Episode #109  Communities of craft and purpose: creating a future that works with Alice Holloway of the London Urban Textiles Commons

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How can we find joy in life again? How can we create beautiful things to wear that allow us to be the best of ourselves – and build community while we do it? Alice Holloway is co-founder of London Urban Textiles Commons, and she’s committed to finding the answers.

Alice has a degree in jewellery making from Central St Martin’s and a Masters in Design for the Cultural Commons from the London Metropolitan University.

She is founder of the Little Black Pants Club, co-founder of London Urban Textiles Commons and is committed to helping people find joy and beauty in the creation of all that we need: to building a future of community and connectivity where we no longer depend on mass production or on real people being devolved into numbers.

Her projects include a mobile Sweat Shop which brings a bicycle into a community so that people can power the creation of their own sweat shirts – and see the whole process, from the effort it takes to power the machine, to the machine itself, and the crafting of a garment that fits.

In this inspiring, sparky conversation, we explore the ways we can bring morality, ethics, decency together with joy, beauty and the wonder of self-expression to create a world that leaves exploitation and the accumulation of capital behind.

In Conversation

Manda: My guest today is Alice Holloway of the London Urban Textile Commons. Alice has a degree in jewellery making from Central St. Martin’s in London and a Masters in design for the Cultural Commons from the London Metropolitan University. She’s the founder of the Little Black Pants Club and the co-founder of the London Urban Textile Commons, and she’s committed to helping people find joy and beauty in the creation of the things that we need to building a future of community and connectivity where we no longer depend on mass production or on real people being devolved into numbers. And this conversation explored many of the things that are very dear to my heart, particularly the concept of the Commons and what it could be. And I realised that we talked about Ostrom a few times without really saying what that is or who she is. So briefly, for those of you not familiar, there was a paper that came out in 1968 called the tragedy of the Commons, which fitted very well into the growing neoliberal classical, what is now classical, economic framework. Which said that everybody is selfish and out for their own ends and everybody needs and wants to make as much money as humanly possible.

 Manda: And this paper extended that to say the tragedy of the Commons is, you have some common Land everybody has, for instance, the right to put their cattle on it. If everybody puts a sensible number of cows on, the Commons will survive and will not be overgrazed. But Individual A will gain small, short term personal advantage by putting ten times as many cows on or even just one extra cow, and thereby the integrity of the Commons will be lost because it will be overgrazed and that this is inevitable. That was the baseline thinking. And it took hold in the western educated, industrial rich democracies that we inhabit. It became one of these economic truths that is like the law of gravity. This is the way things are. And then Elinor Ostrom came along, and she actually won the Nobel prise in 2009 for her new view of Commons, and this has become her life’s work, and her commenting concept said This is not how it works. People who have commons and who work with Commons are perfectly capable of not dividing up into small groups for individual advantage and thereby destroying the whole of the Commons. In fact, we’ve managed common Land, common goods, common seas common air, common everything in human societies and cultures for hundreds of thousands of years very successfully. She’s written a lot. I will put a number of papers and links at the bottom in the show notes, but just for clarity, her eight principles for managing a commons are:

 Manda: Number one: Define clear group boundaries. Number two: match rules governing use of common goods to local needs and conditions. Number threeL: ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules, so you have commonality of rule making as well as commonality of resource. Number four: make sure the rule making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities. We do not need top down governance to make good commons work. Number five: Develop a system carried out by community members for monitoring members behaviour. So if some idiot decides to put 10 times the number of cows on the Commons, you will notice and you will have resource to action. Number six: Use graduated sanctions for rule violators so you don’t go from ‘OK you put an extra cow on by mistake and therefore we’re banning you from the Commons’. You have sensible rules. Number seven: provide accessible, low cost means for dispute resolution. So again, you don’t need the fancy very expensive lawyers because you’re not dealing with some faraway multinational, you’re dealing with the people around you. And number eight: finally, build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers, from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system.

 Manda: And I’ve gone through all eight of these, partly because Alice has embodied these in the London Urban Textile Commons, but also because I think this is a beginner pointer to how we need to be in the world that is opening up. We need to be doing things locally and everybody says this. But what Elinor Ostrom has done is to define a set of structures that can support local work and the beginnings of local Commoning. So I’ll put this in, the show notes. I will also put a link to David Bollier’s podcast, The Frontiers of Commoning. After Elinor, David Bollier became one of the people who really picked up commoning and ran with it. And if you’re into podcasts, which I guess you are because you’re listening to this, then his is very well worth listening to. At the time of recording this, his most recent one was about food as a commons, and it was really interesting. Apparently, half of Africa is still common Land. But then this speaks directly to something that Alice says in the podcast we’re about to listen to, where she’s working with textile workers in Thailand who have been kicked off the common Land because enclosure is still happening. And enclosure was one of the huge catastrophes of Western culture and society. When those who had the money decided that they needed to own the land and they could drive the people off it, so that then the only resource these people had, the only way they could feed themselves was to offer their labour to the person who was prepared to pay them, and that was often at the lowest common denominator. This is how those with the money make sure that those who haven’t got the money are under their thumb. But building good commons is how we begin to reverse that. So here we go. People of the podcast please do welcome Alice Holloway of the London Urban Textile Commons. 

 Manda: Alice Holloway, co-founder of the London Urban Textiles Commons. Welcome to Accidental Gods podcast. We are recording this, this is the first recording of the New Year. It won’t be the first one going out in the New Year, but we are pretty much at the New Year. So before we start anything else, I’m guessing you are in London. How is it done in London this new year? Were you doing exciting party things?

 Alice: Oh, well, we escaped and went to Suffolk, which I suppose is a bit of a broader plan of escaping eventually. But I do love London, and this morning we ran out of milk and we walked down and got a coffee from one of the places where we get coffees. And I think I’m realising for me how important all of that social interaction is and how much I want to make sure I can take that into whatever the next step for us is. Yes, so London is always very good and very bad.

 Manda: Yeah. Full of people, which is great if you want to connect. And not so good if what you’re wanting is solitude.

 Alice: No.

 Manda: Let’s get to that later, because that’s a really interesting conundrum that increasing numbers of people are dealing with. But before we get there, can we explore a bit of your background? However much feels good of how you came to be co-founder of a textiles commons. And then what is a textiles commons and how does it work? But let’s start off with you, Alice, and what led you to this as your path of making change in the world?

