Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Free Tree Commune

To be a garden without walls
a vineyard without a guardian
a treasure house forever open to passers by

About Us

Since its beginnings in 1976, CIEDS Collective has been a group that has never hesitated to walk the critical edge of new thinking or in exploring new ways of working and living together. While much of our work is activist in nature, as with women, with rural, urban and tribal communities and through the numerous campaigns that we have initiated and been part of, it is rooted essentially in a more reflective praxis that is able to integrate the aesthetic and the analytical. For it has grown around a vision which has always sought the alternative paradigms in knowledge politics, in art and all other dimensions of life, exploring many visions that nurture and sustain lives, livelihoods and lifeworlds . In this context, CIEDS Collective has given birth to many dreams, ideas, institutions and organizations while working on a rang.

Angala, the women’s counseling centre, Kuteera, a shelter for abused women who have no place to live, World Courts of Women, which seeks alternative notions and forms of justice, investigating dowry deaths, caring for the women in the burns ward of Victoria hospital Bangalore, Streelekha, a Women’s Book Place providing books and documentation on women’s writings and alternatives, Appa ke Adalath where the women elders providing justice within communities, working with rural and urban communities and tribals, Bangalore Film Society exploring the poetics of moving images through film festivals on many themes such as Voices from the Waters traveling film festivals highlighting water issues in schools, colleges and in communities, Cinema of Resistance which highlights the people resistance to oppression across the world, livelihood rights, violence against women, and Deep Focus Film Quarterly which provides insightful literature on films, working on environmental issues, art and culture, housing and building crafts, evening lectures, meetings and round tables on various current and critical issues of our times.

The Free Tree Conference and Training Centre

The Free Tree Conference and Training Centre is serenely nestled among the hills of Vemgal, Kolar just sixty kms away from Bangalore. Facilities offered include a conference hall, workshop spaces and clean and simple residential accommodation for thirty people all of this finds a natural home in the rock sculpted landscape and vast open spaces that is our space in Kolar.

The peace and serenity that greets you at the Free Tree is a pleasant change from the hustle and bustle of the city. The surrounding hills are ideal for long casual treks and the view from the top offers you a vision from here to the horizon that just about sums up your experience at the Centre- calming, vitalizing, quaint and altogether- simply breathtaking, even spiritual.

The Meaning and the Metaphor

The Free Tree, inspired by the Persian name, Azad Darakth for the Neem Tree, an important ecological source of meaning and healing in India and the Asian continent, which was sought to be patented and rendered the private property of a few multinational corporations, is our metaphor for a new way to learn, to know.

The Free Tree therefore conjures up many images: of a nurturing space, a nourishing place, a place of shade, of shelter; the tree protects, it connects, to other cosmologies, to other world views; sitting under a tree is very non-hierarchical, even non-patriarchal; it speaks to community, to conviviality; it reminds us of an ethic of care and concern. Almost every culture as we all know has its Tree of Life, its Tree of Knowledge.

The Free Tree is our tree of knowledge.

We welcome you to the tree of knowledge for organizing your seminars, conferences and workshops or if you need to take some peaceful time off for research, writing or just simply because you need to.

For details contact:


CIEDS Collective, No.33/1-9, Thygaraja Layout, Jaibharath Nagar, M.S Nagar P.O, Bangalore 560 033