In February, we set out to build a vision of the future in the grounds of Compton Verney. Now, nine months later, as you walk through the gate into The Clearing, you’ll find the following:
You’ll find a dome, by a lake, in the shadow of a stately home. With bins and wood and signs and useful things leant against it, and smoke drifting out of the chimney.
You’ll find the things we’ve built and the things we’ve learnt surrounding the dome: cob ovens, compost toilets and chicken coops; water filters, radio antennas and the chickens themselves. Inside the dome, you’ll spy the mead and the pop we’ve made and shared.
If you knock on the door, you might meet a caretaker: a volunteer, a normal human being, who’s come to spend a week living in the future. If they’re in the mood, they might tell you how they’ve spent their time: fishing, darning, growing, chopping wood. Or perhaps they’ll show you the things they’ve built: green-wood chairs, drainage racks, kingfisher perches, and, notably, a wheelie-bin hot tub.
And perhaps, if you’re luckiest of all, you’ll glimpse the community that has grown up around The Clearing. The caretakers, the workshop participants, the volunteers, the children, all of whom keep coming back here to meet each other, and to share their hopes, fears, knowledge and lunch.
Now, today, nine months later, The Clearing has become what we always hoped it would be: a living, breathing thing. A physical place where people can step outside the modern world, to imagine what the future might feel like, to sit in it, sleep in it, cook in it, work in it, and share that experience with one another.
So thank you.