 Alice: So I think it starts really early in my childhood, because my mum was one of the trustees of Traidcraft right back, way back when, before Cafe Direct was in the supermarkets. And my uncle is also very involved with Traidcraft and did social accounting for the Guardian and things. So I was always brought up… I was brought up in a church environment, like a kind of community church in the suburbs. And then my mum was the one saying, “How can we be drinking Nescafé after church? This is terrible!” And was like pushing for them to adopt Fairtrade coffee and was then bringing in Fairtrade products and so this kind of for me, is very much rooted in a social justice narrative, and that’s something that I just grew up with. I wasn’t allowed Nestlé chocolate, which obviously I was really angry about for a while.

 Alice: And then all of that stuff just becomes totally normal. And so after a few twists and turns, I ended up at Art College; Central St. Martin’s. And I loved being there and I thought I would study fashion. But in fact, it was too tempting to learn a whole new skill because I’d been sewing a bit already, so I ended up doing jewellery design, which was brilliant. But the mining of the silver and the precious stones is obviously like a very contentious area, so that became a big part of of my output, I suppose. Whilst at college, we set up a collaboration with Cred Jewellery, who’s quite a cool guy – Greg Valerio. And then the new internationalist, I think published a whole magazine about cotton farmer suicides.

 Alice: And that’s the sort of thing that I just is very difficult for me to sort of brush over. I find that level of suffering absolutely horrendous.

 Manda: Tell us a little bit more about that. About what was going on, because most people won’t be familiar with that, I think.

 Alice: Ok, so it’s a long time I read that magazine, obviously, but my understanding is that they started to push GM crops in India with the cotton farmers. A lot of them are small scale farmers, you know, a patch of land that they subsist on and they grow cotton and they sell it into the international market through various intermediaries. And at the same time, they brought in a GM crop that was resistant to bollworm, but it was also heavily reliant on water. Like a terrible thing to do. And so you had massive crop failures and also as farmers were going to market, I think the US was subsidising their cotton production. So you also had a very depressed price of cotton on the international market. So you had farmers who’d invested heavily –  it’s just debt cycling – invested heavily in GM seeds, in the pesticides that are needed to keep them going. Small crops, not as valuable on the international market as what they were told they were going to be. Ending up in huge amounts of debt. And I think the way it was described in the magazine was that the tipping point was often that their daughter wanted to get married and suddenly they needed a dowry. And you’ve got like thousands… I think it’s like hundreds of thousands now of farmers drinking the pesticides to sort of commit suicide. It’s like… It’s just one of those for me, like entirely mind blowing ‘Wow. What the hell are we doing?’ Sort of realisations. So then, I think it’s not like I shifted direction, but I guess that was one of those kind of, yeah, like, ‘OK, so now there’s no going back’. And I suppose I still think it’s easy from a kind of middle-class background and I did well at school and those kind of things… It’s easy to believe in the win win of like, you can make huge profits and do something that’s totally amazing, you know, and like change, you know. You just use organic cotton or you just sort of there’s these little tweaks, but you’re still going to go for a mass market model and you’re still, et cetera, et cetera. And basically, that sort of fantasy has just fallen apart in my hands, the older I’ve got.

 Manda: And you’re not old. Do you feel.. Give us a bracket of how old you are just to give people a sense.

 Alice: I’m thirty Six

 Manda: And that is falling apart in your hands. And I’m really curious to know for people listening who don’t know, Central St. Martin’s is a really prestigious art, crafts, everything creation college in London. I only know this because my wife went there for a while. They do pattern cutting training. And I’m wondering how much that understanding that this model is falling apart was widespread throughout the student body, or were you on the particularly radical end of understanding that?

 Alice: Well, I would like to sort of give props to my tutors, Giles Last and Sian Evans, who were really up for me being very radical and sort of shifting the window. For instance, we did a live project with a diamond dealer and I made a ring which had engraved over the face of the diamond in the setting. Diamonds are a ****’s best friend and they let that be part of the live, you know, was presented to that diamond dealer. And so, yeah, they definitely encouraged it, really. And so we were able to then, for our final project, we got sponsorship from Cred Jewellery and we did a recycled silver piece in everyone’s collection. So any one of my contemporaries who wanted to could access this recycled silver that we had made and make a piece. And we also did some kind of collective stuff, we collectively bought some gemstones from a fair trade dealer as well. Because you’ve got the shipping and the import and a load of hassle. And oh my gosh, I honestly thought, Wow, this is a press coup. The press are going to be mad about this. You know, like I was doing everyone this big favour!

 Alice: Like, Yeah, sort of doing this really radical thing and everyone was going to be so into it and it would sort of kick start all of our ethical jewellery making careers. And the radio silence was deafening. It was so it was such a kind of anti-climax, I think, particularly for me,

 Manda: Even with an uncle who worked at the Guardian, you said? Were you not able to get traction there?

 Alice: Well, like even at Central St. Martin’s, right? But he only does the freelance. He’s a social accountant for them.

 Manda: So two questions arising from that. How did the diamond dealer take that? Did they understand what you were doing and why you were doing it?

 Alice: Well, I did my best because I also rewrote the whole song of that song ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ to explicitly explain why I thought…actually….

 Alice: And Blood Diamond had literally, I think it came out in the cinema around then, or it had come out anyway. It was prescient. It wasn’t sort of. Yeah, I mean, I don’t think I even am that radical (haha). So, but no, I didn’t really get particular… I mean, all the feedback was about like the construction of the ring.

 Manda: Right, right. Ok.

 Alice: But also, it was provocative. It was meant to be antagonistic. You know, the idea of the project was that you win favour from the diamond dealer and they make your ring, you know, and put it into commercial production. And I obviously was just doing a big like NO to that. Yeah.

 Manda: And do you think it would be different now? Are you still in touch? Because my feeling is that the world is changing, that people are more aware. And I’m wondering whether you think that if somebody came new to this and did something similar again, would it get more traction? Or is it simply that the media is so locked into the narrative that they enjoy, that anything radical is just not going to get any traction at all?

 Alice: Oh, I don’t know. See for me, it’s just like, you have to just keep trying stuff. Like there’s actually no point guessing. The media seems to really, really want some form of capitalism to prevail.

 Manda: It sure does. Yeah, but I think it’s possibly because nobody has offered them a viable alternative. You know, I really think if somebody came up with, ‘Look, guys, here is a transition to something that will work better. And this is what it looks like’ they would go for it. But at the moment, everybody is busy going this ‘this model is broken’ and nobody is busy offering a viable alternative.

 Alice: But you know that viable alternative thing. I don’t think it’s ever going to be viable on their terms of what being viable is.

