do research and engage in activism to pioneer a wiser culture.

We are especially interested in investigating what is community today, creating centres of communal living, offering residencies and engaging in contemplative activism. We have hubs in Berlin, Bergerac and London. In the pipeline is the creation of a cooperative real estate investment fund (forecast 2022) and the renovation of a residential complex a few minutes from Plum Village the largest zen monastery in Europe.

About the Praxis Hub

The Bergerac Praxis Hub of Life itself is a new center devoted to the development and deepening of practices for psycho-spiritual response to our cultural situation: 

Emphasis will be put on those that embrace the difficult task of transforming our habitual ways of being and thinking, not by arguing with each other but engaging with ourselves and our conditioning, playfully, critically, experimentally. We can create new being together. We might call it a space for spiritual practices with political implications.  

The Hub is a residence at the service of change agents. A laboratory to test and develop collective practices that can support our capacity to be together in this time of complexity, both individually and collectively.

The Hub is an experiential place that seeks to highlight the activation process resulting from community. A proposal that aims to bring out another way of thinking and living in the world by questioning the relationship between the intimate and the collective along the question of identity.

Each month a group of residents will be invited to explore a question and will be asked to produce a text in order to share the fruit of their experience (open source). Each group will be able to draw on the research of the previous group to weave a collective tapestry in the realm of contemplative and social technologies.



Image Credits: Christelle Enault