#People on the spot
“Moms need their own time and space for themselves”
Kim Ji-young is a mother of three children. For a long time since getting married, she had been focusing only on the roles of a wife and a mother, and suddenly she thought, "Just as children have vacations, we mothers should have vacations, too." So she d a cultural community called ‘Moms’ Vacation’. Mothers gather together to read books and write, sharing common interests and comforting each other.Q. What was the main reason to make ‘Moms’ Vacation’?A. Three years ago, I happened to learn about the Culture Maker Academy held at Wanju Cultural City Support Center. I wondered, 'What is that?' and 'What does it mean to solve local problems with culture?' When I went to the first meeting, most of them were young people, and I felt shy because I was the only one who was a "ma'am." However, the head of the center gave a special lecture and said, "Cultural planners should themselves know what they like." That's when I realized I didn't know what I had liked until then!The courses of ‘Culture Maker Academy’ were difficult, but it was fun. That's why I never skipped a class. Sometimes I was scolded by my mother for continuing to leave the house without taking care of the children. However, I was so excited and happy to meet people who asked questions about me for the first time, not about my hubby and children. In fact, I have a bold personality. I don't accept anything as it is, and I tend to face and solve all struggles by myself. Right at that moment, I heard that there was a community support program at the Cultural City Support Center, so I formed a meeting without hesitation.Q. What is the meaning of the title ‘Moms’ Vacation’?A. It doesn’t mean anything other than what it is. I just thought ‘Like children, moms would be happy if they had a vacation. Time for their own selves. Time for taking a rest and recharging their batteries.If there were any others who thought like me, I desperately wanted to meet and talk with them. At first, four of us met and started to read books. The number of members increased. Now we have 20; 10 from Wanju, and 10 from other regions. At our book club, we never read books such as parenting or self-development books, as for no reason, you only feel uncomfortable thinking "Am I not a good mother?", or "Am I a lazy person?"Q. What other activities do you do other than reading books?A. We operated a ‘Sister Counseling Center’ as well. It was a meeting where we exchanged common issues and comforted each other while revealing our concerns. Everyone said it was their first time to talk about themselves like this. Many of them cried while talking. Two years ago, we had writing meetings and published a collection of prose titled Your One and Only Story in the World by tying up the essays of each member. It was also helped by the Cultural City Support Center.One of the book club members opened a stationery store, and inside the store, we made a book stand like a kind of "shop within a shop." The name was ‘Moms’ Bookstore.‘ Each of the book club friends got a book shelf, and each person picked out the books they wanted to introduce, displayed them, and sold them.Q. I heard that you set up a shared studio for moms not too long ago.A. Yes, I really did it unexpectedly. Mothers don't have their own desks anywhere. So you have to sit at the kitchen table, write, go to a cafe, and read books. So I wanted to a space where mothers could sit comfortably, and read and write books.By the way, in March this year, the insurance company called me to inform me that my savings insurance had matured. It was 10 million won, so I thought about what I could do with this money. Since the children grew up, I thought about replacing the furniture in the children's room, but I was in two minds because I also wanted to use it for myself. There was a vacant rental apartment in a building overlooking the Mangyeong-gang, my dream location. In addition, I heard that the deposit loan would be at a low interest rate, so I thought about it for a while and signed the contract.I decorated it as a space for mothers to work together. I bought several individual desks, made my own small room, and even got some books including comic books and picture books. The name was a studio, but I wanted to a place where I could look at the Mangyeong-gang River blankly, pile up comic books and roll around and read them, and do whatever I want to do. The space was named ‘Dinggadingga.’ I wished we could relax there as comfortably as possible, as if we were on a vacation in a comfortable atmosphere, without any burdens.
Shall we visit Wanju, the city of hydrogen, local food, and sentient travel?
