visitors interacting with the mock-up

06.03.13 | talk & reception at the british council

Last Friday was the last day of our exhibition ‘Building Community’ at the British Council in Delhi…. and was marked by a joint event with the Charles Wallace India Trust. In advance of the reception we held our first stakeholder meeting with ourselves, the partner charity (ITRHD), the British Council, and members of the community from Hariharpur. It was a great opportunity to share the fist phase of our research with the villagers, and show them the outcomes of the Visiting School – which some of them had caught a glimpse of during the UnBox festival. The British Council building also offered a neutral space to discuss everyone’s expectation’s for the project openly and honestly. We were keen to be able to partake in the conversations fully ourselves, and so invited our friend Amritha Ballal from the Delhi-based practice Space Matters, to facilitate and translate the discussion. She did a fantastic job – as always we’re very grateful for her support! – and the outcome of the meeting was really productive. The topics covered ranged from the size of the classrooms, the skills within the village, and attitudes towards mud as a construction material. The event was recorded by a documentary film crew who will be visiting us a number of times on site, and capturing the progress of the project from start to finish.

Having just arrived back in Delhi from London that morning Clem found herself not only doing a filmed interview, but up on stage presenting WORKSHOP’s projects. But the jet lag and exhaustion were soon surmounted, as it was time to relax and celebrate the outcome of all the hard work over the past month. The Hariharpur musicians gave a beautiful performance in the court yard, and it was great to have a drink with the volunteers, British Council staff, and Visiting School participants – without whom the exhibition would never have been finished!

The mock-up has since been knocked down, and turned back into soil (that’s the beauty of using mud) and the rest of the exhibition material is packed up waiting to be shipped to London, where it will be reinstalled at the Architectural Association in November. Working at the British Council has been a great experience – and we’re really appreciative of all the helpful and friendly people who made it such a pleasure : ) Now it’s time to put pen to paper and start resolving the design for the project….