One of the designs I did for the International Permaculture Convergence (IPCUK) this year was about creating a Memories Space - a Space which aimed to provide ways that we can remember and honour those that have died within the permaculture community, in a creative and respectful way. The Space was designed to be as accessible to as many people as possible, whatever their age, background, culture, experience of death, or spiritual beliefs. People were encouraged to use art and craft provisions and /or bring photos, poems etc from home to add and connect with the Space. Part of the design also included facilitating a Memories 'Event', one evening at the IPC too. You can read more details about the design in my Diploma portfolio.
I had no idea how either the Space or Event would be used, so was really pleased when at the end of the IPC I discovered lots of different forms of creative expression in the small woodland I chose for the Space, even though the area around it had become a popular area for people to camp, so not so peaceful as I had hoped.(Though maybe those camping nearby had chosen or were inspired by the close proximity to the Space?). As included in my design, as we, the Crew, took the structures of the IPCUK down, I carefully burnt the words and pictures left at the Space, and will be planting an avocado tree this winter, over the ash generated.
About 20 people attended the Memories Event which grew to be a beautiful hour of sharing stories, poetry, experiences, gratitude, tears ...and lighting lanterns in the memory of people who had inspired our permaculture work.
The informal feedback given to me by those who had connected with either element of the design was really positive. People expressed they had found it very useful in their grief journey, particularly as attending an emotive and in-depth gathering such as the IPCUK is very likely to be a time where those who have died are very much in our minds. And certainly this mirrored my experience of being able to participate, (as well as facilitate) in the 2 elements
Based on my observations of the design throughout the IPCUK, combined with the positive feedback I think adaptations based on the Memories Space design could be easily facilitated at future permaculture (or other) events.
People reading this post may also be interested in another design within my Diploma portfolio, Designing Dying
The following are some of my favourite resources relating to death, dying and grief
regular updates and reflections about the permaculture designs in my life