In 2015 I started looking after a house in a small Bulgarian village. The building had been acquired by some friends who were subsequently unable to look after the property due to family commitments, which coincided with me struggling to pay rising rent prices in the UK. I moved in and developed a community smallholding project in this location, creating opportunities for people struggling with austerity and a dehumanising job market in the UK to advance a creative workshop environment, look after abandoned animals and sustain a permaculture garden.
In 2018 I set up a Brick Project in this village to tackle racial segregation in a country where right wing ideologies often go unchallenged. By encouraging local Roma children to participate in a creative project that also invited middle classed villagers to express themselves in a racially mixed environment, the project has helped to break down tensions and barriers between the village’s inhabitants. Using the house of a respected village resident as a canvas we created a neutral space to celebrate citizens’ shared experiences in this colourful and striking landmark. This whole project was self funded so it grew slowly between March 2018 and April 2019 and would not have been possible without the kind volunteers from all over the world who helped to facilitate the painting sessions. Many thanks to everyone who helped to make this project possible.