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Wanju’s Innovative Projects

Stepping Over the Threshold of Civil Spaces, Sharing Through Culture

Our Neighborhood’s Culture Sharing Space Closer than Home

One of the biggest difficulties citizens experience while engaged in cultural activities is the very ‘space’. However, building new cultural buildings at every necessary spot is not easy. In addition, without a perfect transportation system, it is not easy for citizens to utilize them. Culture City Wanju has focused on these regional characteristics, and since 2020, has been operating the ‘Culture Sharing Space in Our Village’ through cooperation with the private sector. Culture City Wanju and its citizens have set an agreement to cooperate with each other to utilize vacant spaces and vacant times of government offices for citizens’ cultural activities.


No Need for New Buildings

In order for a community to be active and unity to increase, a space where people can gather and share their concerns on a daily basis is needed. In that sense, it is desirable that new experiments and challenges regarding shared spaces are increasing. There are no particular external rules to define the shared space. Further, each shared space is managed individually and in its own way, as participants and the main activities of the spaces are different. 

However, there are some invisible characteristics that all the shared spaces have in common. First, there should be no access limits. Second, it is better when there’s no big difference between hosts and guests. Third, it’s better if they have multiple functions for reading, meeting, chatting, and lectures whenever needed.

Recently, Wanju citizens also have managed lots of shared spaces. We’d like to introduce 6 spaces that have joined the ‘1 Million Won Labs of Our Village’s Culture Shared Spaces’; Darak (Yongjin-eup), Mankeum (Bongdong-eup), Media Cafe (Iseo-myeon), Byeolmadang (Gui-myeon), Bomulseom (Bongdong-eup), and Dinggadingga (Bongdong-eup).

Spaces are culture studios for all


Cultural Arts Space, Darak

- 652-10, Sinjiri, Yongjin-eup, Wanju-gun

‘Cultural Arts Space, Darak’, located in Yongbok Village, Yongjin-myeon, Wanju-gun is the village’s as yet uncompleted shared space. It consists of a house, a yard, and a farm. As it is located at the place where two villages meet, it has its own merit in that anyone can visit it comfortably.

It took the first step as a shared space through the ‘1 Million Won Lab’ base construction project that it participated in last year, and confirmed new possibilities by conducting various cultural programs such as artist workshops, ‘Twos and threes Yongbok village’s hometown spring’, and nighttime trips.

“I thought it would be nice if this space could become a culture house in the village where anyone can find music when they want to listen to music or when they need a break. At first I really wondered if anyone would come, but gradually I began to feel good as more and more neighbors participated. The residents also told me that it is good that they can eat and listen to music together. The biggest result I got from the management of this shared space is people. As you may understand, we can share each other’s time and experiences. This year, I’d like to develop better contents necessary for the management of this space. I have planned to hold workshops and throw parties.”

Park Juyeon, manager of ‘Cultural Arts Space, Darak’ explained that there are no walls. One charming point of this space is that anybody passing by can enter into the well-kept lawn yard, and sit down on a chair under a colorful parasol to take a rest. The place where senior citizens and newly settled young farmers can listen to music together; where parties are held each season to enjoy seasonal food together; and where anyone can tell their life stories sharing their time and experiences at their own slow pace. This is what she really wants the space to establish itself.



- First floor, 27-3, 2 gil, Nakpyeongsinwol, Bongdong-eup, Wanju-gun

‘Mankeum’ is a shared space run by a community named ‘Binttang’. ‘Mankeum’ means ‘as much’. It is literally a name with great expandability that users of the space can use as much as they need and as much as they want, to do with as they please, and for what activities they desire to do. Intending to make a space where participants ponder over our society’s sustainability through ‘zero waste’ movement, it opened on March 11 this spring, which also happens to be the date of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“‘Mankeum’ is the space where, since its opening, members have been thinking about the sustainability of our society, and plans are proceeding to make it a space that publicizes the special social value of ‘zero waste’. It is managed on a membership basis, and aims for activities as a shared space. At present, we are exhibiting ‘Wolgyeong’, which a community named ‘Reading Books Every Month’ holds for two weeks. Members can rentthe space once a month. They gather to talk over environmental issues and topics, and participate in events for waste-free festivals. On Bongdong Market Day, we also promote a campaign for shopping without wrapping or packaging to make Bongdong traditional market a waste-free marketplace.”

