In March 2020 we were all sent home and we discovered we could meet using video conferencing instead. Suddenly our wide-angled world was sliced to a quarter of its width. Our body language receptors had to cope with just head and shoulders rendered in a tiny square. And our brains had to work much harder to make sense of this reduced world view.
Just because we have lost something doesn’t mean we have to replace it anew. Just because we can substitute IRL for Zoom doesn’t mean we always should.
Tabitha Pope is an architect and lecturer, with a specialism temporary structures and participatory architecture and a passion for work that sits at the boundary of art and architecture. In this episode, produced in support of International Women’s Day, my colleague Lucy Barber interview Tabitha about:
What is participatory design and what benefits does it offer us in the climate emergency.
Challenging power in order to make architecture a more inclusive space for all under-represented groups, not just women.
How her practice of carpentry allows her to intervene in the design process in a different way.
Establishing a nature connection to help designers and citizens alike tackle the biodiversity crisis.
Stepping into a space of vulnerability in design in order to do things differently.
Creating spaces for joy and encounter to tackle loneliness and build resilience in communities.
Last weekend 38 people came down to Hazel Hill for our annual Autumn Conservation weekend for two days of woodland conservation and human restoration. We design the weekend to be a mixture of invigorating outdoor conservation work and relaxation in the woods, with a dose of entertainment thrown in too.
Building on what we learnt from last year, we began the conservation work on the Saturday with a series of activities that would make an immediate and visible difference in the woods. An on-going conservation priority at Hazel Hill is the creation of butterfly rides, which serve two purposes. The first is to create the sort of wide path through the woods that enable the many rare species of butterflies that inhabit the surrounding fields to pass freely through the foerst. The second is to allow light in to the lower levels of the wood in order to increase the biodiversity.
This year we began our work by significantly widening the ride that runs from the forest ark to the southern cross, which had become significantly encroached upon by regenerating hornbeam. In the process we uncovered and liberated around twenty-five broadleaf trees in tubes that had previously been planted and which were being smothered by the hornbeam. I remember planting some of these trees myself on my first conservation weekend six years ago, and so I am pleased to see them being rescued. Any of this weekend’s participants returning to this spot in the wood in ten years time are now much more likely to find ash, oak and hazel trees maturing, thanks largely to their work this weekend.