The city in Korea where the local food project was bornWanju-gun is the place in Korea where the local food business began. About a decade ago, Wanju-gun declared the nation's first full-scale local food business under the banner of "happy dining tables for both the producers and consumers."Local food is a key project for low-carbon green growth as a practical alternative to overcome the harmful effects of global food, which has caused big side effects such as mass carbon emissions, faceless transactions, and the collapse of small farms.There are three reasons for the success of Wanju local food. The first is the planned production of food. In other words, the money-making single crop mass production was transformed into a multi-crop small quantity production system. The next is the strong consensus on the phrase ‘healthy tables makes happy tables’ both producers and consumers make. The third and last is to establish and operate a public organization that integrally supports communication between the participating parties, such as production, processing, and logistics, to revitalize local food. Based on the revitalization of the social economy, public organizations are promoting the revitalization of village communities, urban and rural exchange promotion projects, and support projects to help returnees and new rural settlers. Due to the local food project, Wanju-gun has enjoyed the effects of promoting villages’ independence in the community growth, stable income in rural areas, and jobs, and has been recognized as the No. 1 city of farmers who return home or come to farm in rural areas.Wanju-gun, the leading location of the Korean hydrogen economyThe hydrogen economy is one of the core issues of the future economy, which Wanju-gun has concentrated on. Wanju has been emerging as a key base for the future hydrogen economy. As large-scale investments and mutual cooperation among companies are actively taking place, and the hydrogen industry ecosystem is established in earnest, Wanju-gun is becoming the center of the hydrogen supply network.To this end, Wanju-gun is building infrastructure for the hydrogen industry at full speed. Wanju-gun, a hydrogen pilot city, is expanding its hydrogen industry infrastructure opening the nation's largest hydrogen charging station in 2020, attracting a ‘Hydrogen Goods Inspection Support Center’ in 2021, and immediately confirming the construction of Jeonbuk's No. 1 hydrogen production base.The ‘Hydrogen Goods Inspection Support Center’ is constructing the examination lab and set up equipment for the implementation of safe management of hydrogen supplies and facilities. In addition, by 2022, the project to ‘construct a small-scale hydrogen production base’ is expected to begin. With this project finished, it can produce hydrogen through hydrogen extractors and provide the product to its charging stations, which has significance in that it is the first hydrogen production base in Jeollabuk-do.In addition to production facilities, Wanju-gun introduced the 1st hydro-electric bus for the first time in county-level governments. The hydro-electric bus, which is also called a running air purifier, is equipped with seat belts, and low boarding steps with a wheelchair boarding system, and can travel about 430 kilometers on a single charge. A sentient travel city given the thumbs up by BTSWanju is a ‘sentient travel city’ embracing clear nature, high-quality culture, and original local food. Including Daedunsan Provincial Park, Gosan Natural Recreational Forest, Hwaam-sa, and many others, Wanju is full of tourist destinations located in clear and pure nature. It is also full of local tasty produce including Bongdong’s ginger, Samrye’s strawberries, Gyeongcheon’s dried perssimons, Iseo’s pears, and many others.You can also see the Korean traditional style of house, Hanok, an eco-friendly building made of soil, stone, wood, and roof tiles. Representative places are Awon Old House and Oseongok Village. Awon Old House, which has gained popularity since BTS took videos and pictorials for the "2019 Summer Package in Korea," is a ‘Hanok Stay’ space meaning "our garden". With the deep ridge of Jongnamsan Mountain, this place embodies the harmony of the architectural philosophy of a 250-year-old hanok and modern buildings, giving visitors a time for rest and meditation.Around Awon old house, 22 hanoks are gathered to form Oseong Hanok Village. This hanok village, cozy and snug surrounded by several mountains, is lined with Soyang Old House and Jukrimwon for Hanok Stay, as well as many thematic cafes such as Flicker Bookstore and O’s Gallery.In addition, there is the Oseongje Reservoir, where a pine tree, also known as BTS Pine Tree, stands, and the cultural and ecological forest trail there are well established, making it a rising tourist destination recently. Additionally, ‘Mountain Lighthouse of Complex Cultural Space,’ ‘Gyeongcheon Eco-Ville, and Hwaam-sa (temple)’ are very famous tourist destinations. Further, ‘Gyeongcheonaein Stepping Stones’ is gaining popularity as a travel destination for pet families nationwide.