The space manager Lee Jiyeon, hopes ‘Mankeum’ will be a space considering the sustainable life of the area as well as doing various experiments for a waste-free society. Looking over the Instagram feeds of ‘Mankeum’, she was surprised at the fact that there are so many people living in this area who are interested in environmental issues. She felt a great relief that while their activities are not big, they are precious. The community rules of ‘Binttang’ led by four ‘Mankeum’ managers show what it really is. Visit ‘Mankeum’ anytime when you want to follow our motto ‘Towards a colorful and unalienated life’.


Media Cafe

- 44, Iseo-ro, Iseo-myeon, Wanju-gun

‘Media Cafe’, located in the downtown area of Iseo-myeon, is a product of typical community activities. Those who gathered for the apartment renaissance project decided to continue their activities even after the project support ended, and d the ‘Weird Community Association’ in 2019. They needed to make money to continue their activities, as well as a space in which to do so. ‘MediaCafe’ is the hot place of the community made in that way.

“People said we would go bankrupt in three months, as it was started by people who had no prior business experience. We continued it for three years, and people started to think of it as a somewhat attractive space. At first, the focus was on projects for children, but now we think more about ourselves, the participants. We, people, like to communicate with each other, and all of us do through media now. That’s why we named our space Media Cafe, to live communicating freely whether online or offline. We close the door at 6 p.m., but we are planning to extend our opening hours to have time to enjoy a light pub or snacks.”

While running the flea market last year, more sellers than expected were recruited, and the market was opened on the street in front of the town office of Iseo-myeon. In the shared space, they offered hand acupuncture, blog making, business card making, and food-related programs at the request of local residents. This year, they are meeting more residents to make different kinds of fruit syrup together. Kim Yeonju, space manager of Media Cafe, hopes that it will become a space where anyone can visit when they want to do something. She also hopes visitors can encounter people sharing similar ideas, adding new ones, and finally making them together.



- 742-1, Wongi-ri, Gui-myeon, Wanju-gun

Kim Okja, manager of Byeolmadang came back to Gui in 2009. She built a house and opened a cafe, where Moak-san and Gui reservoir are located to the front and back, but she realized she was not good at making money. In that difficult situation, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and culture city project of Wanju, she could change the cafe into a shared space called Byeolmadang.

As she had given piano lessons and played the piano for choirs for a long time in Jeonju, music has been her life and is now the most important part of Byeolmadang. 

“When I first moved in, the elderly residents of the village approached me and said hello. Plucking up courage, I held an autumn music concert on a day during autumn at Byeolmadang. The concert is called ‘Autumn Is Really Beautiful’ and it has been held every autumn since then. I was appointed as the head of culture in 2017, and participated in the Culture City Promotion Committee of Wanju-gun. I thought over and over about the shared space, and the Covid-19 pandemic had a key role in deciding what to do. Last year’s ‘Silver Harmony’ remains in my heart. It’s a kind of exchange program between senior citizens and immigrants. This year, I have met lots of people operating several programs like Winter Nighttime Travel, Silver Harmony, Ggomjirak Playground, and Flowers Blooming Twice a Year.”

Operating her shared space, she came to consider intergenerational exchanges important. Young people learn life wisdom from seniors, and the seniors learn how to better use mobile phones from the young.

