March 6, 2024

Meet Movement Training and Cultural Center

Meet Movement Training and Cultural Center

We recently connected with Vanny Huot from the 2023 Sasaki Foundation Design Grants project Movement Training and Cultural Center. The project will focus on designing a recently acquired building in Revere to serve the Ayni Institute and Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE) as a regional movement hub.

Sasaki Foundation (SF): What was the biggest inspiration behind your project?

Vanny Huot (VH): At Ayni, our work is rooted in Indigenous traditions. We have partnerships with Indigenous leaders in the Andes, Amazon, and Central America. These relationships serve as a big inspiration to our building design process.

At the end of the day, we are movement nerds that believe behind every great social movement is a great training center. The center will triple our in-person training capacity. It’s our dream to turn our building into a world class training institute: a place to learn, connect, and commune in relationship with Mother Earth. We remain in awe and in gratitude that we are stewards of a movement building.

Ayni Institute’s Our Voices Conference 2019

Image courtesy Ayni Institute

SF: Who makes up the team? What are their backgrounds and expertise when it comes to the project?

VH: The building is stewarded by the Ayni Institute and NUBE. Both organizations are led by a small team of dynamic leaders. I’m the building coordinator and am responsible for leading and facilitating the Stewardship Team’s goals for the building. Over the last few months, each of the organizational stewards have made some big decisions regarding shared goals and function of the building. On this project, I’m honored to be centering the voices of the stewards around the design opportunities and possibilities available to us.

five individuals in a large open space, in the final stages of construction

Design Grants Team and Sasaki volunteer designers on a site visit to the Movement Training and Cultural Center building, January 24, 2024

Image courtesy Mo Gomez

SF: What is one of your favorite aspects about your work on this project?

VH: It’s a privilege to work among dedicated movement leaders who have strong connections to their Indigenous elders and more importantly, who have a desire to create a new global culture of reciprocity. A culture in which we can treat each other, all species and Mother Earth with dignity and respect.

What excites me about this project is being able to facilitate design discussions and alleviate the pressures of having to be a design expert in order to realize the purpose of the building.

My favorite part of this work is being able to share the design resources and tools with my team and inviting them to make design decisions that they feel comfortable and confident to support and implement.

SF: What are the aspirations you have for this project and the impact your work will make on your community?

VH: We hope that the building can provide a welcoming presence for our community members to access as a training center and more. We want the building to invoke curiosity across our network and broad community. We want this building to become a beacon that is considerate of and honors our collective dignity.

SF: How can others get involved with the work you’re doing?

VH: Our team is excited to have the support of the Sasaki Foundation. We believe that we can be in a reciprocal relationship with you too. Are you rooted in community and committed to social change? Are you a social change leader? If so, learn more about our educational offerings at Ayni Institute.

Thanks so much to Vanny for her time, and to the entire Movement Training and Cultural Center team for all their hard work on this impactful project. Stay tuned for future installments with more of our 2023 Design Grants teams!