We called this event a ‘presentation’ of the IDYS Beta Project (The Do It Yourself Institute), a chance for those involved in the collective to present their activities and approach to work. However the event that took place on the 18th of February looked and felt much more like a discussion than a presentation. Upon arrival each guest was offered a small glass of beer and took their place on the circular ‘people’s parliament’, built by Colectivo Mustarinda for exactly this type of occasion.
The collective began to talk about the approach that Todo for Praxis (Everything for Practice), the producing organization, have towards their work, explaining that they use the pre-existing skills of a community to create new visions for old spaces. They talked of how furniture makers, designers, carpenters – or people with other skills or that are willing to learn – come together to take hold of a project and realize their designs.
This particular program, IDYS Beta, focuses on supporting new ideas and developing new models for collaborative, community projects. The focus on co-responsibility between community groups and forging those community links are just as important as the projects themselves and every Tuesday between 4pm and 8pm IDYS Beta Consultancy will be available at the We Traders Exhibition space in Nave 16.3 to support any project ideas you may have.
In this relaxed environment the audience felt at ease asking questions whenever they arose. The audience comprised of people with varying levels of experience in construction, from architects to DIY amateurs, but all were engaged and engrossed by this fantastically open atmosphere.
It was fitting that we were meeting on a unit constructed by a collective to learn about and discuss a group of people that believe that everyone in the community has something to offer to rejuvenate spaces left unloved and uncared for by official institutions. Any space, they said, could be transformed, without exception. In the corner of an exhibition space that is a repurposed abattoir, once abandoned, amongst the displays of the We-Traders exhibition, presenting fantastic community projects throughout Europe, it was hard not to be inspired by both the content and the atmosphere of this discussion.