#Wanju’s Innovative Projects
Wanju Cultural Sharing Space ‘Da:Haeng’
The first question asked while conducting a cultural regeneration project to a cultural base space in Wanju cultural city, was who the owner of the space is. This is because the space can have vitality after it is prepared only when it is regenerated from the perspective that the people who will use it, not the person who made it, are the owners.Citizens who visit the space should be able to become owners with a sense of it being ‘our’ space, not the users to temporarily use the provided amenities. Of course, in order to have such a consciousness, it was necessary for citizens to take the initiative from the first step of determining the necessities and directions of space creation. This is why Wanju-gun set up a citizen design planning team to decide on the use of the former Samrye train station.The owners of spaces are the people who will use them, not who made themFrom local food to Wanju cultural city creation projects, Wanju-gun has made great efforts to revitalize the community. This soon became the characteristic of Wanju-gun’s features, and this wave is expanding more valuably, encompassing not only the existing county citizens but also the lives of returnees, rural residents, and multicultural families who have started a new life in Wanju. In the end, Wanju's base space regeneration project focused on creating and revitalizing citizens’ communities. It has a very different texture from projects that temporarily revitalize the region by removing old buildings and redeveloping them or holding festivals or events. They decided the base space must be used for revitalizing the citizen-centered cultural communities, and citizens should be active main agents of the local cultural space. Of course, there is a limit to the power of citizens alone, so policy-level support and expert participation should go in tandem with them.Spaces changing in accordance with the opinions and movements of the usersOn the matter of what kind of space citizens really want, Wanju-gun arranged a meeting to collect their opinions before beginning the regeneration of the old Samrye train station. The six-week workshop of the Citizen Design Planning Team was overflowing with vivid opinions and suggestions. Various and ingenious opinions poured out to the extent that architects and design team experts had to follow breathlessly."I don't want the design to be fixed in setting the functions here. I hope you find ways the users can freely set the space considering the functions depending on the situation."The walls that separate the space of Da:Haeng are installed as variable sliding walls following the opinion of the design planning team, allowing the space to be expanded and divided according to the user's use and scale."We always go to see good cultural spaces, but at some point, it is natural the number of tourists or visitors will decrease. I think this is because they keep showing the same things over and over again. I hope the space should not stick to a single theme, but a space where the contents can change depending on the activity."In the space of Da:Haeng, there are no affixed ‘titles’ limiting the function and roles of the space. In accordance with the users’ activities, the function and roles of the space can be set freely.Thanks to the 42-day journey to a lively space that is aligned more closely to citizens’ lives and where citizens visit frequently, and the Wanju Citizen Design Planning Team, who were willing to sacrifice their precious weekends and join the workshop, visitors of Da:Haeng are happy today, too.1. ‘Extend,’ A space to imagine togetherA space where you can a variety of different spaces using movable walls that can be connected to the central lounge.- Recommended events: meetings, education, workshops, performances, exhibitions, etc.- Supplies: beam projector, screen, folding tables, folding chairs, etc.2. ‘Do,’ A small-scale network spaceA small space for independent use utilizing movable walls- Recommended events: meetings, education, small-scale workshops, etc.- Supplies: beam projector, screen, folding tables, folding chairs, etc.3. ‘Film’, A one-person studio for creating contents A space where video contents can be d- Recommended events: video production, non-face-to-face meetings, video shoots, etc.- Supplies: Computer, webcam, lighting, chroma key, recording microphone, etc.4. ‘Maple’, A shared kitchen sharing the food culture of each otherA space for all cultural activities using food such as gift-sharing, networking parties, education, etc.- Recommended events: cooking classes, small gatherings of communities, meetings, education, workshops, etc.- Supplies: cooking utensils, microwave oven, refrigerator, triple burner induction cooktop, tableware for 10 people
Wanju Information at a glance
General status of Wanju-gunPopulation : 91,137Area : 821.05㎢ (the largest part of Jeollabuk-do)Location : Wanju-gun is located in the center of Jeollabuk-do surrounding Jeonju-si, with a distance of 36km from east to west, 71km from north to south. It has Jinan-gun to the east, Gimje-si to the west, Imsil-gun and Jeongeup-si to the south, and Iksan-si and Chungcheongnam-do’s Nonsan-si and Geumsan-gun to the north.Geographical features : Wanju-gun is surrounded by Godeok-san Mountain and Moak-san Mountain with ups and downs in the mountains. The northwest is connected to the Jeonbuk Plain, a socalled ‘Okyacheonri’ meaning agricultural treasure repository, leading to the Mangyeong-gang (river) flowing through the northwest area of Jeonbuk, where all of Soyang-cheon (stream), Gosan-cheon, and Samcheon-cheon meet. Roads connect all directions centering around Jeonju. There are national and local roads leading to Gunsan, Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Mokpo, Gwangju, and Yeosu, and the Jeolla Line runs north and south, making its transportation convenient.Origin of the name Wanju : When Jeonju-eup was promoted to Jeonju-bu in 1935, the name ‘Wanju’ was first d by taking Chinese characters each from Wansan, the past name of Jeonju, and Jeonju, the current place name.Wanju’s leading tourist destinations: Daedun-san Provincial Park, Gosan Natural Recreation Forest, Moak-san Provincial Park, Dae-a Arboretum & Dae-a Lake, Songgwang-sa & Cherry Blossom Road, Wibong-sa, Wibong Falls & Wibong Fortress, Hwaam-sa, Bibi-jeong, Sanggwan Air Village Cypress Forest
