Early on in the development of the Lions’ Gate Interactive Permaculture Garden, David Benyon and I hit upon the idea of an interactive chair as a place of congress for discussing ideas about sustainability. The chair would be augmented with appropriate technology that could record, comment on and publish talks. It would be an attempt at an ecological blended space.
Soon after, I contacted Neil Fyffe’s Workshop, one of Scotland’s finest examples of woodcraft, to enquire whether he’d be interested in crafting a storytelling chair augmented with digital technology, that would be put to work for the good of the planet. Thankfully, he jumped at the idea, so we got down to design work.
With the sad passing of David in late 2018, Richard Thompson, whose PhD was being supervised by David when he fell ill, Andrew O’Dowd (School of Arts and Creative Industries), and I eagerly continued investigations into what would become a permaculture-inspired interactive storytelling throne and memorial to David.
Last summer (virtually due to Covid), we presented our second paper on The Lions’ Gate, and first specifically on the chair at LIMITS20. The previous year I’d presented a paper on The Lions’ Gate at LIMITS19 at LUT University in Lappeenranta, Finland – an institution fore-fronting sustainability and well-being in its strategy.
Well, to cut a long story short, we had our first speaker sat in the storytelling chair at our first (semi) public event in The Lions’ Gate on 26th August from 6-8pm. Inspirational, agent-of-change Graham Bell spoke eloquently of David’s favourite adage ‘Hasten Slowly‘ and shared his insights from over 30 years teaching permaculture. You can listen to the Hasten Slowly talk here.
And here’s a photographic journey of the storytelling chair: