Pop-Up Foundation and Black Architecture need YOU to help build an eco-school.

Last night Alison and I re-told the story to the 350 plus attendees at the annual awards dinner.

Now it’s time to get involved.

As Victoria Knowles from 2 Degrees blogged on the 2degrees site ’Whatever materials or services you can offer, we want to hear from you. Do you want to be part of the legacy? What do you get when you put an Architect, a Professor and an IBM Marketing Manager together with a few glasses of wine at a 2degrees awards ceremony? I’m sure you’ve already heard the legacy of the 2degrees Awards, but if you haven’t, here’s a quick recap. That night, Paul Clarke and Alison Hall at the Pop-Up Foundation left with more than the crown for Solution of the Year – they ran into Black Architecture’s Paul Hinkin, uttered those fateful words, “How would you like to design and build a school in Uganda?” and the idea was born.

We are now at the next stage of the project – its ready to roll – BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!!

The school will be built in Parabong, Northern Uganda, is community-managed using locally sourced materials and technology. The school has also been considered with hygiene in mind: It has long been recognised that female education is the key to unlocking development, yet currently most girls leave school when they reach puberty due to a lack of basic sanitation. One of the first actions in making the school will be the sinking of a borehole to provide a supply of water for drinking and personal hygiene. Since then, Paul Hinkin has flown to Uganda to visit a number of schools to understand the challenges that the team would need to overcome in building their school, as well as the materials and techniques local farmers use to build their own homes.

Now, we need you – in whatever capacity you can afford:

General · Financial support to project manage, build, resource and run the school. ·

Technical engineering support and guidance · Set of construction resources to fabricate on site, including a brick making machine and an earth mover/digger · Boots on the ground in the form of volunteers, staff expertise and assignments

Classrooms · Specialist help in creating good air quality / airflow for cool rooms and effective acoustics in the rooms ·

Natural Light solutions · Durable internal fittings for students to sit, study and socialise. ·

Internet capability so the kids can link to the outside world

Lavatories · Technical support on the most efficient form of water capture / management and flow for flushing systems avoiding malaria problems · Expertise on anaerobic digestions solutions to transform the waste into gas for cooking and fertiliser for the land

Kitchen · Solar technology support / biogas engineering support · Off grid-Food storage units ·

Food production support / growing food on scale for the school to become sustainable as a food secure environment. Can you help with the above, or anything else?

Contact us via hello@pop-up-foundation.org or call us +44 07590470553

Last week Pop-Up-Foundation was at OuiShare and Paul spoke in a panel session with colleagues across Europe and from Australia on the theme of reinventing the Urban: Agriculture and Food Production it was a great session and some brilliant projects, look forward to the next time.


Thoughts on the recent trip to Australia and Hong Kong  - it was perhaps best described as a gardening trip – cultivating ideas in many places, and the experiment we were undertaking was gardening as a form of radical culture management.

Harbour viewworking across some really different settings gets you thinking about ‘what is happening here’

in each location there is a connection with the land, but in each place Adelaide, Alice Spings, Uluru, Hong Kong (urban and rural) it is remarkably different.

There is a phenomenology of place, which is shaping the relationship with land.

It is in every case passionate and committed, but it differs wildly in how it then translates into action.

Gardening – structurally and socially engaging with landscape is a fluid experience. It gives us a sense of place and of connection and can be a powerful endorsement and identifier of community.


It has common value across lots of different contexts, so there are perhaps some univerals – gardening gives us a great sense of creative engagement, it connects us to places, it connects us to our commuity through the climate, the soil, the plants.

It involves us in working within certain value structures – whether it is rural or urban – in the urban it makes the physical engagement with place push towards the cultural norm of value and belonging. If I put time in to this piece of land am I in efect investing into a location. And if that is the case does this then begin to have a value of that investment?

This is not the relationship with the land that I sensed in my work in the desert places, nor in Ark Eden. But move to cities and land has a completely other, economic meaning.

Enclosing what is belonging to everyone, land, as something which has personal ownrship, changes our relationship with nature.


Conflicts arise from the relationship – they can be environmental, social, physical, emotional and environmental. What happens depends in part on what relationship we wish to have with land, and this, in turn is conditioned by our social and cultural relationship with place and spaces.

The connections then, from place to place, are more than transfers of knowledge of action, they are cultural transactions related to the meanings of how we interpret the world around us. They are how we end up seeing.

Im not sure at all as yet we have really worked out how to see how other people see stuff, it is all about their gardening strategies, this forms their social identity.image









Collaboration is in my mind following the latest trips worldwide with the Foundation. IMG_2165 Ive posted this before, but it is worth another look at the furry caterpiller working together to solve a problem. The first thee months of 2014 were characterised by making connections and the power of community  - creating the links across a growing network of schools and exploring with them the ideas first captured by John D Lui in his work Hope in a Changing Climate, and the BIG idea of creating actions which can, when connected together, provide epic wins – much bigger than we could do on our own. We visited people and places around the world following requests to work and share our ideas with schools and communities. This was the basic plan of action, finding ways of making the ordinary extraordinary. photo It was a busy but hugely rewarding period of development for the Foundation, where we learnt much more about the processes and motivations underlying people’s interest in responding to poverty, climate and environmental change, and enhancing social justice through the emancipatory role of education.