 Manda: Ok. Let’s. Ok. I’d really like to unpick that. Because that’s basically where my life is going this next year and everyone listening to Accidental Gods is going to hear a lot about it. So let’s unpick that a bit, but let’s just move, before we lose the historical thread. You did the jewellery. I’m still quite curious to know, you got your recycled silver and you got all your gems. Did everybody who was there in your student body take that and go with it? Or were the people at the other extreme going, ‘No, no. We really enjoy buying blood diamonds and silver from mines with children in them, and we want to ignore all this’.

 Alice: I think there’s… I feel like the dichotomy is not so much that. It’s more like, ‘OK, right, OK, I can work with that’ and that kind of open embracing of something. And then there’s the kind of, ‘Oh dear, what does this mean for the rest of my life? I’m going to have to just not really think about that. I’m afraid’ it’s more like that. And I mean, I do have weird interactions with incredibly wealthy people occasionally, and it’s never that they’re saying like, ‘this is absolutely the right thing to do’. It’s not that their’s just not even anything that’s ever said. You don’t talk about like why it might not be a great idea to build an airport on the Bahamas. That’s just not even… The conversation is like totally revolves around making money. Ultimately. It is my experience and, you know, I’m getting told off all the time for sweeping statements, but that’s the interactions I’ve had. You know, and you can obviously have a drink and and talk nonsense, and that’s not about making money. But any business conversation, morality is wealth creation. And I can see why it’s such a simple version of morality, isn’t it? Because it’s like £5 – tick. And so that obviously there were people on my course with privilege who it would have been difficult for them to really do that deep work. And there isn’t, there aren’t the facilities readily available for that deep work I think. So people are often left in this horrible conundrum of like, ‘if I start to engage with this, there’s a lot of stuff in my heart that’s going to be dragged up. And where on earth do I put that?’ So historically, after sort of several iterations…I had a business making burlesque accessories, I really got into burlesque. I love that autonomous female expression of sexuality. I think that’s really important. Again, encapsulates a lot of joy and sort of all the positive free stuff in the world. And then so I really got into that. We made a range for ASOS

 Manda: Yay!

 Alice: They didn’t care that it was sort of ethical. We worked really hard on the ethical sourcing and then even that wasn’t really kind of moving. So it’s always that, always that go deeper, OK, go deeper, go deeper. And so next step was Little Black Pants Club, which is a sort of ethical lingerie subscription. And it became quite clear through working with those women that were part of Little Black Pants Club, and a lot of them still are, that the body is this crisis point. Or it expresses a crisis point within capitalism. So for me, it’s like really juicy because it’s just a natural point of like, oh, mass production.Wow, that’s not working so great, is it? And you’re like, ‘No!’.

 Alice: And so now the next level of go deeper is just focussing on the bespoke and as much as possible bringing in that deep work. Because you’ve got this slight in of like, well, how do you feel about your body? People don’t not talk to me about that when I’m making them a bespoke set of underwear. So then you have a little tiny bit of an opportunity to sort of try and tease out some of those tangles, which is where I feel like a lot of this stuff lives, I guess, on the kind of personal level.

 Manda: Ok, that feels like there’s a huge area we could mine there that would be really, really interesting.

 Alice: Ok, so full disclosure, I got into burlesque because I watched that Faking It programme with Immodesty Blaize.

 Manda: Ok. I don’t watch television, so this means absolutely nothing to me.

 Alice: So they have a programme where they train someone to sort of take on the professionals at a certain profession. So Immodesty Blaise, who is a very famous burlesque dancer, you know, nurtured someone to become a burlesque dancer, and then they did a performance, and then judges had to guess which one was the non-professional. That’s the premise of Faking It. And at the time in London, the scene was very much swing dancing and dressing up like you’re from the nineteen forties and like a sort of gentle, I guess, semi rejection of sort of plastic consumer culture. But very much from an know, we wore a lot of vintage and there are many reasons for that and not all of them, probably none of them were about ethics. But again, it contains within it quite an interesting and useful ethical pathway, let’s say.

 Alice: And so I started going to some burlesque shows and meeting with performers. And I mean, yeah, and I read Oscar Wilde, you know, it’s like, oh, heavily cliche, but it was looking for, you know Culture and I guess community and really enjoying seeing women expressing something about their sexuality. And I honestly think burlesque was one of the big pushes for that happening. When was this? Like mid 2000’s thousands. But it had been on the up for a while. So. And yeah, because the important thing is, the dancers choreograph the performances themselves and they’re quite often deliberately funny. So and even that is quite special. And I find it a really great, yeah, a really great art form. And I just love the fact that this woman of any shape or size, really, if you go to proper good burlesque, removes all her clothes and then everyone like uproariously cheers at the end

 Alice: At the sight of this naked body! It’s just so brilliant and I enjoy being in that space so much. And yeah, it is a real sharing of joy between… Or can be…I mean, you know, all of these things have some sort of dark flawed potential. But a lot of times I’ve been and you really feel this, this exuberance of the performer, their kind of joy in their own body, and you’re allowed to kind of share in that and express something of it. And I mean, in terms of like neurochemicals, obviously everyone is just going firing like crazy like it should when you’re out partying and yet and so yeah, we just kind of got involved with that scene. And because I learnt to sew with a local dressmaker in Egham when I was 13 ish. So I’d been sewing quite a long time by now. So we could kind of find a place within it. And I love making the costumes because it’s quite technical and I’ve got to A-levels in maths so I’m always looking for this sort of like slightly engineering, but also, you know, lots of aesthetics just sort of come together. That’s what fires for me.

 Manda: And it sounds like an area where women are free to express themselves without it being exploitative. Is that a fair assessment?

 Alice: It’s a place where women can choose to express themselves and fight to express themselves without being exploited.

 Manda: Wow. Ok this is sounding…

 Alice: Well, I don’t think capitalism like ever gives you…you know. I mean, since the enclosure of the Commons, which is my other thing that I want to talk about all the time, we are absolutely reliant on wages. Everyone is, and that’s the same for a burlesque performer. So, you know, the freedom is mediated within that. Definitely. But yeah, there is lots of space and there are some really amazing producers as well who definitely hold those spaces and push out those spaces, if that makes sense, to allow the people within it to have that freedom of expression.

