• The Story Behind Bridgedale360


    I just had to leave…


    I had been walking aimlessly, as if my body just carried me along, for what seemed like forever. I still didn't know where I was heading or what was propelling me forwards. Except the reverb of that thought - I had to leave - and a name. Bridgedale360. My fist tightened around the scrap of paper on which it was written. I didn't have to open it, again, to see it. By now the name and the X that marked it on the spidery map was already etched into my mind. Instead, I looked up and wondered whether the turn in the road was starting to look - not exactly, but still - like the curve of one of the lines on the map. Like one of the spider´s legs. All roads lead to Bridgedale360? I first heard about it from a friend a few months ago and then later, overheard it in a bar. Just people talking over loud and dull pop - but I heard it for sure - and then I found this map, or it found me. I had to leave, my heart needed to believe, I had to believe.


    I picked up the pace, my heart beating out a rhythm for my legs to follow, and my right side stung. Exhaustion and fear tugged at me, and perhaps it was regret that made me look back every now and again, but this time I wasn't going to let it get the better of me. Not this time. I threw some of what was left over from my bag of dried fruits into my mouth, hoping it would hush my hunger. My feet yelled out in pain; my new boots had still not been broken in. Instead, the boots seemed bent on breaking me in. Blisters and all. My insides screamed at me in revolt.


    Suddenly I heard voices. I got cautious, a bit afraid, but my curiosity brought me closer. My ears twitched like antennae, trying to figure out where the voices came from. I stood still. There. “Bridgedale360”, I heard it. My heart rattled my ribcage. “Over there, not so far anymore.” I had to get to them. “Wait!” I think I said and cut through the row of trees, hesitantly at first, but then found myself pushing and shoving shrubs aside, until I saw them and they saw me. “Hi,” said the woman, smilingly. I gasped and smiled back and my insides kept quiet, for once.


    We were walking for days, mostly quietly. But there was a sense of unity that I had never felt before. We were all following our dreams somehow, but without really knowing what it was. Layla showed me some pictures of her family, and said that she didn’t know any longer where they were, if they were alive. Could we blame the “system crisis”? But I also felt conscience-stricken, because I saw how privileged I was. Yet, I was unhappy. But happiness does not come with abundance, I learnt it the hard way. I could not imagine myself continuing like before. I desperately needed Bridgedale360 to be more than a silly fairy tale…


    Once we started off together, everything fell into step so to speak. We moved as if we were one, people from the west, people from the east, just people...fleeing the old system and searching for that unknown place. Conversations bubbled up here and there, naturally without any haste, but then we would retreat into a silence again, as we mulled over things we had just heard, and I imagined how life was for them before in the countries where they were coming from, and how much it sounded like my own in some ways; while in others, mine was completely foreign to theirs. I remembered the things I used to enjoy, but that was in the past, I told myself, as I shook off an all too familiar sense of heaviness. Excess does that to you, somehow. But, here on this dirt road to Bridgedale360, I was just like them. Bridgedale360 was and will be the great equalizer for us all.   


    Arriving happened by surprise. We came to a stream and a little further up a girl was playing in the water, singing for herself. We came closer and when she saw us she smiled. “Ahoy there, comrades!”, she said. And she smiled and waved at us. I was surprised by the openness with which she was greeting a bunch of strangers. In the middle of nowhere! But it wasn’t in the middle of nowhere, we soon found out. Further up the stream we saw a mill and some mechanism pumping water. And then it all just opened up. Without waiting for us, the girl skipped ahead and we followed, not skipping like her, but feeling a slight hop in our own step. We exchanged glances and before we knew it, buildings and gardens and people working appeared from behind the trees. Everybody stopped to greet if only briefly, and smiled before they got back to doing what they were doing. Cows grazed past us. Even they seemed to smile.


    Our little guide, we could see, had come to a stop before the most impressive of all the buildings that we had passed. A man stood there rubbing his hands and then approached us, as if he couldn´t wait for us to get to where he stood. “Welcome,” he said, while his hands rubbed and patted our weary shoulders, ”first some rest and then I´ll show you around Bridgedale360, ok?”

  • The Beehive

    ONENESS, INTERCONNECTIVITY; SYSTEMS THINKING & COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE

    “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

    -Aristotle


    “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.”

