School of Lost Knowledges

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Photo by Valentina Hernandez-Velez

The School of Lost Knowledge is a long-term co-creative collaboration with the community of Coquí, Colombia. This project is stewarded in collaboration with Organizmo, a centre for regenerative strategies and education, Casa Múcura, a local NGO foundation promoting rural community projects that strengthen the social and cultural fabric of the territory of Choco in the Gulf of Tribugá, as well as Centro de Saberes Coquí / Museum of Local Knowledges, the School of Ancestral Wisdoms, and Refúgio Arcoíris.

Video by Valentina Hernandez-Velez

The School of Lost Knowledges project, initiated in collaboration with the community of Coquí – a village in the coastal rainforest of Colombia, has been dedicated to regenerating connectivity with local ancestral knowledges through reciprocal exchanges. During this process, the School of Lost Knowledges has laid foundations of infrastructures, built architectures, and developed social/educational pedagogies for the transmission of embodied practices that dialogue between the inherent intelligence of the human body and plant life in the territory. The local community has extended this invitation with curiosity about how practices can be further exchanged that regenerate socio-ecological resilience. Bodywork practices offer tender touches, co-creative gardening supports the planting of a medicinal garden and living classroom, along with community-stewarded ecological architecture and intergenerational education.

Over the last 2.5 years, supported for this time by the Goethe Institute, relationships have been built centred around sharing body/nature-based practices, particularly with the elder women who are knowledge-keepers of plant medicines, gastronomy, artisanal crafts, music, dance, and fishing – these form the curriculum for the School of Ancestral Wisdoms as an extension of the Museum of Local Knowledges. Artistic methodologies are employed to serve the lives of the ecosystems on the ground, bringing embodied modalities for relating, perceiving, and communicating that weave into the infrastructures of daily life, offering ways of being and exchanges that are aligned with decolonial ethics.

Photo by Valentina Hernandez-Velez

The Refugio Arcoíris is a space to honour the body as the primary territory. A place to find well being, to interact and exchange knowledge  and rhythms promoting care among the community. It is a vessel to dialogue with rest. It was built experimenting with bamboo, creating curves to evoke movement  and stillness, as a space to share the knowledge around healing and holding space for others.

Through listening, stretching, resting, touching, sharing, sensing and moving a connection with the tides, the weather, the land and each other is nourished. This connections supports a rooted resting in which rest is a radical act. The Refugio Arcoíris is a space devoted to continuing to strengthen these bodily connections and supporting the overall well-being of the community and its surrounding ecosystem.

Photo by Jared Gradinger

With the support of the International Coproduction Fund (Internationaler Koproduktionsfonds) of the Goethe-Institut

©️2023 Shelley Etkin, Jared Gradinger and Angela Schubot in alliance with Fundación Casa Múcura, Organizmo, and Goethe-Institute

@goetheinstitut @organizmo_ @casamucura @museodesaberescoqui

Co-production: Jared Gradinger and Angela Schubot, Organizmo, Casa Múcura, HAU Berlin, Goethe Institute Colombia

Special thanks to Moving in November Helsinki and the Senatswervaltung für Kultur und Europa Travel Grant