 Manda: Ok. I would really like to get to Enclosure of the Commons. There’s lots of stuff that we’re heading towards that sounds interesting. Let’s get to Little Black Pants Club, which I am obviously having trouble saying at 11:00 o’clock on a Monday morning. I ran a gathering yesterday, it was a long day. And you said something that the body is a crisis point. And I wondered if we could unpick a little bit about what you mean by that and then how you work to help people move past the crisis point, if that’s what you do.

 Alice: So my experience has led me to and also my kind of small bit of academic study has led me to an analysis of mass production. Mass production allows capital to find a place. Like industrialisation is a place to put money, basically where it can make more money. So mass production tends towards an idea of the human as a machine. Or this is I feel like ideologically we’re moving into wanting to become ever more machine like and the body can’t achieve that. So you can go to the gym quite a lot, but you cannot achieve standardisation in the body because the body is an expression maybe of what nature intended us to be, which is humans,

 Alice: Which is not… And I don’t think mass production of, particularly of bras, but actually of lots of things, is appropriate for the diversity and uniqueness of individual humans, even though it is creating products to be used by individual, unique humans

 Manda: That are cheaper than the ones that would be made individually for them because mass production is a mechanised process.Yes?

 Alice: Cheaper at point of sale. Ok, but maybe not cheaper in a different in a different overall system. Maybe they turn out to be the most expensive because you’re creating such a huge amount of waste. Which is the other side of it. But yeah, cheaper at point of scale, definitely. And also, we’ve never tested mass production without a vulnerable labour force. And I can see that making 20 of something instead of one or making a thousand, you know, scaling up production could reduce the time by like 10 percent. But I’ve asked academics, I’ve been in touch with some at CSF and things, and I’ve asked them, you know, where’s the research about what the labour saving of mass production actually is? And they say, Oh no, there isn’t really any. And they say it’s kind of backed up that you can reduce it by 10 percent. But actually, you need a cheap labour force to make the huge reductions that we’ve seen. And that’s.. It’s a trick. Ultimately, this stuff is PR for itself. You know, just a perpetuating system of selling us mistruths about what’s really going on

 Manda: Because it’s not machines that are making these things. It’s on the whole vulnerable young women who have children and who need to work and therefore will accept the lowest possible wages and the longest possible hours in order to just sit in a room sewing stuff all day, every day.

 Alice: Absolutely. And I think what’s also important is that at some point they’ve been forced off their land. Naomi Klein in her book Ooh, let’s say it’s No Logo? But anyway, one of her books. Clearly documents that that’s still happening. And I mean, it’s very hard. Because the world is absolutely insanely massive, and we think of it as being small and like a country is one centimetre big and another one is two centimetres. But actually, it’s insanely huge. So to kind of tie up cause and effect, you know, across a fashion supply chain is not is would be very time consuming and not really feasible. But she spoke to people in, I think it was a Taiwanese economic district, and they said we’ve had our farms taken away. That’s why we’re here.

 Manda: Still!

 Alice: So it’s like a primitive accumulation keeps happening, in order to force people into factories. Let’s be really clear about that. They even, in JM Neeson’s book on the parliamentary enclosures, they are explicit. The parliamentarians are explicit that they need a cheap labour force and that’s why they’re enclosing the Land.

 Manda: It’s the combination of a cheap labour force and people who have no alternative. It’s creating the no alternative because otherwise people would not choose right to to be the cheap labour force because it’s it’s not a fulfilling thing for people to do and we still are in that world

 Alice: And it takes away the alternative of subsisting. So I think that it’s really crucial to reinstate the pride of the peasantry. That subsisting isn’t this horrible thing that we in the global north kind of tell it to each other as yes, it’s not Monty Python.

 Manda: What did the Romans ever do for us?

 Alice: I try and show people, if I’m talking to people about enclosures, I try and show them paintings of, you know, like just Google Italian peasant, you know, paintings from the time and you might be, like, really surprised that they wear red and blue and there’s embroidery on their apron. And it’s like a kind of an aesthetically stunning cultural epoch or, you know, it is very rich. But we describe it again, part of this PR machine of keeping consumerism and professionalism I think, unfortunately. Specialisation expertise, all of these things rely on thinking that it would be absolutely horrendous to kind of subsist as a peasantry, I think.

 Manda: Ok. So because this podcast is looking for solutions, this is taking us to a really interesting route. So let’s take a little step back and create an overview for people who aren’t familiar with all of this work. We have, we go back to the beginning of the industrial era. We’ve had the Great Plague, which reduced numbers of people. And then wages shot up, because there are fewer people and there’s still work to be done that was at that point broadly speaking, craft work. If there was work, there was banking, there was crafts and there was farming. And some of the product of farming went into the cities, and most of it kept the people on the land going. We then hit a crisis point where capital doesn’t like that it’s not able to exploit people, and the enclosures are created as ways of the people who have Land taking more Land and forcing the people off into deeply unpleasant living circumstances where they have no alternative but to work for whatever somebody chooses to pay them, because otherwise they starve. And that’s essentially where we’re still at. The technology has got great. But, you know, now we have Amazon or whoever else will…

 Alice:  Oh my gosh. Yeah.

 Manda: Ridiculously low wages and there is a stream of people prepared to take your jobs when the turnover is huge, because they have nothing else to do. All of that granted. What I would like to turn this to and we’re moving away from Little Black Pants Club, which I say we’ll get back to that. So I am vividly remembering going to stay with my then Finnish girlfriend in Finland and we stayed with her ex-girlfriend’s parents, it was all slightly strange, but fine. And they were Finnish peasant farmers. Actually, I think they were probably slightly more gentlemen farmers, but everything we ate, they had made. For the entire stay. They were completely subsistence living and it was beautiful. And I spoke to the ex-girlfriend, who was a really sane and wonderful individual and said, You know, are you going to take over? It was idyllic. I thought it was beautiful. They lived in the north of Finland. They were surrounded by lakes, virgin forest. Everything was organic because it had never gone non-organic. It was utterly glorious. And I said, Are you going to take over the farm? And she went, “You have to be (expletive deleted) Kidding me! I’m in the city. I work nine to five and I get weekends off and I get to do other stuff in my evenings. My parents work from dawn until dusk every day of their lives, and it’s incredibly hard and I don’t want to touch it with a barge pole and neither do any of my siblings”. And I think she had two sisters and a brother, something like that. And so I was just devastated, like, ‘Oh God, no, I have to learn Finnish and come back and live on this farm when it’s ready. Because because. And then realising I didn’t have the skills and that they didn’t have the skills because they had deliberately turned away from it. And now I live in a small holding and I’m trying to refind those skills and trying to set up the micro-dairy and trying to get the tree nursery going,

 Alice: Oh my gosh, wow!

