“Driftwood FREIraum” - space for and by young people
In 2006, a survey by the OJB youth work group (‘Offene Jugendarbeit Bregenzerwald’) showed that young people want open space in nature, accepted for their use.
The municipality of Egg made a nearby forested area available. A building application was developed by youths together with authorities.
In Spring 2008, a land art competition was held at the high school in Egg. Students designed art, furniture and buildings to be made during summer camp. In June 2008 the results were presented to the public and the place was prepared by the project team.
During the 2-year project, 60 youths were involved. In July 2008, the 26 participants of the Driftwood Camp furnished and built the site. Participant heterogeny was outstanding. Students and apprentices came from all different types of institutions, bringing in many approaches and talents and boosting the (learning) potential of the whole group.
During the construction phase, focus was on nature awareness, self-grounding and physical completion of ideas through joint building. The resulting intensity made a lasting impression.
Participants slept on site in tipis, they laughed, cried, talked, were silent, listened, made fire, cooked, ate, philosophized, debated, played music, bathed, fished, sweated, dug, sawed, hammered, doubted, rejected, experimented and, finally, built.
During the 16 days of the Driftwood Camp, 25 of the 30 designs were completed. At the end, the furniture, building and art objects were proudly presented in an exhibition. All documentation was done by participants (photos, film, book, press releases).
The FREIraum was later vandalized – a huge disappointment for all. In 2009, damage was repaired in a joint effort.
Outcomes & evaluation:
Reflection sessions, video and photo comments made during the construction process, joint final discussion, evaluation session with participating institutions.
Less is More: fewer tools and materials, more commitment to the youths.