Culture & Travel : https://www.wanju.go.kr/tour/index.wanju
English website : http://trans.wanju.go.kr:7000/etgi/
Cultural city web : https://www.wanjuculture.com/
You-Tube : Google ‘Wanju-gun’
Transportation of Wanju
Incheon International Airport : 3 hours
Gunsan Airport : 50 minutes
Gwangju Airport : 1 and a half hours
Muan Airport : 1 and a half hours
Cheongju Airport : 1 and a half hours
Saemangeum International Airport : 50 minutes (It will open in 2024)
Seoul Express Bus Terminal : 2 and a half hours
Gwangju Express Bus Terminal : 1 and a half hours
Daejeon Express Bus Terminal : 1 and a half hours
It doesn't disappear. A city of value. The sustainable background... The city where it's located.
Cultural City Beginnings and Possibilities for All, a Community Cultural City, Wanju
Wanju, a community cultural city, strives to be a city where anyone can do anything,at any time. Originally, culture is not something that can be achieved alone, but something d together, by many people. As Wanju has improved its various foundations for the community ‘together,‘ it has a bigger possibility to succeed. Wanju citizens are very rich in community life experiences through local food and social and economic activities, and are used to achieving common goals together. With the numerous experiences of the citizens, we are opening a wider and deeper road to Wanju community cultural city. Wanju, a community cultural city, has a goal to develop the unique experiences of the citizens, which are not easily found in those of other cities, into local cultural traditions.A changing cultural landscape, a new way to respond to new cultural needs of citizens, and a new orderThe concept of "community" that we have grown used to, is broader and more diverse in cultural cities. It intensively fosters and discovers a ‘Wanju-type cultural community’ as a group of people with similar interests, values, and tastes, even if they do not live in the same place, going beyond geographical and regional communities. The creation of Wanju cultural city is not a project to build large-scale cultural facilities or hold large-scale events such as festivals. Its goal is to an environment and condition in which any citizen can try cultural activities freely as he or she wants, and with no restrictions. It expands direct participation through four areas of understanding each other, sharing, collaboration, and symbiosis, shares local cultural resources, expands cultural projects through cooperation and collaboration, and ensures that the achievements of cultural cities can be permeated effectively throughout the community.A Policy shift accepting citizens’ needs and changes in the cultural landscapeCreating opportunities to realize new cultural imaginations and new collaborative models of the local cultural industryFrom 2021 to 2025, the creation of Wanju community cultural city will proceed in earnest. All citizens will begin to build a new cultural tradition here in Wanju. Great cultural phenomena which have continued based on our county’s strong energy and enrich the lives of our citizens, will remain a constant, always at the fore.Vision: a community cultural city where lives change as a culture of being togetherWanju has a vision of a community cultural city where life changes with the culture of togetherness. The goal is to a new cultural method and order that accommodates changing cultural landscapes and new cultural needs of citizens based on regional uniqueness and citizens' diversity. The aim is to make Wanju a community cultural city that s cultural traditions of understanding each other, sharing, and innovation.Essential Values: Cultural Community and Community CultureA cultural community is a body of understanding each other, discarding exclusivity, and is a body of communication and exchange, sharing its own interests, tastes, values and orientations. A community culture means a culture of coexistence and symbiosis where citizens participate voluntarily and respect differences through lateral communication and sharing.A city where different members and various cultural elements face each other.Wanju, a community cultural city
Cultural City Focusing on the people for innovation and growth
Since 2018, Wanju has been paying attention and focusing on the people and their community for the innovation and growth of its local culture. It fosters and organizes culture makers, the main body of local culture growth, of their community. It is innovating and growing local culture by providing open opportunities for new cultural experiences.A Sympathetic Cultural City for the Establishment of a Cultural Autonomy EcosystemIt supports citizens and cultural activists not only as true participating agents of cultural policies and projects but also as the core promoters of the cultural city project, in order to solve their social and life problems in cultural ways. Through the establishment of cultural autonomy governance led by residents, Wanju's cultural autonomy ecosystem will be constructed.A culture sharing city through connecting cultural resourcesAll the cultural resources of the county such as the personnel and material knowledge and information that each person, the community, and the region have will be discovered by the citizens themselves. By systematizing and sharing these, a system will be d that utilizes them as cultural assets for everyone so that there are no restrictions on cultural activities due to resource