 Manda: Yeah. But I’m also hitting 60 this year, and there are mornings I wake up and think I just can’t do this anymore.

 Alice: Hmm.

 Manda: Even the bit that I’m doing is too much like hard work and it’s cold and it’s wet and it’s miserable and my back is sore and I physically can’t lift the stuff that I need to lift, and I need a lot more young people on this Land.

 Alice: Yes.Ok!

 Manda: Yes, yes. Yes, I know. And then and then how do we sort the planning permission? And, you know, I’m working towards it. This is my dream as we get Somehow…

 Alice: Oh the planning permission. Yes, right

 Manda: The neighbours… We want, let’s say let’s we want seven tiny homes on here so that people can come and stay and we’ll share the Land. And you can, you know, we can turn it into whatever you want. And there’s a village full of people in their 70s who are going to go ‘Absolutely not’. And not increase it, not increase in this. And you think we’ve probably got 10 years to turn this around if we really try. All of the science. And it’ll take that long to get the planning sorted to get get everything going. And I wonder, from your end of the scale where you’re looking at Suffolk, where I used to live, which is quite flat and full of chemicals, but otherwise really nice. Oh my gosh. Yeah, you come to Shropshire, please. It would be great. We’ll we’ll do something about.

 Alice: I’m coming!

 Manda: How do you see getting people back to the land? Are there enough young people that you know who really want to? There aren’t like my ex girlfriend’s ex ex-girlfriend generation who saw how hard it was and ran for central heating and weekends off.

 Alice: Hmm. Ooh, I don’t know. But you know, that’s where an opportunity starts, isn’t it? That’s where the kind of experimentation and the building starts and it is horribly exhausting. And I’ve just been so lucky to have the right nurturing to kind of debrief all of that exhaustion and I think that is the crucial bit. And um, yeah, this…we’re going to have to change laws. And, you know, that just means kind of doing illegal stuff, doesn’t it, for a bit.

 Manda: Tell that to Priti Patel. Yes..

 Alice: I think young people… My life is exhausting. I don’t have weekends off.

 Manda: Okay. Right. Because your self employed? And you’re working because you have to make ends meet in London?


Alice: Yeah. And I have children. You know, I wonder if they changed their perspective slightly when they started to think about wanting to have children, because that massively changes your basically how hard you work and what your potential is!

 Manda: How much sleep you can live without…

 Alice: Yes. I think I’ve always been drawn to working with young people. I think the trick is trying to do it with your mates, trying to do it with your peers. Whereas if you try and do it with, like you’re saying with young people, that would be where I start my experimentation, I suppose. Because my eldest daughter is 21 and she is living home with us now. And honestly, the burden of work on me has reduced significantly by her being around. And I think that intergenerational thing, we just we can’t really imagine it. Our, well my parents, our parents, God bless my parents, you know, wanted me to leave as soon as possible! And I did!

 Manda: Yep give us our house back. Go and have your independence!

 Alice: Don’t leave Bethany! Well, no, not obviously. She’s absolutely free to follow her path and go where she needs to go. But honestly, I’ve always had young people working in my businesses always had that, that amazing interaction of energy. But also, I try to avoid hierarchies wherever possible.

 Manda: Does that work for you? Because this is another conversation that I have with the the rich people that I know, going we need to get horizontalism and they’re going, ‘Oh, that wouldn’t work. You need the people at the top to tell the people at the bottom what to do.’ I think, well, really, are you sure about that? And so it works horizontalism actually works. Can we put that in the public domain?

 Alice: Yeah, I freakin love horizontalism. I think like my research or my practise, this kind of embodied exploration of ideas has maybe allowed me to… I want to say, like meet with a peasant ancestry in a way that I didn’t think I would. And it has, you know, all sorts of dimensions to it. But it is just like finding out about them. And then  you know, my empathy just kind of hooks onto that. And what I can imagine as their life then builds, grows, in a sense. And I do not want even Daniel Schmachtenberger turning up at my Commons owned mill and saying, Oh yeah, we’re doing some bureaucracy, can we have 20 percent of your money, please?

 Manda: Although Daniel Scmachtenberger is a God,

 Alice: Obviously, but, even he is not allowed to come and tell me how to weave fabric!!

 Manda: Ok, all right. This is really interesting. All right. So I just finished reading David Graeber’s The Beginning of Everything. The Dawn of everything.

 Alice: Wow.I haven’t read it.

 Manda: So really, really worth it. And quite near the beginning, he’s discussing quite a long series of books that were written by a French Jesuit who had had conversations with the people we call the Huron, and they call the Wendat. And one of the Hurun had been to France as a diplomat, basically one nation to another. And then came back and was gobsmacked, astonished and the two things that astonished him were, You have poor people on your streets. How does that happen? You have people who are destitute and have no money and no food. How does that happen? How do you allow that to happen? Point one. Point two: and you have a hierarchy where people tell you what to do? You know, the God, tells the pope, who tells the bishops who tells everybody else and they tell you and you tell the women who are always at the bottom and you have this hierarchy and you’re terrified of the people above you. And nobody tells me what to do. Nobody tells any of us what to do. And I think reading that was so interesting, because the Wendat lived in cities. And I had up until then got this kind of resilient inner concept of: there were forager hunters who lived free and then agriculture happened and we began to have hierarchies and that was a disaster. And one of the big belief systems that that Graeber’s book is unpicking for me is that agriculture means hierarchy. And,he’s going no it doesn’t, even cities don’t mean hierarchy. We can avoid hierarchy. So we’re beginning to touch on…you said we need to change the laws. And you said that the people who believe in capitalism are not ever going to accept the alternatives. And for me, this whole year is about how do we craft the alternatives that will work? And then shift from here to there without there being extraordinary amounts of bloodshed or indeed any bloodshed ideally.

 Manda: We have to have the revolution and it has to be peaceful. So you strike me as someone who’s thought very deeply about this. If I were to say, OK, Alice, we’re going to create this and we’re going to make it happen. Do you have a vision of a future that we can get to, that works.

