The Clearing, a report from the future

I found out recently about an excellent project: The Clearing, A Report From The Future by Alex Hartley and Tom James. They “set out to build a living, breathing encampment where people could learn how to live in the collapsing world coming our way.”


In 2017 they constructed with the help of volunteers a geodesic dome from scavenged materials and for several months invited people to workshops on skills that might be useful in the future (fire making, bread oven, democracy, radio, loo…).



Public engagement was very rich and a temporary community of sorts emerged. The artists have published a full report on the experience, photocopied by hand, with a cover made from used cardboard boxes. I recommend this informative and inspiring read.


The report is available at



A year after the end of the clearing, Hartley and James wrote that “the more time we spent at The Clearing, the better we felt. The Clearing made us feel hopeful, and confident, and capable, and even happy. Perhaps this is how it could be in the future> Softer and simpler and slower. Perhaps the end of this world, and the beginning of a new one, could even be good?”


Festival UK 2022 call for applications

Festival UK 2022 is launching today an exciting open call for projects from creative teams from across the UK.

Call for applicants:
Festival UK 2022 is a government funded major nationwide festival showcasing the UK’s creativity and innovation to the world.
Festival UK 2022 is launching a funded Research and Development opportunity for creative teams from the worlds of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics to collaborate to make the extraordinary happen.

30 creative teams will be awarded £100k each to imagine an act of creativity designed to reach millions of people. Ten of these ideas will be commissioned for the festival, with a budget of £3 million for each project.

Creative organisations and individuals, from across STEAM sectors, and all four nations, can register interest and apply from 9 September to take part in the R&D project.
What would you do?
How to apply, deadline 3pm on 16th October.
Read the press release
Paul Granjon is one of the creative advisors for Festival UK 2022.

The Age of Low-Tech

An essential read is finally being translated from French: The Age of Low-Tech, Towards a Technologically Sustainable Civilization by Philippe Bihouix will be published by Bristol University Press on October 25th.



Bihouix worked for 25 years as an engineer in various industrial sectors including construction, energy, chemicals, transport, telecommunications and aerospace, in Europe and Africa. In The Age of Low-Tech Bihouix draws on his experience in resource management to build a very strong case for an unavoidable shift to a low-tech civilisation. He demonstrates that, due to the finitude of available resources, no technological solution exists that will enable sustaining the level of comfort enjoyed by western societies since the 1950s. Instead the human race must shift to a truly low-tech, frugal mode so as to ensure resilience and sustainability. Using down to earth examples and an approachable style, Bihouix denounces the fallacy of techno-solutionism.



For example he addresses the idea that the Sahara desert receives enough sunlight to provide energy for the whole world, and that a giant solar farm in the dunes would solve forthcoming golbal energy crisis. He calculates that producing 23TWh (global energy consumption in 2011) would require installing 500 years worth of global solar panel production, that would have to be renewed after 40 years at most. This would necessitate an enormous amount of fossil energies, metals and synthetic resources issued from petrol for building and resourcing the giant factories required to supply the panels. And who would wipe the sand off these tens of thousands of square kilometers of panels?

Bihouix, using informed resource usage data and practical scenarios, claims that reducing our needs is an urgent priority. In a nutshell the bicycle is the future, not the electric car.


I recommend reading In the Guts of the World Expresso Machine, a short online essay by Bihouix on the necessity of a low-tech shift.



Extract from the Bristol University Press summary:


People often believe that we can overcome the profound environmental and climate crises we face by smart systems, green innovations and more recycling. However, the quest for complex technological solutions, which rely on increasingly exotic and scarce materials, makes this unlikely.

A best-seller in France, this English language edition introduces readers to an alternative perspective on how we should be marshalling our resources to preserve the planet and secure our future. Bihouix skilfully goes against the grain to argue that ‘high’ technology will not solve global problems and envisages a different approach to build a more resilient and sustainable society.


Lockdown Forest

May 2020: escaping lockdown through the backdoor to the forest, listening to the birds.

Video commissioned by @imthinkingofyou_cymru

Thank you @beccaclareareartists


Talk about the Future

On Saturday 29th February at 16:00, the last day of the Superfreight exhibition in Campfa, I will host a conversation about the future set around the Future Conversation Table as seen in the exhibition.

then buzz into the night…..>>..>..••


Doodlebot Workshop Barbican

Busy weekend in Barbican Art Centre London. The classic Doodlebot, simple and open source, went down a treat with urban kids. 80 robots were released, many of which going for world domination.

Global Climate Strike

Extinction Rebellion Festival

Going to Extinction Rebellion Wales’ Rebel Rising Festival, Borth 13th to 15th September.


“Extinction Rebellion’s biggest ever action is coming. In the weeks building up to it the rebels of the UK are gathering to get trained, get inspired and get ready.

« Older Entries