restrictions.A communal culture for the collaborative creation of a cultural communityThere will be support for the revitalization of the cultural community, where citizens realize various cultural values with limitless imagination, freely, and cooperate to innovate local culture and the region together with other members. There will also be support to foster professionals, secure the space for their activities, and discover collaborative and cooperative projects to strengthen cultural community activities to be continued on a daily basis.A symbiotic cultural city through the solidarity of local resourcesCity culture and cultural capital cooperate and become tied together through citizens’ various cultural interests, value systems, and creative ideas. In solidarity with various socioeconomic capital, Wanju-gun will opportunities for new cultural practices, and establish a system of solidarity and cooperation between cultural and social capitals so that it becomes the daily life of Wanju citizens.
Wanju’s Innovative Projects Small success vs. Acceptable failure with experiences of imagination, learning, and practice
Wanju, the cultural city, pays attention to a "cultural community" as a key base and starting point of community culture. In order to revitalize cultural personnel and cultural communities with various cultural values, it focuses on yielding professionals, creating activity spaces, and discovering cooperative and collaborative projects. It also supports these activities to become common and continuous within our lives and communities. As the main force of the local cultural ecosystem, nurturing creative cultural professionals and a cultural community, and cultivating culture through people are the key points of the cultural city Wanju.Culture maker and culture makersWanju is a place with abundant community experience through local food representing Wanju, but the experience of cultural communities is completely different. How can cultures that have entered familiar community experiences shine? In Wanju, it suggests each individual problem is that of the society, so the key point is the expansion of subjectivity. The beginning course is ‘Wanju Culture Maker Academy,’ which fosters Wanju-type creative cultural professionals. It is not a common omnibus-style of education for each subject, but a systematic human resources training process for problem solving and cultural project-making. From the beginning to the end of the training, a dedicated professional instructor works with each trainee. In the process of walking through the trainees' problems and solutions together, the most important element is 'people'. Education is conducted in a way that first forms a ‘solidarity of concerns’ before finding people with the same concerns, and the means and methods of solutions. It is the beginning of a cultural method to share experiences with each other, changing positions for predicting various situations based on understanding and respect. In addition, it is also the time when Wanju culture makers, a Wanju-type cultural community, is formed together.It supports common values, not just one projectThere is no distinction between the commonly existing geography and generations in the Wanju cultural community. It is a gathering of people who imagine and practice the same thoughts, interests, and values. It is diversified ranging from common-interest communities that share their interests, to intimate communities d by individual needs, and social economy communities that pursue social and economic values at the same time. The diverse purposes and activities of the community means that the concepts and categories of the Wanju-type cultural community applied in the field are not limited, and are flexibly applied depending on the situation.Wanju cultural communities can operate freely thanks to the support system. It’s said that “projects impossible in other organizations or institutions are possible in the cultural city.” This is true because the support system of Wanju communities is not tied to a business frame but has a policy-level frame. Active consulting and budget support are granted to the direction the community pursues rather than promoting a single project.‘Wanju Culture Commons’ understanding each other and being in solidarity in various practicesWanju's cultural community support project has an integrated system of activities for citizens to discover and solve community problems based on the small-scale understanding of each other, and the support for the activities. Community support is divided into preparatory and growth types, and this division focuses on the process of community growth. The puppet show club, which was started to entertain the community’s children, started as a theater company and became a cooperative, and the community that supports the activities of migrant women (mothers) whose social relationships have been cut off due to corporate migration, has changed from a social gathering to a platform for forming a bond of common understanding of mothers nationwide, owing to their external activities.In Wanju Cultural City, the concept of a cultural community is expanding beyond solving local problems to social innovation, in that it pursues changing the social system and promoting regional development, in addition to finding local culture solutions. In this respect, the expansion of a community is very significant. There are communities that have been focused on social issues from the start, but as numbers increase, more and more communities are taking an interest in social issues. In line with the contents of the activity becoming a social issue, the target is expanding from members to families, and even to the whole community.Amid the interaction of common resources, power, sense, collaboration and cooperation, the foundation for Wanju culture commons, which transforms the society with culture, is gaining strength and solidifying.