    -R. Buckminster Fuller



    Introduction

    Ana, beekeeper


    There is one fundamental misunderstanding in our world today. Its consequences are immense. You can see them all around you - they spell disaster. This fundamental misunderstanding is that we as humans believe ourselves to be separate entities in a cold mechanic universe that doesn’t care about us. That we are alone, basically, and as such, afraid. Being afraid we act defensively, egoistically, driven by primitive survival instincts. We care for ourselves, at least we think so. The millionaires’ gated communities, the refugees stuck and imprisoned at the border controls, the wars in the Middle East, the rising sea levels, the death of hundreds of species every year… it can all be traced back to the same basic misunderstanding, misconception, misintuition and mis-experience. Because it’s so deeply immersed in our culture that we can hardly imagine otherwise. But if we want a world that is whole and makes sense, we better look at it as a whole. And as making sense. Right?


    When we were creating Bridgedale360, we had a lot of these discussions about feelings of being alone. Isolated and separated from other humans and all other living entities in the world. We wanted to leave these negative feelings behind and create something better, a place where we all live in harmony and cherish each other, knowing that we are all interconnected. This is how I actually became a beekeeper. If we look at the bees we’ll understand how immensely and beautifully complex the natural world is. How everything works together. We understand that nothing, literally nothing, is separate from anything else. Being human “bee-ings” we are equally intertwined in the web of life. Without the air around us we would die within minutes. Is it then meaningful to see us as separate from the air? Why is the air outside my body not me when the air inside my lungs is? What about the thousands of organisms dwelling in my body? Are they me? When you go down this line of thought there can only be one conclusion, nothing is you, and at the same time all is you!


    So we’re moving towards what is often called a holistic worldview. It’s a perspective where nothing is seen as isolated and separated, where everything is interlinked. The zen-master Thích Nhất Hạnh used to talk about inter-being, referring to the ultimate oneness and unity of all beings. Many people in Bridgedale360 are actually practicing zen meditation, inspired by this feeling of oneness and interconnectivity.


    But also, we try to adopt this holistic perspective on a more practical level. When we’re designing systems, whatever they are, we need to keep “the whole” in mind, otherwise we’re destined to do the same mistakes that we’ve done so far, over and over again. Take the food-production system in the old society, for example. Does it produce food? Yes. Does it cater for the well-being of the whole? No! The consequences of the linear thinking monoculture food system is that it destroys the soil from excessive use of pesticides and fertilisers, in itself based on oil and other unsustainable resources, instead of slowly building up the soil and treating it as a living ecosystem. Moreover, when it comes to biodiversity, which is the basis of all ecosystems, the effects are horrendous. Just one crop, acre after acre, do you think that nature is happy like this? No! And how does it cater for the people? Maybe you recall the banana plantations where the cancer rates are booming due to airplane dumped pesticides.That’s a big no! So when we’re designing food systems and any other system in Bridgedale360 for that matter, we always remind ourselves that we think of the whole. A great holistic design tool that’s been around for a while now, even though you’ve probably never heard about it in school in the old society - is permaculture.


    To illustrate, if you look at a chicken, our industrial modern society would normally apply a linear system design. You bring in fodder from the outside, you breed the chicken, you slaughter them, and you produce meat. Instead, when looking from a holistic perspective, applying permaculture design, you would consider all the benefits the chicken bring, and even more, you would see the chicken as an integral part of the whole, with its intrinsic value. You then see that the chicken can help you prepare the soil for your garden and eat harmful snails and slugs, that they also produce eggs, feathers and valuable manure, as well as being fun fellows to have around. Then some will be eaten by the fox, which are needed to keep the rabbit population in balance. If you think about it - all is connected. And us humans are not the sole beneficiary of the system. No, we’re an integral part of it and our duty is to cater to the whole. Because if nature is happy, we’ll be happy. Because ultimately we are nature.


    Learning Outcomes

    • To see systems and understand that we are part of them

    • To recognize patterns in nature and human society and see them as complex vs. linear

    • To understand feedback loops and how to influence and restore them

    • To learn tools to evoke collective intelligence

    • To experience holistic thinking/systems

The Amphitheatre and the StudioCertificate