Logic Turns on Circumstances Wherever our project finds itself engaging with people on the ground one presistent factor seems to glare out at us, that the logic of places is totally dependent upon the prevaling circumstances in which these communities find themselves. It is an obvious observation, but it makes the point that networks really do matter, so that we can begin to see the operating devices adopted worldwide across all sorts of different commuitiesin response to their local circumstance, and through the sharing of insights with others, we begin to be able to reconstruct with a slightly different ecological edge to the template. Without the perspective of others it is very easy to get drawn to a mono-culture perspective, and what is quite clear is that single solutions are not going to be the way forward. Some general themes were the focus of the visits made to Australia and Hong Kong looking into the way that new forms of collaboration could energise the school community to come through with creative, critically focused and constructive plans of activity for their school communities. In our vists the underlying theme was the idea of the epic win, and the processes of clarifying and focusing upon essentials and value, rather than simply consuming without reason. Establishing anything like a network across lots of different places is a great presumption, what we have done is to generate communities of interest around our work, who in their own distinctive ways are then developing interesting responses and exploring how they might connect between and across the different groupings.


It was really exciting to get back to Adelaide, Alice Springs and Uluru and meet up with many great friends who work there. The recent trip to meet and work with them in the school networks of South Australia and Northern Territory went really well. We now have a growing network of schools with whom we are working in South Australia, where we were invited to support a series of enquiry meetings with school principals and system leaders and two full-day workshops looking into the ways that each school can dream, generate hope, and act to make substantive sustainable change to their community. photo At the smaller workshops we asked each participant to bring along something edible form home or locally grown which could be shared during the day – we were overwhelmed with sumptious carrot cake, home grown salads and breads, it was wonderful. We also shared coffee that was badged by Padiham Green School children and shared the story from the coffee as an example of how simple and practical connections through education, farming and trade could generate resource revenue to help fund other locally conceived eco-projects…we are now in the process of developing a solution to get coffee up and going as part of the networks activity in South Australia with the Catholic Education SA team. BiCyDNZIYAAlu1ACoffee from our project photoNetwork meeting with 180 staff from South Australia Catholic Schools – a great day of thinking and plotting together! We now have plans to meet monthly on skype with the coordinating group and continue sharing the development in the coming months as the plans begin to be implemented. Moving on to Alice Springs and a week in the hot dry desert landscape of central region, it was great to get back and catch up with friends working in the Yipirinya School – a place of many languages and cultures which reflects the locality of Alice Sprigs as a connecting point in the region.


Working with this community is always a warm and inspiring experience. Particularly special this time was sitting with Marjorie Williams (Luritja) Sarah-Lee Fishook (Warlpiri) Jennifer Inkamala (Western Arernte) mobs, along with Gail Barker from AISNT and Heather Jeffries the language instructor. Jennifer (in the black T shirt) is a leading expert on honey ants and has recently made a film about taking the children to find them.photo 2 http://youtu.be/jwzzbjYHC3w We are working on a planned permaculture development here with the school staff involved in the growing project, this will include a bush medicine site and a bush tucker site including bush banana, bush onion, bush tomato, bush raisins, and medicine to include Emunca (my favourite) and Arada. Up then to Uluru BjVWYfjCMAA4dZr BjVWgN4CcAAVpLF BjVWTGDCAAAzY90 BjVWm3iCMAAVisMand meeting with the staff from Nyangatjatjara College, Uluru. Amongst the highlights of this leg of the trip was the fabulous soccer game during which three goals were expertly notched away by the visiting Pom, however age gave way and the remainder of teh game was spent hobbling rather a lot! Pictures to come I am told! There are some extraordinary desert growing experiment projects underway at the school, in temperatures hitting 45 degrees and over the system created from old junk is so simple, it operates as a wicking system drawing water from a reserviour under the growing bed which occasionally needs topping up, but only occasionally. The results are astonshing, abundant vegetables which are all consumed eagerly in the school lunch room on a daily basis. imageimage another highlight was a trip to the rock Uluru, it is simply spectacular. The students who came with us all had video cameras and recorded the trip and are making a film together of the day. The relationship of people and place is often overplayed what I love about working with the mob at Uluru is that they are utterly down to earth and no more so than the students. Quote of the trip came inside a painted cave with ancient images on the ceiling ” this is our art room!” on to a week in Hong Kong and Ark Eden, where I spoke at the annual sustainability conference at Renaissance College, and had the pleasure of meeting some inspiring student teams doing great sustainability work across Hong Kong, and also staying with Jenny at the wonderful and inspiring ark Eden site. I spoke during the week at the Ellen MacArthur education conference via webinar to the uk from the top of a huge tower buildings overlooking the harbour Harbour viewof Hong Kong.imageimageimage