During their time together, 25 people united to look at how queer experience - the skills, resilience and history of community activism - could inform new means of community and climate action.
Through the week, the participants took part in facilitation sessions hosted by Connect the Dots and the Homeworks team where the group looked at their skills and strengths, and also at the barriers they faced in taking climate action. They also took part in practical sessions where the participants developed new skills that could empower them to take climate action.
They spent the week learning carpentry and plumbing skills in the Common Knowledge workshops with instructors Elaine McFerran, Steve Finnerty and Denise Conroy, and took part in an energy audit workshop with Harrison Gardner where they learnt about energy efficiency in the home and community spaces, and the types of material used to insulate buildings. They also spent time in the Common Knowledge Gardens with permaculture instructors Ciara Parsons and Chloe Dempsey learning the principles of permaculture, planting trees, and making wildflower seed bombs, while also enjoying a treat of foraged foods.
The group shared their own skills at workshops which included sessions on maintaining healthy trees, accessing funding, understanding administrative systems within the state, and outreach and communications for community projects.
All of the activities, learnings, findings and ideas from the week have fed into the development of the HomeWorks Climate Action Toolkit. The toolkit, which is informed by principles of joy and care, invites communities to come together to share their skills and identify climate actions they can take in the home and as a community. It also reminds them to take a break and care for themselves before coming together to mobilise as a community, using the idea of the Meitheal (an old Irish term that describes how community members assist each other in the saving of crops or in other tasks), so that they can support each other to take effective climate action in the home and in their communities.
As organisers, we saw first-hand the power of forming a new community over a week of skill sharing, brainstorming, chats, dancing, exploration, and found that a creating a space for learning can reinforce our own individual commitment to supporting and building our communities with inclusivity, passion, action and kindness at the forefront.
The project is now into the next phase, with the Homeworks Winter Residency taking place in October in Common Knowledge. At this residency, eight community groups will come together to test the Homeworks Climate Action Toolkit whilst developing skills that will support them to catalyse change. The Homeworks team will then support these community groups to kickstart their projects within their own communities.
If you’d like to test out the Toolkit with your own community or find out more about the project visit www.ourcommonknowledge.org/homeworks or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toolkit was developed by Rachel Mulqueen and Aine Mcbeth with the Connect the Dots Team, Common Knowledge, NXF and all the participants at the Homeworks Summer Residency.
The project has received funding from the Community Climate Action Programme, which is aimed at facilitating community climate action through education, capacity building and learning by doing. The programme is administered by Pobal and has been funded by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.