11 December 2009, by Rosie Jefferis
A discarded wooden cabinet and a set of working fairy lights were just two of the items salvaged by Findhorn Community Semester student Hannah Beach as the group prepared for their end of semester show at Moray arts centre on 29th November. The 13 students aged 18-23 from various colleges around the US had delighted the community with their presence for three months, during which time they integrated their academic and experiential learning as part of the accredited undergraduate level programme. Engaging in daily seminars and experiencing living education through practical work in the community, they had explored a range of themes including spiritual practice, sustainable and systemic design, group process and conflict resolution.
Creativity through various art forms formed an exciting part of the FCS curriculum, with the regular class Exploring Self and Community Through the Arts running over 14 weeks. Led by community artist Lisa Shaw with visiting workshop leaders, the students explored a range of skills and media from clowning to working with clay. The class bought challenges for some of the students, but as they drew on their experience and the abundant support avaliable to them, the excitement began to build. With the exhibition as their final assignment the students pulled out all the stops, celebrating an amazing array of artistic talent as they shared song, music, painting, sculpture, quilting, photography and permaculture design.
With some of the exuberent group drawn to performance and others to visual arts, the student’s exhibition was beautifully varied. With the human challenge of sustainability as a theme, it was a chance for the students to express their passion for global socio-economic change. “I can’t believe people are throwing away stuff that can still be used!” exclaimed Hannah, whose intriguing sculpture of a bike surrounded by discarded household items and rubbish represented the challenge of moving towards a sustainable culture. Austin, another of the students, showed seven photographs from the perspective of the earth, while Khalsa used poetry and film in Permaculting the Self to explore her experience as a young woman in a time of global challenge.
The FCS student’s exhibition was short and sweet with visitors to the show finding themselves deeply moved by unique energy and creativity of the group. With their time together coming to an end, many hugs and blessings were given for their future paths, with the hope that it won’t be too long before they return.