Wanju’s Innovative Projects Sustainability of the Cultural City d with common experiences
‘Urban Drawing’ by the Citizen Design Team, the New Deal for Wanju Urban RegenerationWanju-gun has been carrying out a cooperative project, the new deal for urban regeneration, in earnest since early this year after discussions for the project last year. In particular, through the experience of Wanju Cultural City, which collected and reflected citizens' opinions in the construction of ‘Wanju Cultural Sharing Space Da:Haeng’ last year, from this year, the opinions of residents are collected and reflected in the process of urban regeneration in Wanju-gun through cooperation. By sharing the operational experience of the 'Citizen Design Planning Team' that can do this, and through cooperative operations, we are overcoming the hardware-centric limitations of urban regeneration together and creating joint outcomes.In fact, since the first half of 2021, through cooperation with the team of the new deal for Wanju urban regeneration, the operations of Citizen Design Planning Team of Bongdong Urban Regeneration Base, those of Saewon Village History Street Creation, and Bongdong Bicycle Rental Center have been carried out. Additionally, many other small and large urban regeneration teams including Gosan, Bongdong, Samrye, Sanggwan, and Yongjin in Wanju-gun are currently cooperating with each other. In particular, the Bongdong area is creating "common success experiences" by overcoming the citizens’ conflicting agendas through the experience of the citizen design planning team and solving the problem of areas excluded from urban regeneration sites through cooperation with the cultural city.Wanju-type Village Festivals ‘Selling Values not Goods’‘@Wanju Culture Market Day’Members of ‘@Wanju Cultural Market Day’ directly discover the cultural characteristics of each village, develop them into contents, and and operate a village marketplace that citizens can enjoy with their neighbors.From the initial planning stage, which was carried out as a pilot project in 2020, a citizen working group was formed to design the implementation process. The project target area was established and a citizen planning team, and a market day action group, were organized and promoted. The citizen planning team held market days in the 3 areas of Samrye, Iseo, and Bongdong in 2020, and added 4 more to make a total of 7 in 2021, including Yongjin, and Dongsang, under the theme of the cultural characteristics of each village they live in.@Wanju Cultural Market Day, the processes of which the citizens planned and implemented entirely on their own, is becoming a small but fruitful, resident-centered Wanju-type village festival.Culture and Healing are their daily life; 12 ‘Wanju Cultural Healing Schools’Suffering from unexpected disasters for a long time, the possibility of "healing" of culture and art has increased. Wanju has been pondering over "cultural healing" since it established the plan to a cultural city in 2019. Even though they had not been based on academic theory, they sought possible healing methods through tangible and intangible cultural resources of the region. As expected, the way also touched the hearts and souls of the citizens.Wanju's unique cultural healing experiments that we can practice in a sustainable way in our daily lives, even if they are not special or scientific, have been conducted in earnest this year. A total of 12 ‘Wanju Cultural Healing Schools’ opened, and programs utilizing the characteristics of the living areas of villages or communities were given. Communities and citizens became teachers and operated Wanju Cultural Healing Schools. Music was played alongside fire pits in the yard of an artist's home in a village, and closed schools were reborn as comforting schools for citizens to paint pictures, write, or observe the movement of bees. At a local bookstore, some residents gathered in twos and threes after work, and a late-night chat took place on the pretext of discussing books. The Wanju-type cultural healing, in which hearts that had been cut off by COVID-19, gather and touch again, face and embrace each other, and is starting in the hands of Wanju citizens.
People on the spot “We don’t want to be bees eating sugar instead of honey.”
