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Leaf Pattern Design

Community Engagement

to grow connections and expand common ground

Exit Map offers workshops to communities and cultural organisations to move on or return to conversations about who, why and where we arrived for what to happen. These workshops facilitate processes that organisations engage with to empower members, volunteers and organisers by exploring personal and shared purpose, values and infrastructures. Our aim is to foster practices that enable a full participation of its people and their environment, to meet challenges and change.

Do get in touch if you would like to invite us to work with your community or organisation. 

Read on for what we offer and who we are working with.

A community is a whole made of many; its parts empowered to act or aiming at diverse equalities because ahead of us lies a winding path of discrimination and hierarchies paved in our past. For safe passage we need rites, practices and performances to allow us to acknowledge and remember our shared humanity and histories. Involving the body through somatic practices, in-person contact and lived experiences, we bring the whole of us, our emotional landscapes, our sensory sense making back into view to enable transparent empathetic conversations. On that ground we may perceive ‘us’ as a felt experience, in real time and space, and we imagine coexistence, expanding on existing ideas and adopting our actions. 

 

We want to support organisations who share this ethos and generosity to fully integrate everyone including the more- than -human towards a life-centric rather then people- centric vision. Following the eco-logical principle of growth and meeting the deeply entangled complex systems of human, ecological and technological nature, we engage the ever increasing plurality of perspectives by engaging the multiplicity of our senses and functions that bodies, nature and life overall provide us with. 

 

Exit Map is a community of practice that holds the expertise of somatic movement practitioners, group facilitators and teachers to build a safe container for you to encounter personal and organisational matters; a community in and of itself that thrives through co-learning and trust. We connect to each other and to you to catalyse action towards regeneration by envisioning together what individually we wouldn't be able to see. Our work is to enable you to become a community of practice for ongoing regeneration to root and grow, making space for change.

These projects listed underneath are examples and reflections we invite you to join either by reading or participating. Do get in touch if you want to participate or if you have a community group you want us to meet.

Imagine

project

Glengall Wharf Garden, Peckham London, UK

It is run by a dedicated team of volunteers. A space for local residents, it offers volunteer gardening sessions, workshops and grows food through permaculture and forest gardening. Sustainability and ecological welfare are core to the garden’s philosophy to develop the site as a place to build skills, community and wellbeing for all.

We ask

What social and spatial infrastructures in this urban yet natural environment hold which kind of opportunities for connections between people from varied backgrounds and ages and their respective locality to emerge?

 Addressing the vision of co-authoring public urban spaces to identify common ground, we will initiate activities of social and creative encounters to explore how participants imagine activities to shape spaces to deal with climate change and counter isolation.

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A commission and collaboration with the Place that will co-facilitate during 10 days in April and May 2024 with a performance sharing at the end. If you are interested to be part and experience this community do get in touch.

This workshop took place in late Spring 2023 and provided a contrast to a weighted climate discussion. Coming back to folk dances as a secular ritual or community practice, the space got infused with laughter as we spun around in Caleigh formations. It counter acted the depression we experience when looking at the looming climate dilemma. It is so important to ask what practices we employ to deal with what kind of information so we can DEAL with it. 

How do we enable meetings so that we can feel the trouble yet not loose courage to act and make things happen? It was also a time to reflect how Ponderosa is embarking on their change of leadership and methodologies of collective organisation. You can read here on non-linear thoughts and developments.

project

Moving On

Funded by Arts Council England, we offered community workshops as part of the project Moving On for residents of housing co-operatives and council tenants of Lewisham and Southwalk (London, UK). The aim was to stimulate a relationship to their local green spaces for new ways of understanding natural habitats as part of home and community. We journeyed to local parks, cemeteries or inhabited adjacent/ included green spaces to move together and reflect how our relationships to people and environment shifted.  What does it mean to embed such spaces into our lives? What practices do we share and which conscious choices may enable us to linger and embrace company  more? 

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New Cross - Lewisham

Besson Community Centre has a community garden that we dwelled in. We also ventured out into neighbouring Nunhead and visited the local gem Nunhead cemetery.

We invited Lewisham Housing Association tenants, visitors of the centre and Ivy Club members, an elderly group in Nunhead. 

Peckham - Southwalk

Cossall Hall is the community centre for a whole council housing estate which features green spaces like a park and smaller green interludes. Dancing where houses meet trees, gave agency to participants and natural space as place of encounters.

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Ladywell - Lewisham

Olan Trust, an umbrella for various housing co-operatives like Chudleigh co-op for instance, was able to bring its Lewisham and Southwalk based members together. We walked up Hilly Fields, moved, ate and talked while leisurely and informally getting to know the people of the wider network.

New Cross - Lewisham

Nettleton Road Housing Co-op

is a street of houses with wonderful big gardens but little communal spaces. Walking up to Telegraph Hill with residents we see and feel how this park is a common ground for people to come together and hang out where there is space to move and expand with body and mind.

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New Cross - Lewisham

Sanford Housing Co-op has a garden that connects all the houses,  nurturing a well connected community. We nevertheless took residents further out to their local train strip meadow space which offers open land, a big sky and the opportunity to spread out from an otherwise compact living situation

Nunhead, Southwalk

The Green Community centre is home to many communities. The Ivy club is a group of elderly who like to chat in the main hall for a long coffee morning. We took them into the garden and it turned out they had not been there for a long time. They hugged the tree, stretched out and thanked us for the reminder.

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We also connected to the Lewisham based housing co-operatives Deptford and Three Boroughs who we invited to the gardens of the Albany centre and afterwards to the local beach at the Thames. Also Phoenix Housing Association whose residents we took to experience Beckenham Place Park as well as organised meetups in Leeds and Manchester for residents from various co-operatives to enjoy  meadows and parks. 

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