Opportunity: Nature and Culture to Revitalize an Island

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International Creative Workshop in Megijima, Japan
2016 October 2-9 (long session) / October 8-9 (short session)
hosted by SocieCity and Final Straw
with Patrick M. Lydon, Suhee Kang, and Kaori Tsuji

Ecological activism, creative practice, and community building come together on the Island of Megijima, Japan this October, and we want you to be a part of it.

The team at SocieCity & Final Straw are assembling an international cast of creative thinkers and doers to join us in a small Japanese village, where we will discover and highlight the social and ecological treasures of this island together. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore in depth, the nature and culture of a small island together with other creative minds from around the world, and to help build an ecological future for this community.


Our program begins with participants enjoying an in-depth look at the island, it’s nature, and its people. We have arranged special tours of the island’s ecological and cultural history, and participants will interact directly with locals to hear their stories of the island, it’s natural resources, its farms, and its folklore.

The second half of the program focuses on synthesizing our experiences – the ecology, stories, and personal reactions – into creative prototypes for small products that can be made using local materials. The prototypes are mean both as talismans (souvenirs) for visitors, and celebrations of the island’s unique nature and culture.

All prototypes produced by workshop participants will be voted on by the local villagers, with the winning design having a chance to be put into production locally in order to support the island.

Participants can choose to stay for only the intensive course (October 8th – 9th), or an extended internship (October 2nd – 9th) that will include becoming part of the larger community regeneration activities we are undertaking on the island. The extended internship, though not required, is especially recommended for international visitors.

To Apply, please send the following topatrick@finalstraw.org by Sept 1, 2016:

  • Your Name / Street Address / Email / Phone / and Website (if available)
  • Either five still images or five minutes of video showing previous work. Images must be JPEG format and around 500kb – 1mb in size each, attached to the email. Videos must be submitted as a links to YouTube, Vimeo, or another streaming service. If a video is longer than 5 minutes, please note that we can only watch the first 5 minutes.
  • An image list with location, title, and short description for each image or video
  • A short statement (less than 300 words) about your practice
  • A short statement (less than 300 words) about why you wish to join the workshop
    Please include all text in the body of the email, not as an attachment.

Conditions (Please Read Before Applying):

Accommodation – The rate for accommodation is $40 (2 days / 1 night) or $180USD (7 days / 6 nights). This covers the cost of private room hotel accommodation on the island.
Tuition – The workshop tuition is done using the “pay it forward” system. This means that there is no predetermined rate for tuition, and participants are welcome to pay what they can. However, Pay it Forward also means that your project coordinators are volunteering their time, they are not getting paid to produce and lead these workshops. Your tuition payment is the only way we can continue to conduct more workshops for future participants.

Travel and Meals – All participants must cover their own travel and expenses of getting to Japan and during their stay. Meals are not included in the tuition fee, though there are a few options for eating on the island, and group-cooked dinners will be arranged for those who wish to take part in them.

Applicants are expected to be proficient in speaking English. Japanese language experience is a bonus, but certainly not required.

Previous experience with community engaged arts, craft skills, or creative practice, although not explicitly required, is recommended and should be reflected in your work and statement.

Learn More About Our Work:
SocieCity / Creative actions for inspiring tomorrow –www.sociecity.org
Final Straw / Food, Earth, Happiness – www.finalstraw.org

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge Research, Gray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

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