Limbo Bookstore in Gosan-myeon, Wanju-gun is a youth space commissioned by Wanju-gun. In rural areas, where the foundation for cultural enjoyment is weaker than in cities, it serves effectively as a culture center not only for young people but also for residents of various ages. The people who run Limbo Bookstore are three young activists: Kang Soyeon (Seole), Hong Mijin (Tongtong), and Yun Ji-eun.Q. Would the three of you introduce yourselves briefly?A. Yun Jieun - I came here, to Wanju in 2017, so it's my fifth year. Like other young people about my age in Seoul, I came here after preparing for a job, taking tests for jobs, building up specs and living like that. I didn't have any intention to settle down here. I came here a few times to visit my friend, who became a farmer after returning to his hometown, and Wanju looked so fun and a good place to live, so I decided to settle down here.A. Hong Mijin - I came here in May, 2017. About the same time as Jieun. At first, I wasn’t interested in activities like farming, rural life, or youth culture. Seeing as I had worked for a publication company for a long time in Seoul, I decided to open a bookstore in the local area. ‘Tongtong’ is my alternate character name, a kind of a nickname. As the meaning of it suggests, I want to live very differently from others.A. Kang Soyeon - Among the three of us, I came here first in 2013. So these two call me an ‘archaeornis’, a kind of bird-like dinosaur, meaning I’m a beginner or something. I majored in design and worked for a cultural institute in Seoul. One day while traveling my friend asked me to visit his close friend living in Wanju. I just intended to visit him, but I got fascinated with this town and decided to live here. However, I am the most recent to join the Limbo Bookstore. My alternate character name is ‘Seole’ meaning ‘fluttering,’ as I want to live with a ‘fluttering’ feeling.Q. What does Limbo Bookstore do and how did it come about?A. The Youth Policy Team of Social Economy Department of Wanju-gun Office launched ‘Planet Wanju’ as a core space for young people in Wanju. We are entrusted with the facility and are operating it now. This is the second store of Planet Wanju, a youth space. The first store is in Samrye and is operated as a guest house for young people, and the third will open soon as a youth start-up space in Iseo.Q. What does ‘youth base space’ mean in detail?A. It means exactly what it says it is. It's a place where local young people meet and hang out with each other. It's like a base or a hiding place where they come and stay without doing anything. Young people in the countryside have to be happy to live there, and to be happy, they have to be able to meet, communicate, and hang out with each other.In the city, you can meet people and drink coffee at a cafe, but there are not many places like that in the countryside, so young people need a space to gather and interact with each other. Especially in Wanju, there are many young people who came to live here like us, but as they are not native to the area, there is no place for them to go.Q. Then what do they do here in Limbo Bookstore?A. They participate in the various cultural programs we run. There are many programs ready for them. For example, we prepared ‘Autumn Humanities Readings,’ a ‘Made in Public’ program of the Wanju Cultural City Support Center. We also ran ‘It’s Open When Three of You Get Together.’ We often plan and operate our own programs reflecting young people's interests and needs in this way. We also rent this space out for gatherings. But there are more people who just come and do what they want. Some people buy food and eat, and some just sit on the sofa and watch TV. It's a space where anyone can do anything. And it's not just for young people. Anyone living in Gosan or Wanju, regardless of age, from elementary school students to senior citizens, can use it. We don't like to set the standards of youth by age.Q. Please tell us your thoughts on Limbo Bookstore and your future plans.A. Kang Soyeon - I loved it when I first came to Limbo. It's a space where you can meet people comfortably and make relationships. This is a place where people are valued and warmly welcomed. I hope that this place will continue to establish itself as a base for connecting local people and expanding strong networks.A. Hong Mijin - I want to make a self-reliance model with which youth cultural activities can continue with no support of local governments or public institutions. Just as honeybees in beehives can't find flowers on their own after tasting the sugar water given by humans. Now, although we are running it with public support, we will try not to lose our dream of living like a wild honeybee someday.A. Yun Jieun - From some point on, I became called a ‘young cultural activist.’ At first, I didn't think much of it, but the more I do, the more I feel a deeper meaning and sense of calling of what I'm doing now. I'm always wary of myself becoming lost in inertia. In the future, I want to continue to meet many people in Wanju, build relationships, and exchange good influences.
