Brexhut collaborator Rachel Shorer reports on how the 'project of perspectives' is beginning to take shape...
Hi there, Rachel here. I saw Simon’s original blog post in the wake of Brexit when a friend shared it on Facebook. My timeline was filled with disagreement, upset and name calling, and it was making me realise that it isn’t good enough to only ever talk to people who share our opinions and call the other side wrong.
To build the fairer, better future that politicians had been talking about and everyone thought they had voted for, we urgently need to engage with people who have different perspectives and experiences from our own. I saw Brexhut as a positive, proactive way to respond to what I was feeling about Brexit, and I knew immediately I wanted to get involved.
Last weekend we met for the third time to work on bringing to life the idea of getting people talking across divisions. As with our first two meetings, this was a coming together of new and familiar and faces — those who’ve been involved from the beginning, and those who’ve just heard about the project and feel they have something to offer.
We began by revisiting our initial idea for what the experience inside Brexhut might look like — identifying which ideas enthused us, clarifying what we hope audiences will experience, as well as raising questions for further consideration on what we hope people will take away from a visit to the Hut.
From here, our discussion moved on to how we might work with participants to create content for the Hut — an area I’m particularly interested in as a creative writing tutor and facilitator of other people’s creativity. The rest of the group were kind enough to bear with me when I pulled a children’s picture book out of my bag and then got them to do some writing.
From these meetings, some distinct phases of this project are beginning to emerge:
- Working with communities from across the Leave/Remain debate to fill the Hut with different voices and work out how it can become the space to have these conversations.
- Designing the Hut itself and deciding how audiences will encounter people with different opinions to their own.
- Where we'll take the Hut on its pilot tour, visiting different locations across the country.
- Finally, an evaluation of what we’ve achieved.
One of the things I’m really enjoying about working on this project is the variety of experiences and abilities different people have. You bring what you have to offer to phases where your skills are useful, and we are still open to the input of others who'd like to get involved.
We’ll be meeting again in a couple of weeks, turning our attention back to practicalities as we start to think about fundraising for the project...