Byeolmadang has a big yard where the works of visitors are displayed. Small and pretty flowers are drawn on rubber shoes. Wild flowers drawn on a broken jar bloom again. Thanks to its comfortable atmosphere, the elderly of the village visit it freely and neighbors enjoy themselves at night reading books or drinking wine together. It is named Byeolmadang as she loved to stargaze, but now those who visit this space are the stars for her. Where they twinkle with their own colors, that’s the very Byeolmadang.



- 89 Bongdongdongseo-ro, Bongdong-eup, Wanju-gun

Bomulseom Café, located on the first floor of the former Bongdong town office building, is a leading shared space that has been in existence for over 10 years. Chosen as a community business pilot project of the government in 2011, the selected communities of Bongdong began their activities as their hub space for residents. Various programs and projects have been developed around this space. Korean language education and counseling for multi-cultural immigrant females have been the most continuous and steady. As the activity period was long, there were many twists and turns, and difficulties. Many cafes have been built in the Bongdong area, and the young children of multicultural immigrant women who participated in the early days have been thinking about new changes in space management as they enter their teenage years.

“It’s already been over 10 years. The children of the immigrants who started this project together are now teenagers. Last year, we bought an oven for the bakery, which is the base construction project of the shared space. Though there are many cafes in the downtown area, we’d like to make it a valued shared space where we, local residents, immigrants, and their children can get together, study, and learn things necessary for our growth with Bomulseom’s own strong bonds and accumulated skills.”

Manager Kim Jongrye of Bomulseom Café emphasized she would do her best for anyone to use the space as much as they need. At present, Korean language education for immigrant women, bilingual education for children, and language healing education are being conducted during the week. On Saturdays, various workshops necessary for daily life are held, including making seasonal fruit syrup, tropical crop planting, making holiday food together, and making kimchi. After setting up the space of Bomuseom Cafe, she went on a knowledge gathering trip to Japan, and she still remembers a small shared space in a small village there. She wants to make Bomulseom a shared space which protects small things, though not luxurious, where many people communicate and connect with each other, and an unchanged space visited generation after generation. She dreams of such a space, and Bomulseom will remain the same, with accumulating pictures of the times and the people.



- 201-1203, 18, Nakpyeongbuk-ro, Bongdong-eup, Wanju-gun

There is Dinggadingga, a shared space or activity room for women, located on the 12th floor of an apartment building which looks over the Mangyeong River in Bongdong-eup. As it opened last year, it’s been around for just one year. Before explaining more about the space of Dinggadingga, we must first know about a gathering called ‘Moms’ Vacation’. The beginning of moms’ vacation was on November 7, 2018. Moms whose existence as ‘I’ had been dimmed in the family and could not be happy with the title of ‘a mom’ sought to gather in one place. Kim Jiyeong, leader of the space, said she enjoyed herself very much while recollecting the last year. To enjoy yourself is to find a release. She has become a person who tells her thoughts out loud, speaks courageously, and also listens well. From that point, the flowers of a safe relationship begin to bloom.

“I hope women can feel consoled at Dinggadingga. Those who don’t know what they like, or who feel hasty and lonesome not knowing what to do though they want to do something. Healing contents continuously provided by such programs to care for the minds of women, especially for moms, to heal and give fun to their minds, will be at Dinggadingga. Further, I hope the talents of the women can find connections with others.”

Dinggadingga is a shared space of about 112 square meters (34 pyeong), with four bedrooms, a living room, and two bathrooms. There are independent and shared spaces for 1, 2-4, and 6-8 people. It also has shared tools for drawing pictures and a shared library of comics, humanities, and picture books. In addition, there is a resting space prepared for ‘book stay’ programs.

As Kim Jiyeong said, the space itself is not that important. Wherever we are, it is important to understand and be connected with each other. Isn’t it great to have a place where you can visit and come back to at any time, and feel more and more connected with each other? 

‘Dinggadingga’ is a phrase that introduces its self: “As much as anyone can do at any one time, just do it separately and together at your own pace. When the wind blows in your heart, just come.”

Doesn’t your heart beat to its slogan?

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