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Old lessons for a new future

The Lake County Learnings series of creative workshops and classes was a great success in 2023; virtually all places were ‘sold out’! The good news is that it’s been confirmed for another run in 2024.

The sessions will be led by Anna Browne (https://bigskyflowers.ie), with contributions from a range of collaborators.

‘Lake County Learnings: Skills of the past for a Resilient Future’ is funded by Creative Westmeath, and with thanks to the Westmeath Arts Office. It is a series of creative workshops and classes to raise awareness of the climate emergency via specific and relatable examples. The goal is to help participants to develop real, easily applicable skills to empower lifestyle changes and address climate anxiety with community, nature and action.

Workshops will cover a range of skills that attendees will be able to put into practice immediately, in their own lives. Attendees will not be encouraged to run out and buy special equipment that might be left to gather dust after the course is finished, either – these are all practical, attainable skills that will help lead to small but significant changes in the lives of those attending, and ultimately the family and friends who surround them. Subjects include Soap-Making, Composting, Fermentation, Jams and Preserves among others. The sessions will be about more than transferring knowledge though, as anyone who has previously attended a class with Anna can attest to. It’s equally important to the project to build a sense of community:

“We aim to create a safe space for creative dialogue, led by skilled facilitators in this field, following an EcoSocial Art practice.  Many attendees are experiencing climate anxiety. Studies have shown that being around other people, working with nature, and talking can help with this anxiety. We have seen people visibly relax over the course of the workshop or talk and feel empowered to take action in their lives. These responses are evident in the feedback from attendees – especially those who come back for more classes.”

Workshops will take place in three different community spaces – Cúige Studios (N91 E7KC) and the soon-to-be-reopened Refill Mill (N91 FH51) in Mullingar, and Water St Association in Castlepollard (N91 NP40).

Anna has a BSc, a PDGE, an MA in eLearning and a Certificate in Organic Horticulture. She has been teaching sustainable skills since 2009, starting with soapmaking, growing food and flowers and breadmaking. Since then she has developed many additional courses and delivered them in Mullingar Charity Variety group, Westmeath libraries, and in conjunction with The Refill Mill. 

These courses have been designed with an awareness that cost can sometimes be a barrier for people when it comes to learning new skills. The funding from Creative Westmeath means that the ‘Lake County Learnings’ sessions can run at extremely affordable rates – visit the course page on Anna’s website to find out more: https://www.bigskyflowers.ie/lake-county-learnings/

For updates on the schedule of sessions, subscribe to Anna’s newsletter at https://annabrowne.substack.com

If you can’t make it to the sessions, you can still pick up some tips for a greener life from the Practically Green podcast.

Anna has a BSc, a PDGE, an MA in eLearning and a Certificate in Organic Horticulture. She has been teaching sustainable skills since 2009, starting with soapmaking, growing food and flowers and breadmaking. Since then she has developed many additional courses and delivered them in Mullingar Charity Variety group, Westmeath libraries, and in conjunction with The Refill Mill.

Facilitator: Anna Browne

Anna has a BSc, a PDGE, an MA in eLearning and a Certificate in Organic Horticulture. She has been teaching sustainable skills since 2009, starting with soapmaking, growing food and flowers and breadmaking. Since then she has developed many additional courses and delivered them in Mullingar Charity Variety group, Westmeath libraries, and in conjunction with The Refill Mill.
The Refill Mill, Mullingar

Cúige Studios

Water Street Association