 Alice: If I kind of go into that place of, you know, like sort of imagination, which I think is where all sort of design and creativity starts. You kind of, even if you’re designing a dress, right, you’re imagining this party that you’re at and people are saying, ‘Wow, that dress looks really nice’ or whatever it is. So you go to that place. I do think that most creatives have that ability. I only really I don’t go to a global place. I just go to the village community that I’m part of. It’s small. And I’ve been inspired by you’re talking about wanting to have the writing group. So I have been sort of spending more time in that place and writing some things of what might happen there. I feel like one of the key pieces is the small group nurturing that brings people into the space of their joy work and their heart work and builds that kind of emotional resilience to it. Because I just… When I speak to people and they’re like, no, no, no. I this get this sense of kind of oppressive weakness of kind of resolve. And you know, like people saying, ‘I love central heating’, it’s like to me, I don’t want to be mean, but that’s quite soft to be so wedded to a radiator.

 Alice: Whereas actually I’m not here to even try and convince them because I probably think there is a way that they can have a city flat and some central heating, whilst I happily live in a village with a fire. I, you know, sort of you know, don’t need everyone to do what I want to do. And I guess that’s probably the crux of it for me; is humanness is uniqueness and individuality, and you have been born with something very specific that you gift to a community or that becomes your contribution to a community. And most people, I think, never get the chance to explore that and have that nurtured within them because it’s not like it just emerges and then you go and do it. You have to go through that whole process of of being told it’s OK, I suppose, over and over again and kind of growing into that space. And I just hear mostly an expression of values which are about kind of centralised success, large scale attention capture, you know, like kind of radiating onto yourself lots of positive feedback from a huge number of people. And I sort of feel like that’s very unhealthy and actually those deep connexions where you get your positive feedback, but it’s from people who really do know you, like…

 Manda: Yes, yes, people that you respect and whose respect you want, who you actually know well enough to know that it’s real.

 Alice: Yeah, right. And you can interact with them in like a really meaningful way. That’s the biggest gift that making bras has been for me is, is that very personal you’ve literally made that a bit better; They’re literally grateful for that. The end. And I think I just I want to live in that place. And I sort of in a tiny way, I sort of do. In that I do live in a city and people make stuff for each other, and I do go and buy the locally made kimchi from the local grocery shop. And that’s like a massive privilege, and I do understand that. But for me, it’s like, OK, so now we just do this without an economic system where we pay rent. Da-da!

 Manda: Without the commodification of Land labour and capital.

 Alice: Yeah, and Land seems to be the the initial bit that then all the rest of it stems from. And and we hope to move on to something which will probably be very small because it’s really important to be mortgage free. And in order to really be free to to do the, you know, to do the regen work and that kind of thing. Yeah. So I guess for me, it’s like it’s tiny scale. It’s like bringing your brain back down from a sort of like even like council level. Down to like, Ok, well, let’s start a small group with five people.

 Manda: Yeah. And we end up with Schmachtenbergers frequently referred to dunbar number of 150 of being that’s the size of tribe that we are Neurochemically able to cope with.

 Alice: That feels very real.

 Manda: But but even then, that’s quite a lot. And exactly you start off with your five people and those five people each know five people. And within very few iterations of that, you’ve got to you’re dunbar number, and that’s as many as you can cope with. And then you have to find ways to link the the tribes. Which again, reading Graeber, there seems to be lots of models of how that has happened. The interesting thing with that book was he and his co-author started off with the question of how did inequality happen? And very quickly realised that that was the wrong question. And that the question was how did we in the West capitalist system get stuck in a system where we allowed hierarchies to exist when so many other social technologies in so many other places created systems to ensure that hierarchies could not happen. That no one person could take power or a series of people or a group of people could ever take power and hold it for any length of time.

 Alice: Yeah. And I honestly feel that the peasants had that for a long, for a really long period, hundreds and hundreds of years, even after William the Conqueror invaded. It was negotiation. And negotiation is about scale, you know, because you have to have a… Schmachtenberger also talks about like symmetry of power, right? And so you’ve got to have a bit of that in order to hold your lord accountable to the law and you’re accountable to the law. You know, and I think negotiation is one of the kind of key technologies that we can start building now before we ever get hold of the Land or change the planning laws or but that’s the kind of crucial bit is realising that you have the right to negotiate and then developing that ability within yourself to negotiate effectively and the kind of resilience of mind. And I think everything you do with the meditation, all of that seems to tend towards that kind of resilience of mind that that facilitates ongoing negotiation and keeps it all bubbling nicely, not simmering over

 Manda: And finding people to group with. Because the symmetry of power is all about numbers. If one guy can command armies and does, then there needs to be a balance of numbers of people on the other side. And one of the things that I’ve always found quite difficult about the, for instance, the Starhawk book The Fifth Sacred Thing was that her answer to the people with the power in the armies, was simply for people to walk into the gunfire until the guy’s firing got to the point where they weren’t prepared to kill any more people. And I’m not sure that point ever actually happens.

 Alice: Maybe. But also rich people don’t want to clean their own toilet. And I think that’s kind of the crucial thing with labour power, is that the reason that the Commons, one of the struggles within the Commons was that the Lords wanted the commoners to do work for them. If they hadn’t needed the commoners, they probably wouldn’t have bothered with enclosing the commons.

 Manda: Right. And we are heading to a point technologically where quite soon the people with lots of money won’t need the Commons. I think. Because there will actually be people, you know, robots that can sew their bras for them well enough.

 Alice: No, I don’t reckon

 Manda: Do you not? But there will be things that can… Already there’s drones that can plant. So there are technological industrial farmers who don’t need any people on their land. I think it’s horrendous, but it happens. There will be, we’re already looking at robot surgeons, you know, it’s got to the point where you don’t need levels of health care because you can algorithmically assess your blood status and something that actually has access to banks of data far better than your average medick will work out what you need. I think quite soon, we might well get to the point… At the moment, we’re at the point where what they need us as most is consumers and suppliers of mass data to be farmed, to be able to sell us more stuff. And if I were one of the one percent, I would be looking at closing that loop. You know, I don’t really need you masses of people to be buying lots of stuff in order to make me money, because actually the money isn’t real. I think they do know that. And if we get rid of the 99 percent, the one percent can live quite happily on their own and have a robot cleaning their toilet. And we’re not there yet. But I think it’s not that far off.

 Alice: I don’t reckon

 Manda: That’s very good because my yeah, if I go along that thought experiment, I get to the point where they just say, You know, we don’t need all these people. Let’s get rid of them.

 Alice: I mean, honestly, that seems ideal because we could do so much better without the one percent interfering all the time. And in a way, I sort of feel like that was part of the negotiation. The peasants were so embedded in their own culture. I get the sense of a kind of like, ‘Oh, who cares what they’re doing in the manor you know, it’s nothing to do with us. We don’t even like that disgusting wine and those dresses get in the way. And that carding machine is actually way more annoying than just doing it by hand like we’ve always done’. So in fact, the one percent going to Mars to me seems like best case scenario.

 Manda: Oh sure they could go fry on Mars. That would be fantastic. My worry is that they decide to just wipe out everybody else and get rid of them and then have a rewilded planet on which they exist in, you know, tiny little enclaves of happiness.

 Alice: Did you hear that thing where it turned out that AI was actually just poor people in India on computers?

 Manda: Haha That’s a possibility. But I know a number of computeroids and I think AI quantum computing is almost here.

 Alice: Well, I come back to the crisis point of the body again. It’s like I’ve never interacted that well with Western medicine because I have, you know, I don’t break bones or anything. It’s just that I might have a skin issue.

 Manda: And then homeopathy or herbalism is going to be much more …or Acupuncture, yes.

 Alice: Yes, right. And Western medicine isn’t even trying to solve that.

Manda: No, that’s true.

 Alice: I feel like one of the things again, you were talking about this earlier with the smallholding. One of the things that it’s a bit nerve racking is like, damn it, we just we’ve lost generations of herbal knowledge. I don’t know how much wormwood to take,

 Manda: But there are people getting it back. They’re really doing a really amazing work of gathering that back and bringing it into the 21st century. So that I think, you know, there is a movement towards exactly that holistic medicine, holistic food.

 Alice: I’ve used the word joy already a zillion times, but ultimately we don’t do enough of just making that those small moments of absolute exuberant brilliance that I actually I am so lucky to tap those so often that I feel quite relaxed. And I feel like the future. Well, what I do now is so fulfilling for me; I’m really excited about the things that I’m doing this year. Of course, I come up against obstacles. Of course I come up against the kind of that despair of like, I’m never going to be able to buy the jackard loom that is going to make this all so brilliant, of course. But ultimately, I think in that kind of meditative ..I don’t do meditation, but I did think about, OK, digging into my feelings of wonder, my feelings of joy. And if Jeff Bezos is going to wipe me out in 10 years because he wants to live on his own. I’ve had a really great life till now. And I think that’s all, you know, that’s kind of all I can hope for. And where I’m at with it, I suppose

 Manda: No that is really good. And I think as we’re wrapping up because I did lead us just because I was interested, I don’t often get the chance to spark off someone who’s really thought about things. But let’s look back at London Urban Textiles Commons, which we never actually got to. We got as far as the Black Pants Club, and because you’re doing really exciting things, you had your sweatshop, you had your space In Between Festival. I loved the sweatshop idea. So tell us as we’re closing because you are doing extraordinary things that other people can begin to build similar things in their communities. So tell us a little bit about London Urban Textiles Commons, how it arose, who’s in it and what it’s doing.

 Alice: Ok, so it’s really early stage. I just want to premise that, but that means that we’re in that experimentation. We I think it’s really important to share the experimentation level because actually, I follow a lot of Austrum’s work and it’s like, don’t try to to just, you know, reapply what someone else did, you need to adapt it to your unique situation?  So we’re happy to kind of go on that journey with people. If they want to start something, please get in touch and we will share what we know and it would be great to have other people feeding into what we’re doing. The basic premise is that machinery is kind of cool in its way. I don’t actually know at what level it is totally appropriate for the best possible human experience, but that’s another thing that we need to experiment with. So let’s try and get our hands on some machinery and create hyper local textiles production supply chain, where we share machinery in common. Because at the moment, mass production tends to scale. Capitalism tends to scale. All of these things tend to scale. And so kind of the deep innovation or the the most innovation can’t be done because you’ve got ten thousand minimum order quantity on something that you want knitted by a mill. So if we can bring that back down and get access to these machines, we can just create new systems, basically. And that’s what we’re aiming to do. Yeah, and like you’re saying, gather that group who want to work together on stuff.

 Alice: And so alongside, I work with Debbie, who’s a dyer. Natural dying is really fascinating because it’s just so simple. But it’s like you can you can just link it up immediately. You can plant some seeds, grow some woad, dye some fabric. You can see the whole process play out. And yeah, it’s just a great experience. I feel like I’d like to give more people an experience of how stuff is made. I was really inspired by what you were saying about the hippocampus and like how it gets shrunk and needing to kind of expand it for people again. And I feel like those experiential practises are that kind of like this poor shrunken Hippocampus starts to kind of, you know, like, Oh, I can do that. Oh, wait, I could do this. I could do that.

 You know, it’s always what it’s been for me. So Sweatshop is the idea that we have an overlocker attached to a bike and we can make a sweatshirt on the street. We’ve done it on the street a couple of times. We can do it at festivals.

 Manda: How does it go? How do people? So first, we need to say an over locker is basically a sewing machine, for people who don’t know. And so you cycle the sewing machine and cycle this bike and it runs the sewing machine and you can make your own sweatshirt, to your own size that you have carefully created a pattern going, You’re this shape and this size. Here’s a pattern. Make your own sweatshirt as we speak. How do people respond to that?

 Alice: Um, you know, it’s really interesting because what I’ve realised is that clothing is written off so much of the time. Like anything female or feminine, right, or like anything relating to the body, anything relating to the domestic is written off as like ‘uh it’s just clothes’. But actually, it’s so crucial to people’s experience of the world. So there’s a real kind of like negotiation going on where someone’s like, ‘Am I going to do this? What does that mean? You know, what does how does that affect my status? How does that does this make me, you know, cooler or not as cool because that girl’s just going to make it now?’ You know, and kind of like a little bit, not in a big way, but a little bit kind of tapping or, you know, sort of just poking that side of it with people. We try and do it with just loads of warmth. They work so much better if we make the sweatshirts for children because people can separate themselves once from the wearing of the garment. Which is just so interesting for me. But I think also what people love and this is what I love too, is the belt on the bike runs off the back wheel and it just drives the motor within the machine. And it just hugely demystifies an engineering process that most people haven’t even considered. And suddenly it’s like, what? That just does that?

 Manda: Oh, really? Right?

 Alice: That’s really like, I love seeing that and I love it too. It is great to watch it going round and round. And, you know, it’s quite hypnotic. The spokes on the bike and then the machine. We’re trying to get funding now to to make a perspex housing on the actual overlocker so that you can see the insides of the machine, the cogs and the eyes moving against each other. Because that is just..

 Manda: Really clever

 Alice: Right? And I feel as we learn to be more human, we remember that that’s the stuff we did in Victorian times. Before a computer even existed, people made sewing machines on lathes by hand. I found this like incredible article about a Singer factory. And they, like, rented the benches. They went in, they rented their bench and someone would be at the forge. I don’t know. Forging a nut.