People on the spot “It’s so natural that children are happy when their parents are happy”
There is an African proverb that says "It takes a (whole) village to raise a child." ‘Sutgarak (Spoon),’ a parenting community in Gosan-myeon, Wanju-gun, is a community that strives to solve the hardships of raising children that most parents today are experiencing, through ‘cooperation’ and creating a happy society that is good for raising children. Currently, 15 families are participating and raising 19 children together, and Jo Suji, the mother of two children, is the leader.Q. What kind of gathering is ‘Sutgarak’?A. It was first organized in 2014, so it's been 8 years this year. As the title indicates, it’s a parenting community that raises children cooperatively. I don't know the details of its early days very well as I wasn't a member back then, but it is said that some returnees and new rural settlers to Gosan-myeon for farming took a joint parenting lecture and began to take care of their children in turns. Not only did they take care of children, but they also studied and had many discussions while thinking about what values they would raise their children with.However, as they took turns taking care of the children in the members' houses, it just wasn’t a stable and regular co-raising environment. So while looking for a suitable joint parenting location, they were able to move into a place in 2015 because there was a vacant farmhouse restaurant at the Wanju-gun Local Economic Circulation Center. The name ‘Sutgarak’ originated from one of the members saying "I feel sorry that I only put a spoon on the prepared table."Q. When did you join ‘Sutgarak’?A. I lived in Seoul and came to Wanju four years ago. I was somewhat satisfied with my Seoul life and what I was doing, but my husband, who had long dreamed of returning to farming, felt so tired of the stress of his heartless work life, that I readily agreed to follow him. But when I came down, raising children was not easy for me. In the city, you can send children to a daycare center at the age of four, but it wasn't feasible in the countryside. ‘Since we've come to a rural area to live differently from the city, it would be better to raise our kid at home.’ We strived hard, but we soon got tired and stressed until some people around us recommended ‘Sutgarak.’It hasn't been long since I became the leader. The child of the former leader, who has played a pivotal role as a representative for a long time, was old enough to enter elementary school, so I was selected as the new leader after the general meeting.Q. It looks like you have a general meeting system as a decision-making body of the community.A. There’s a general meeting once a month when all the parents have to participate. It is called ‘Damoim’ meaning all the members must attend it. Teachers who take care of our children also attend Damoim and communicate with parents with equal speech rights. They agree with the philosophy of ‘Sutgarak,’ so they can have the same level of open conversation as caregivers. And there is also an operating committee composed of teams taking charge of finance management, education, and facility management. As the joint childcare cooperative is not an official government-approved childcare institution, we don't receive any subsidies from the government. So members have to pay membership fees and even cover operating expenses through their own businesses. Apart from the general meeting or the operating committee, we hold monthly parent study meetings and conduct reading and joint learning in various fields such as education philosophy, feminism, and Enneagram, etc.Q. There must be merits and demerits of joint parenting. What are the good points, and what parts are not so good?A. Of course there are more merits. Above all, it's good to look at the child as he/she is and respect their individual circumstances, interests, and individuality. Children choose their own toys and play with them every day. Children are so happy to play while getting their clothes dirty in the spacious playground, whether it rains or snows. Sometimes they get hurt playing in the playground, but the parents really don't care. Not only children, but also parents are happy. Parents can also enjoy various hobbies in their clubs, learning foreign languages or doing sports, which seem to enrich their minds. Because my heart is relaxed, I don't get angry at children. It's a virtuous cycle in which children become happier because their parents are happy.One thing we regret is a lack of diversity in child care. I hope the diversity of forms of child care can be recognized. Children attending daycare centers are provided with 700,000 won per month, and children who are raised at home or by a joint parenting system like us are provided with only 200,000 won in total. In the case of Northern Europe, if more than five families gather and raise children jointly, it is recognized and supported as a ‘semi-childcare facility,’ and I think Korea also needs to accept those various types of caregiving.
Our culture becomes a city.
Wanju was designated as a cultural city for the first time in the county in 2021 and the first in Honam.
With the vision of a "community cultural city that changes life with a new cultural experience together,"
Wanju will be able to start a strong step toward a sympathetic cultural city that grows into autonomy, a shared cultural city through resource connection,
a joint cultural city through cooperative creation, and a symbiotic cultural city through cooperation and solidarity.