Joyful Threads Productions Presents
Handbook Not Required
Directed by Carla Bergman and Corin Browne and Edited by John Collins
“Perhaps half of humankind today, have nothing that they can call real community, real commons, and then how we can create the new commons, the new possibilities of the community…” What does it look like to create alternatives, here and now, to the social isolation, hyper-individualism, the ongoing disappearance of community space, and the exclusion of youth from the world? “I think that we leave young people out of really important conversations –out of work– they’re in a bubble, they’re hidden away and we’re losing out …”
Open for 15 years, The Purple Thistle Centre in East Vancouver was a unique project that continues to inspire folks from all over the world. A free, open, and collectively run youth art and activism space, the Thistle itself is a testament to the capacity to co-create the worlds we want — the communities we strive for — when we work together.
The film explores what made the Thistle a thriving space, as a flexible institution that was animated by trust and horizontal relationships with youth in their own communities. Shot on location in both Vancouver and Mexico, Common Notions is narrated by Carla Bergman, the last adult director at the Thistle. The story weaves together interviews with radical education theorists Matt Hern, Astra Taylor, Gustavo Esteva, Khelsilem, Richard J. F. Day and madhu suri prakash with Thistle founders, and as well as youth collective members. We hope the film will inspire more curiosity and conversation about how we can build social movements that include all members of our communities, and create a more just and thriving world together.