Common Knowledge, a non-profit social enterprise based in The Burren in County Clare, has announced the launch of its new courses for 2023.
For those interested in creating a truly sustainable homelife, Common Knowledge offers courses like building, making, mending, and growing to help people develop practical skills and connect with their communities. For those seeking to get their hands dirty with a lovely bunch of people in The Burren for a weekend, the short courses also offer a great weekend experience.
So many of the skills needed for a sustainable life already exist, we just need to learn from one another, and the generations before us. Common Knowledge is a new kind of place for learning, a place that celebrates and shares practical skills to support people to create a home in Ireland despite rising costs of housing and living – skills like building, making, mending and growing. By learning together, across generations and perspectives, we will become more confident, capable and connected.
Common Knowledge Co-Founder and Co-CEO Harrison Gardner says: “Over just a few generations, a significant decrease in our basic skills has led to a wider loss of agency, affecting our ability to meet our own basic needs, to solve our own problems and to support each other. We’ve set up a new type of space where people can come and learn with us to upskill and regain a sense of connection with themselves and others.”
Co-CEO and Co-Founder Fionn Kidney says: “Our vision is for an Ireland of confident, capable and connected people, and we believe that this starts in our homes and communities. That’s why our mission is to share skills for a truly sustainable homelife. We do this through hands-on courses, events and community projects. In 2022 alone, we facilitated workshops for almost 400 people to build, make, mend and grow over 25 courses. This year, we’ll welcome even more to our courses at our new 50 acre Centre for Sustainable Living in The Burren.”
The reason the team at Common Knowledge say they are focused on sharing practical and traditional skills is that they have seen the transformative mindset shift that learning them can have, inspiring people to take on bigger challenges themselves or as a community. Fionn Kidney adds “Our research shows that the greatest takeaway from our courses is confidence in our abilities, which on average, doubles for people after a week with us at Common Knowledge. Participants report taking away the skills and knowledge to create more sustainable home lives, as well as a greater sense of community.”
For Common Knowledge, a truly sustainable homelife means that it is sustainable for you, the planet and those around you, but also attainable and maintainable by you. Along with Common Knowledge’s vision of true sustainability, they value empowerment, and delight, because they believe joy is one of our basic human needs.
The courses at Common Knowledge are tailored to a range of skill levels, from beginners to those with more hands-on experience. Whether you’re interested in learning the fundamentals of building, how to build a solid hardwood stool, put up that shelf, or grow your own organic food, they have a range of courses that will meet your needs.
The courses are taught by experienced instructors like Harrison Gardner (Common Knowledge co-founder and presenter of Build Your Own on RTE), Cian Corcoran (Furniture Designer), Malú Colorín (Natural Dye Instructor), Dominic Keogh (Master Stonemason) and Gavin Morgan (Metal Fabricator) who are passionate about sharing their skills and knowledge with others. Common Knowledge believes that hands-on learning is the most effective way to learn new skills, which is why their courses emphasize practical, experiential learning.
In addition to providing practical skills training, Common Knowledge also aims to foster a sense of community and connection among its participants. Common Knowledge Co-Founder Harrison Gardner says: “Our courses provide a space for people to come together, learn from each other, and build relationships that extend beyond the classroom.” In the communal spirit of the Irish tradition of Meitheal, Common Knowledge works with communities and mission-aligned non-profits to bring their collective energy to addressing their biggest challenges.”
Common Knowledge is thrilled to launch its latest series of courses and to offer people in Ennistymon and beyond the opportunity to learn new skills and connect with their community. Harrison adds: “We believe that our courses will not only provide tangible, practical benefits but will also help to build a stronger, more connected community. More than 600 people have already taken our Build School course and hundreds more are attending in 2023.”
Common Knowledge courses are available to anyone interested in learning new skills. For more information, please visit https://www.ourcommonknowledge.org/
5-Day Course – Build School
Learn the fundamentals of building with the Common Knowledge team on this immersive 5-day day course suitable for all skill levels.
