Trade School Paris at Les Jardins du Ruisseau

Trade School Paris at Les Jardins du Ruisseau community garden in Paris 19th arrondissement.                                   May 25th to May 30th & September 21st 2013

Parisian urban agriculture classIn Spring 2013 the second season of Trade School Paris at Mutinerie Coworking ended with a final event bringing together a great diversity of teachers and students, many of them coming for the second or third time. They all asked the same question: What’s next? In the mean time the French TV Channel Canal+ was planning on documenting Trade School’s concept but no more classes were planned ahead and we didn’t have any space to host them anyway.

We thought of Parisian public spaces we could invest anytime and parks came as obvious spaces for sharing knowledge in a peaceful environment. Since our first edition at Palais de Tokyo art center we were struggling with finding ways to open the classes to a larger public, our ideal being that anyone could participate in Trade School in the most spontaneous way. We started imagining Trade School classes being held under the oldest Parisian trees in the warmth of spring evenings and great open air classes… But then reality struck us: old tree beds are protected, public gardens are closing early and Paris in early Spring time is not famous for its warm weather or sunny days…

An alternative was found and a great one: to hold a six day Trade School session in one of the most beautiful community garden in Paris. Set along an old railway and crossed by a high bridge protecting teachers and students from the rain, Les Jardins du Ruisseau (literally ‘the spring gardens’) was an ideal alternative space. Naturally interested by educative programs, Les Jardins du Ruisseau Association members were very enthusiastic and instantly put us in touch with several gardeners already holding classes in the garden. From patchwork techniques to
Photo of Trade School Paris classweaving classes, a few lessons are held spontaneously on the garden center tables on sunny Sunday afternoons. Those teachers were happy to meet new people when students from all around the city came to their first class posted on the Trade School website. The shift to a bartering relationship rather than free classes was difficult as those teachers didn’t expect compensation for their work. Les Jardins du Ruisseau board members for their part came with an interesting idea to barter the access to the community garden. They asked to add barter items to the teachers’ list that will profit the garden, such as bamboo sticks, gardening tools, compost, straw, fabric for making flags, seeds, etc.  Unfortunately none of those barter requests were followed but this idea stuck in our minds for future collaborations with space holders.

This short season in the joyful atmosphere of the community garden hosted eleven classes ranging from guitar lessons for beginners to improvisation theater classes,“spicy” singing, initiation to urban agriculture and japanese origami. You could also learn how to highlight your activity through storytelling, develop your creative thinking and discover Pilates on the long lawns facing the garden.

If you wish to run classes in parks in your own town, make sure of the following things:

Photo of knitting class– check with your local administration if you need any authorization

– run classes that do not need much materials. But provide participants with something comfortable to sit on: not everybody can sit in the grass for two hours, and think of a close by roof just in case!

– check the weather: not only that it shall not rain, but temperatures need to be ok as well

– have fun 🙂


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