Beyond the unique educational opportunities it offers in mathematics, art, and philosophy, Nesin Villages has become a turning point with the culture of commons it has brought to the communities. Activities of any level and range can take place simultaneously in the village. Nesin Villages includes many voices and takes intersectional, more-than-human, and local perspectives. It is only through commitment to engagement beyond age, socioeconomic classes, ethnicities, political views, and religious beliefs that education platforms can transcend their boundaries and be sustainably relevant to real people and communities in an ever-changing world. Unpretentious spatial structures, such as the residential houses made out of rock, straw, and clay, as well as the kitchen and cafeterias, gardens, carpentry shops, and ceramic atelier, can accommodate more than 400 people, and more capacity is a constant need. Şirince, where Nesin Village is located, is a small district of İzmir, on the Aegean side of Turkey, and known for its indigenous foods such as olives, figs, and olive oil. The valley where Nesin Villages has been located for fifteen years became an alternative educational district when fellows like Arkhe and Stoa were established.
The Station: Nesin Villages Association(The Station) was founded by its volunteers to develop projects that would meet the other needs of the village and carried out projects focused on artistic production and ecology in this direction. The Station, is a hybrid community driven by the past and former participants of the Nesin Villages. As students, coordinators, volunteers, and instructors; we are organizing programs, creating modules, and designing collective experiences with different groups and concepts.
This project aims to provide a holistic approach as well as a new narrative about sustainability in the local community of Şirince, where Nesin Villages is located. Considering the influx of thousands of young people into the valley each year, a program that takes an ecological restoration perspective is imperative since it sets a precedent for future actions. In this aspect, volunteers of Nesin Villages often discuss issues such as reducing consumption, recycling waste, and consuming what can be recycled in their village. Water, energy, and waste cycle problems are becoming increasingly problematic as the village's population increases every year.
The proposed project will be taking place in Nesin Villages a notable location to attract the younger generation and the spaces around that have the potential to engage with holistic approaches which take into account the significance of recognition of global warming. While carrying out the project, it is aimed that experts, artists and initiatives in this field come together to strengthen the project and support its sustainability.
Artistic Approaches on Ecological Repair
Supporting the New Upcycling System through Solidarity Garden within Permaculture Ethic
This project will also establish a permaculture garden in an area determined by the village. In this way, we inquire into what Nesin Villages, an alternative education institution focused on basic sciences, art, and philosophy, can learn from a garden in harmony with nature. IyiEkim, a social enterprise with which we previously collaborated on the Ecological Repair project of Nesin Station, will assist us in understanding the profound details of permaculture ethics. It is a systematic approach to creating eco-friendly, resilient, and productive systems that can be applied anywhere and anytime. It is an ethical framework for creating sustainable ways of living and developing ecologically harmonious, diverse, and resilient systems. A permaculture approach empowers people to become resourceful and autonomous. A holistic approach to food production takes into account both tangible and intangible needs like creating communities and minimizing environmental impact. In this activity, participants will learn the basic principles of sustainable living and permaculture design through classroom sessions, outdoor practice, and team-building exercises.
Weaving: Gathering Around a Dinner Table with Civic Initiatives to Think to Empower Ourselves
This activity used the legacies of other artists who used food as a social tool to create a sense of belonging and create a collective focus but also to define public space. A dinner table is a place for establishing a relationship among equals. In this way, we expect to raise questions about production and consumption and the climate crisis and to open up a dialogue on how we can work together. This type of collaboration between civil initiatives, grassroots organizations and individuals and creating new languages is similar to weaving in the way it reveals new means of relationship.
Building a New Upcycling System in Nesin Villages
A preliminary project at Nesin Station on Ecological Repair and a summer school at Nesin Art Village on sustainable production used and established methods of ‘care’ by walking, oral interviews, documentation, mapping, and establishing new narratives and motivating more people to take action for the village's hidden counterparts such as non-human actors and locals. It is intended that waste will be handled as part of the production cycle in this project. For this activity, a professional with experience in creating user-friendly solutions in the public sphere will be invited to the village. We will explore the waste cycles of the village while collaborating with the village users on new initiatives, proposals and collaborations in this small-scale rural settlement. This documentation provides the basis for creating practical solutions, spatial, organizational, or circular activities, and workshops as project outputs.
Artist Resicendcy on
A local artist will be invited to the village to observe these activities and outputs and to produce art inspired by them. An established curator and writer working in this field will mentor the artist throughout the process. The works of the artist will be displayed in the village after they have spent a month there. In conjunction with the exhibition, we will also use the presentation on social media to increase interaction.
Climate Cultures Call
The Climate Cultures Call was a special call responding to urgent challenges at the interface of climate protection and social justice. We received a large number of inspiring project proposals from all over Europe and the Mediterranean that seek to build new alliances and inspire cultural change. The ten projects that stood out to us all contribute to a future shaped by a sustainable and equitable climate cultures. The project proposals will be realized over the course of the year. For more information about the call visit the Climate Cultures Call Website.
In order to be able to effectively counteract climate change, we need to change our mindset. What is needed are holistic approaches that take into account the connection between global warming and social climate – and from this obtain incentives for the urgently needed transformation of our cultural practices and paradigms. Along with the ecological aspects, consequences of the climate crisis such as social upheaval, displacement and migration, and growing nationalism must also be considered.
Nesin Villages continues to make a difference and continue to exist for 15 years, hence its contribution to Turkey's future is undeniable. Hundreds of students from different cultures and socio-economic conditions benefit from this program, as well as gain valuable experiences and knowledge of living together in a multicultural environment.
As The Nesin Villages, under which we are united, are committed to facilitating and supporting the fulfilment of this mission as a community that cares about the sustainability of such places and the continuation of production. Our project is a valuable fit for international collaborations, especially in a place such as this one where productivity is valued over consumption. It has thousands of visitors throughout the year, and hundreds of students with changing perspectives. In the 15 years that Nesin Villages has been working non-stop, it has grown in visibility and influence every year and will have a significant impact on making ecological concerns visible with such a project. This means that we have the ability to motivate the younger generation against global warming.
In Ecological repair, care-centric work areas, social justice, and gender policies will be at the center of our work in the next three years. Ecological reparation and food justice were our first subjects in the Interdisciplinary Collective Studies for Social Change program held in 2021, which we saw as important and a common concern. A Sustainability Support grant was granted to us by SAHA Association so we could realize the project we prepared in this area. The project is designed to address concerns in the social, artistic, and ecological fields and to evaluate the unique infrastructure of Nesin Art Village. In this regard, our aims are:
We The objective of this project is to make visible and sustainable the dialogues emerging from the encounter between culture-arts professionals through an online open source publication called Ecological Repair. To accomplish this, we invited the culture and art professionals who had come to the Village for training to take part in this project.
In 2021, The Station: Nesin Associaton was supported by Spaces of Culture and the Swedish Consulate.