 Manda: Wow. Making the the sewing machines. Yes, of course.

 Alice: Incredible. And I just feel like that is part of our reason for being in the world.

 Manda: So Sweatshop started last July. When did London Urban Textile Commons come into being?

 Alice: Well, OK. I finished my master’s in Design for the Cultural Commons in June. And then we kind of started it just kind of straight after that. I’d been working with some natural dyers before that. A really great one called Zoe Burt in Brixton, and then I was in touch with Debbie, and then we wanted a kind of urban expression of the Fibre Shed movement, I guess, or but also something that was very much about like, ‘join in and be part of it, come and join in’, because sometimes those movements, it’s a bit hard to sort of, I don’t know, interact with them. Especially because even England is absolutely insanely massive and there’s a lot of people in it and we can do so much more if those people can take part in things.

 Alice: I think one of the things that we really want to build next year is a small group for kind of tying up purpose and heart work with a creative practise. So I guess like blurring creative and spiritual practise and just kind of nurturing that in people. Because even I, speaking to my coach, and we’d drawn this weird diagram of my career where I am in the middle. And then there was just all these bizarre spokes going off it, you know, there wasn’t really a coherence and she was like, ‘That’s good’. And I  was like, no one’s ever said, That’s good.

 Manda: Yeah, for coach. Well done

 Alice: So then it felt like, OK, other people need to feel like being intuitive. Making random explorative journeys into stuff is good, too. And also, I think to get people to sort of semi work together or cooperate, you also have to have done so much sort of like, ‘Ok, no,I don’t know if that person really meant that’, you know, like, don’t be angry. You know, all of that sort of stuff that just keeps it flowing.

 Manda: The communication technologies. The kind of social technology and this is one of the things that’s really interesting is it seems to me that we had that. The Wendat, the Huron when the Jesuit priest came, they’d all been trained in kind of Jesuit dialectics, and it was something that only very highly trained men could possibly do. And even then, some of them weren’t very good at it, and they went amongst the Wendat and the kids could do this better than they could. Because what they did, their their kind of form of group entertainment was to sit down and have a debate about what was going on. That was how they sorted stuff out. And so you learnt it from when you were a child. And by the time you were kind of going through your rites of passage, you knew how to interact with people in a way that was honest and had integrity and said what you needed to say and heard what they needed to say and worked out something that worked for all of you. And the Jesuits were gobsmacked that these people could do this. How does that happen, God? And so we do know how, but we just lost it. There’s something about how do we help people to refind that capacity to communicate in ways that aren’t 280 characters of screaming at each other? Yes. Or whatever the younger generation does, because, you know, tick tock, tick tock videos are screaming at each other that lead to an epidemic of suicide. So have you got ideas? How do people, first of all, how would people contact you if they want to be part of this amazing bringing crafting and spirituality together? How would they get in touch?

 Alice: Just email us. If anybody who makes websites would like to be involved.

 Manda: But you do have a mailing list. Our New York, London.

 Alice: Yes, exactly. And yeah, absolutely. And people, especially in Brixton or Hackney, because we would love to do as much of it face to face. And people outside of those two areas, we’d be really keen on linking up, but ultimately you starting something. And we would do as much as we can to kind of develop how to make, how to facilitate that. And yeah, I think like just relaxing the sort of worry instinct. Just, yeah, moving into this like open space, it has to be done in this like troubleshooting, you know, really quite intense way, I think, because otherwise you do… You move into these kind of privileged conversations about what’s possible for someone with, you know, a trust fund to do, which isn’t the case for other people. And I’m not interested in that, but I do feel like we can. Push through some of these barriers, if we work quite intensively on it on a small scale, and so if you’re feeling like there isn’t the space, I can’t do it, then let’s have conversations about that because what’s helped me. Is to just kind of talk all of that through and unpick it and work out, right how do I make these changes? You know, strategize. Quite like the minutiae of it? Almost. That’s the thing I’d like to try. I really want everyone to try whatever it is that they think is a good idea, but that’s the one I’m going to have a go at.

 Manda: Yeah. And you’re there with enough experience of making stuff work to be able to help people as a kind of seed project. Get them started wherever they are in the world. Because this isn’t just Britain or the U.K., it’s everywhere. Getting people into these small tribes of people who care about each other and want to make stuff that’s beautiful and brings them joy and change the emotional dynamic of the world. It sounds so exciting honestly.

 Alice: Thank you. I am exited! Just, oh, thank you so much for inviting me on, because it’s such a pleasure to kind of have a chance to explain what we’re doing and sort of expand it out of our small group, which I’m very pleased to work in. But you know, it’s all helps. All of those levels help with your feeling of the possibilities and the potential. And yeah, keeping being open to that. So thank you so much.

 Manda: You’re so welcome. It’s been such a pleasure. I have so enjoyed this. So thank you very much, Alice Holloway for coming on to the Accidental Gods podcast, and I have no doubt that we will talk again at some point in the future. Thank you.

 Manda: And that’s it for another week. Enormous thanks to Alice for really delving so deeply and with such heart and such commitment to the joy of living and to the joy of connectivity and to the actual practical ways that we can bring people together to make the clothes that we live in, to make the food that we eat, to create a future that works and doesn’t depend on mass production and machinery. And AI. It was such an inspiring conversation, and I do hope that came across. And if you want to connect with Alice, I am putting into the show notes. You can click it and you can join the email list, or you can connect with her and build your own local textiles commons based on her model. So thank you, Alice. As ever, we will be back next week with another conversation.

 Manda: And in the meantime, thanks to Caro C for the sound production and the music at the head and foot. Thanks to Faith Tilleray for the website and for making everything happened behind the scenes. Thanks to Anne Thomas for the transcripts and thanks to you for listening. We absolutely would not be here without you. And if you know of anybody else who really wants to be part of the generative dance of the world, then as always, please do send them this link. And that’s it for now. See you next week. Thank you and goodbye.


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Answers to the Questions of life: Biomimicry, Complexity and Peacebuilding with Dr Deborah Benham

Deborah Benham is a trained Biomimicry Educator and with a background in Jon Young’s Deep Nature Connection work. She shares a practical, experiential lived and living toolkit to help us build thriving human societies, cultures, communities and businesses, designing with and as nature, creating mutual benefit for all life, using tech in life affirming ways, and uplifting justice, kindness and cooperation.


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