ABOUT FORT AWESOME
We moved our little family up to the beautiful sunshine coast in 2016 and absolutely love it. Our move however came with a surprise visitor: loneliness. We disconnected from our family and friends and our kids friends and found ourselves with a great itch to meet and make new friends… but it was actually really hard to do. We made some play houses for our own at-home entertainment value and played outside.. and people commented. They stopped. They chatted. And we realised we had unintentionally opened up a catalyst to meeting our immediate community (I mean our serious IMMEDIATE community: our fellow street co-habitants not just people in a general ‘we may never see you again’ kind of way.). And so we thought some more and project FORT AWESOME was born.
project FORT AWESOME’s mantra is: PLAY: MAKING: PROJECTS through which we seek to build community through both play AND creative making. This project is an experimental architecture and art initiative that uses the idea of making ‘cubby-houses’ as a means of community building through creative construction.
We help communities, like ours and like yours, to build ‘things’ WITH your kids and greater social connections at the same time. Through the shared making of cubbies, forts, tree-houses for children (and adults) we bring PLAY outside and use the act of making as a means of social connection.
Research tells us that making friends within a radius of 1.6km to where we live is significantly impactful to increasing our happiness (yes, really).
Research tells us that PLAY is both critical to children’s cognitive, social and physical development and is also a fantastic mechanism by which parents can emotionally connect with their children.
Research tells us that kids don’t play as much outside anymore and also indicates that the social disconnection we personally experienced first-hand is not unusual- in fact loneliness is a growing urban phenomena.
Research indicates that Australian society is becoming increasingly disconnected with significant impacts to our mental and physical health. Those most at risk (and impacted most deeply) are sadly our children and our elderly.
Hugh Mackay writes “that the state of the nation actually starts in the street where you live… And when it comes to the character and the values of our society, it really is up to us. We can have a powerful influence on the state of the various communities we belong to – in the neighbourhood, the workplace, the university, the church or other faith community, the sporting association, the book club or other community organisation. How we contribute to the miniatures of life – in our own family, street, suburb or town – will ultimately help to determine the big picture.” WE ALL have the capacity to not accept the ‘I don't know my neighbours” norm and to build the ‘tribe’ around us that we (and our kids and our elderly) all need.
It starts with you: We hope to inspire individuals, neighbourhoods and communities to connect at a hyper-local level through the promotion of play and active street/ greenspace or event engagement. We use art projects as a means of exploring the capacity of ‘making’ to connect, challenge and invite moments of play.
“If children are not designed into our cities, they are designed out. This means that they are deprived of contact with the material world, with nature, with civic life and with their own capacities.”— George Monbiot, writer
We collaborate with a range of AWESOME artists to develop different projects and tools that support community engagement. Our first collaboration with artist Miles Allen over 2018-2019 has resulted in the ‘Garden Clouds’ cubby house project and so far we have run over 18 cubby-making workshops (to more than 100 pairs of hands) and have gone on to develop several more public art and community engagement projects yet to come later this year.
The services we offer include:
Custom cubby-house & play-making design, documentation and procurement services.
Community engagement projects for specific events
Workshops to build your-own cubby (currently based on the Garden Cloud design)
Please get in touch if you are curious, to say hi and to discuss your project/ idea/ community need. Follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with our projects, tools and more as they develop.