24-28 April, 1-5 May, 8-12 May, 19-23 June, and 26-30 June are now on sale.
Weekend Course – Introduction to Steel Fabrication and Welding
Open to complete beginners, this 2-day course will help you discover the art of metal fabrication and welding and leave confident in your ability to join metal together safely.
15-16th April now on sale.
Weekend Course – Introduction to Furniture Design
Design and craft your own solid hardwood stool, while exploring the ergonomics, aesthetics and techniques involved in creating your own furniture.
15-16th April now on sale.
Weekend Course – Concrete Casting for Beginners
Explore the creativity and craft behind casting concrete forms and how to design, pour and polish your own pieces.
15-16th April now on sale.
Weekend Course – Dry Stone Walling for Beginners
Learn the ancient skill of traditional dry stone walling and leave with the ability to carry out repairs and new builds yourself.
29-30th April now on sale.
One Day Course – Garden Machinery Maintenance
Build confidence in servicing, maintaining and repairing your home gardening equipment
29th April now on sale.
Weekend Course – DIY and Repair at Home
Whether you’ve been meaning to get a little handier around the house, put up that shelf, or repair that kitchen cupboard door, this is the course for you.
10-11 June now on sale.
Weekend Course – Building with Lime
An in-depth introduction to traditional lime mortar making, pointing and basic masonry patch repairs for people wishing to learn a modern use for traditional craft knowledge.
10-11th June now on sale.
Weekend Course – Organic Growing at Home
If you’re interested in growing your own organic food, it’s time to get your hands dirty.
10-11 June now on sale.
Weekend Course – Colour from Nature
Learn how to create beautiful natural dyes, stains and inks for use with textiles and in the home
24-25th June now on sale.
Weekend Course – Working with Lime: Rendering and Plastering
Discover and practice the best techniques for preparing stone walls, then rendering and plastering with lime.
22-23rd July now on sale.
New in 2023: Learn, Stay or Host at The Common Knowledge Centre
Common Knowledge have now moved into a new home with 50 acres to grow, experiment and explore. They crowdfunded the deposit for the purchase of €60k and are fundraising the balance. Whether coming to take a course or just to visit the beautiful Burren, people can now stay on site in their range of Lodge or Courtyard accommodation, as well as hiring the space for their own events.
Common Knowledge Co-Founder Fionn Kidney says: “The new Centre offers greater potential for greater impact. Our ambition over the next three years is to support over 2000 people to achieve a truly sustainable home life in person and many more further afield. We are excited to now be in a position to offer accommodation, venue hire and private workshops on site too, all with our truly sustainable ethos. We are keen to create a model that others can learn from and are committed to being open about our experience and approach.”
About Common Knowledge
“We’ve founded Common Knowledge because we believe that by coming together to share basic skills, create useful resources and connect as a community, we can bring more affordable, sustainable and joyful homes into all of our lives – and hopefully also have a little craic along the way. Join us as we lay firm foundations for our collective future” – Erin McClure, Fionn Kidney, Harrison Gardner and Spider Hickman, Co-founders, of Common Knowledge.
Outside of their courses, Common Knowledge instigate projects that align with their mission and values, have the potential to create value for people and the planet and create new connections with like-minded people.
REKINDLE Festival of Lost Skills is an intergenerational micro-festival which focuses on rekindling and celebrating traditional skills of the past. This is a free, community event that will be hosted again this year in Ennistymon on May 14th with the support of Community Foundation Ireland and the Arts Council.
Reimagine Lisdoonvarna, supported as part of the IAF HomeTown programme, is a project working with the local community group Failte Lisdoonvarna, design house ACT Studio, and architect and Lisdoonvarna native Shelley McNamara. The project will co-design a shared vision for the future of this dynamic community.
HOMEWORKS, in partnership with the National LGBT+ Federation (NXF) and funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications with Pobal, is a project that will co-design a toolkit for marginalised communities to take climate action at home with LGBTQ+ people.
Common Knowledge received core support in 2022 from Rethink Ireland through their Social Enterprise Development Fund.