- Univresity of London Institute in Paris
Peabody Square, Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HU
- Event dates
, 10:30 am - 5:30 pm GMT
'Commons, Wilds, Infrastructures' is a research project led by Dr John Bingham-Hall, as part of the Banister Fletcher Global Fellowship, a fellowship opportunity piloted by the University of London Institute in Paris in partnership with the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).
The core of the research is around three collective walks, in Paris and in London, each (literally) exploring public atmospheres at three different scales. This work will connect infrastructural critique to public sphere theory, design research and studies of urban ecology.
This third walk focuses on 'Commons'. Urban commoning aims to counter the passive consumption of the neoliberal public realm by creating community around the cultivation of collective resources. Community gardens have come to represent so much about how commoning is imagined, but they raise important questions. Commoning is an energetic, messy process – manifested in the act of gardening – but its spaces and aesthetics can risk being co-opted as symbols of social inclusion, without challenging the unequal power structures of the public. What kinds of community are imagined in different modes of gardening, and what are the ecologies of these different imaginaries? Can we get past the co-opting of commoning aesthetics by thinking gardens as settings of communication, demanded by the conflicts and negotiations of sharing?
Bringing together scholars with artists and activists, equipping participants with both observational tools and frames, drawing on sonic and choreographic walking methods, this research project aims to produce a critical cartography of connections between human and non-human cultures.
The day starts with a seminar and is folllowed by a collective walk in London. Scroll down to discover the various guest speakers' profiles and the detailed programme of the day.
Presentations and Profiles of Speakers
Carole will ask "what is a community garden", given that Peabody Blackfriars is behind closed gates and only available to estate residents, while Brookwood Triangle is open access. Questioning how commoning and community can be differently imagined, we will walk a route connecting gardens in the area: Peabody Blackfriars; Helen Gladstone Garden; Brookwood Triangle; Diversity Garden; Blackfriars Road Garden.
> Blak Outside is a grass roots led, intergenerational, supportive of social housing residents, QTIBIPOC (queer, trans, intersex, Black, indigenous people of colour). The project builds on existing work, particularly the thirty years of community work of Carole Wright to provide a long-term legacy within the communities where she lives and works. Blak Outside has been selected for Support Structures for Support Structures, a fellowship programme initiated by the Serpentine Galleries, that supports up to ten artists and collectives working at the intersection of art, spatial politics and community practice.
Ella will offer some extended notes through recent work she has been doing on acoustic commoning; on listening as a practice of reciprocity and deep attention; on conversation, negotiation and using voice to hold space and land; on stewardship of invisible or intangible, ever-changing growing resources; on resisting the commons as case study. These notes will be offered to all participants as score to annotate with voice notes around and in the gardens Carole has introduced us to.
> Ella Finer’s work in sound and performance spans writing, composing, and curating with a particular interest in how women’s voices take up space; how bodies acoustically disrupt, challenge, or change the order of who is allowed to occupy—command—space. Her research continuously queries the ownership of cultural expression through sound; often made in collaboration. Recent projects include: Silent Whale Letters (Ocean Archive, with Vibeke Mascini), Ode/Oda (Gasworks, with Mercedes Azpilicueta) and By night, tidal city (MAP, with James Wilkes). She is currently finishing her first book Acoustic Commons and the Wild Life of Sound.
Borbála will talk about how the various manifestations of what we call nature (including gardens, parks, nature reserves as well as the "wild") are both physically and culturally constructed. Drawing on decolonial, feminism, queer and eco-crip theory she will question how the borders between the natural and unnatural are maintained and for whose benefit.
> Borbála Soós (1984, Hungary) is a UK-based curator and an active advocate, participant and organiser of artistic and ecological research. 2012-2019 she was director/curator at Tenderpixel, a contemporary art gallery in central London. She recently curated projects for the OFF-Biennale, Budapest; and public institutions Trafó, Budapest; FUTURA, Prague; tranzit, Bratislava; ICA London; Camden Arts Centre, London and upcoming at CCA Derry-Londonderry.
Cecily will discuss her experience as a volunteer gardener at Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers for over two years where she helps run an allotment space at Peckham Baptist Church. She works with clients who have been referred to the garden, a therapeutic space focused on improving mental health and wellbeing through growing, cooking and eating.
> Cecily Chua is Associate Director at Theatrum Mundi leading on Design, Research, and Editorial, and the annual learning programme Polyvocal City. As an Urban Researcher Cecily has worked on a number of commissioned studies, including a research publication focusing on the creative industries and the importance of culture to London’s economy. Her work has been exhibited at the Architecture and Urbanism Biennales of Seoul, Buenos Aires and Glasgow and as part of the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition. Cecily has experience as visiting tutor, lecturer and critic at the University of Westminster, Oxford Brookes University and the Royal College of Art.
Programme - 7 June 2022
- 10:30 – Coffee + introductions
- 11:00 – Openings
- Borbála Soós
- Cecily Chua
- 11:30 – Responses and discussion
- 12:15 – Notes for an acoustic commoning
- Ella Finer
- 14:00 – What is a community garden?
- led by Carole Wright
- 15:30 – Responses and discussion
- 16:00 – Communal sounding
- sharing and discussing audio notes
- 17:00 – Garden party