Monthly Archive for August, 2009

Looking Towards the Future of Brockwood Park

Over the past four years, the staff and students at Brockwood Park have worked with the trustees of the Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd. to develop a long-term estate strategy. We felt we needed to develop such a strategy to respond intelligently to the following challenges and opportunities: a) it was becoming increasing difficult to provide adequate accommodation for the full complement of 65 students and the optimal number of residential staff required to educate these 65 pupils; b) the trust was in receipt of a number of legacies that provided us with the rare opportunity to contemplate planning over and above ongoing operational costs; and c) the area around and including Brockwood was soon going to be declared a National Park, which would then have meant that no further new construction of any sort would have been feasible at Brockwood.

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Dear Friends

By now the Reunion is five days past and you have probably traveled the few, or many, miles from Brockwood to your respective homes. The excitement and intensity of the event is no doubt fading and you are perhaps already beginning to wonder what it was all about, and what it means to you now? With the help of many volunteers, we have completed the clean-up, the marquee has been removed – the yellowed grass beneath acts as the only reminder of its magnitude and the people that passed through it – and we are now in the midst of preparing the school for the new academic year.

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Reunion Thoughts

In this section you are welcome to post any reflections, questions and after thoughts regarding the reunion. Your response is much appreciated and will help us to have  a better understanding of your view of Brockwood Park School and its future.

Day 4

Sunday morning many of us awoke to a late start as a result of yesterday evening’s dinner dance after having danced the night (and the years) away. Live music was performed by a group of Brockwood Alumni. Another performance was held this afternoon by the same band in “The Brockwood Gig” included performances of their very own numbers. Cd’s of music composed by this group of talented musicians will be on sale in the reception on Monday. Aside from the performances, there were many activities throughout the day. Many of you came to watch, bid, and even purchase some of the art, crafts, and pledges that were auctioned and sold at the “Grand Auction” to raise money for bursaries. Thank you to all those who attended and supported us through your bid and purchase of an item. A panel discussion also took place earlier in the day allowing a chance to talk about where Brockwood is now and where it is headed. Many of you shared your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Information and response to some of the questions raised throughout the discussion will be posted soon.
A spontaneous “Informal Evening” provided a night of in-house entertainment. A variety of live music, skits, and other performances took us late into the hours.  Photos will be posted soon.

Day 3

The third day of the reunion brought sun, a little bit of rain, and more time to talk, share, and gather with each other.  Alumni had the opportunity to explore areas of interest, skill, and passion in a session of “Meeting of Minds.” The session allowed for alumni to meet and share with other alumni who are working, thinking, and practicing in the same field. In the afternoon, many of you took to the local footpaths, exploring the beauty of the surrounding area. Shortly after tea-time, alumni met near the sunken garden for a photo shoot. Groups gathered in eight, five yearly groups, to cover the span of 40 years (photos soon to come). The evening ended with a “dinner dance,” which included a special meal and live performance. The dinner menu was a dish comprised of roasted mushrooms, peppers, and courgettes baked in rosary goat’s cheese custard topping it off with a dessert of chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries. For those of you who could not attend the reunion and had emailed us messages throughout the week, time was taken to share your letters throughout the dinner. Thank you all for sending us some of your memories and kind thoughts!

A reunion, a video

For those who couldn’t have made it. For those who have been there. And for the others, here is a video made by former students.

A Brockwood tour, back in time for many

Note: More videos, photos will come as we sort them out in the coming few days.

A hike into the wilderness surrounding Brockwood

On Friday approximately 25 Brockwoodians ventured out of the safety of
the B.P. grounds and into the wilderness of Hampshire with the
intention of gaining knowledge of the manyfold edible and medicinal
plants that grow there without any help from our own species. Their
guide, having just returned from studying with the medicine men and
women of West Cork, was eager to share his newly consolidated
knowledge, due to the great benefits that it confers to its holders –
aside from the health benefits, a far deeper communion with the
energies of nature is made possible when one enters into the state of
observation required for locating wild food and herb plants. The
following common plants were encountered and their useful uses
discussed: yew, nettles, docks, plantain, burdock, dandelion, herb
robert, hedge garlic, beech, sweet chestnut, hawthorn, marjoram, mint,
brambles and hazel. After consuming a generous quantity of
blackberries, the party returned safely to Brockwood in time for
lunch.

Adam Ortaa

Workshops

Yesterday was a full day of workshops, dialogues, and other informal gatherings. Guy Beaucarne presented a general introduction to solar energy and explained the different types of technology while sharing his field of expertise—photovoltaic solar energy.  Other workshops included the art of beading, a glimpse into homeopathic treatment and the potential of this therapeutic science. Seke Chimutengwende also led a workshop involving dancing and voice work, where many of you expended the energy accumulated from all the excitement of meeting everyone again.  Finally, Alan Rowlands led a workshop entailing a presentation of the life and work of Douglas Harding, who he knew for 30 years. Alan involved participants in the practical experiments devised by Douglas which address the question, “Who is it that observes?”

The Global Citizen Project

The Global Citizenship Project is an adult educational programme which will use established projects, institutions and activities in the UK and in India as resources. In the UK the programme will be centred in and around the Dartington Hall Estate in rural Devon -Schumacher College in particular.  In India we have created partnerships with a variety of places such as Barefoot College run by Bunker Roy in Rajasthan, Bija Vidyapeeth run by Vandana Shiva in Dehradun, Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan, and several of the Education Centres founded by J Krishnamurti. From our experience as educators we have observed that there is much to be learnt from what is happening in India and the main thrust of the project is to facilitate intercultural cooperation and understanding, the exploration of sustainable living, and the understanding of the significance of human relationships and shared experience. We have a website www.gcpukindia.com .  It will soon be updated with more images and a blog.

Andrew Alexander

Thoughts Shared in Dialogue

The group started with facing the fact that often dialogue lacks vitality and it might help this if we can talk about the actualities of our lives. We talked about loneliness, desire, wanting (both materially and spiritually), image making and how we can share these realities and why we find it difficult to admit to these aspects of our lives. We looked at passion and staying with a difficult feeling and how hard it is to do this and not escape to TV or a book. It was a small group of eight and at first it was slow to get going but every one had engaged honestly with the conversation by the end, and there was a feeling that we had listened to each other.

Colin Foster