Nottingham network meeting

Network members talking in small groups

Our first full-network meeting took place on 11-12 December at New Art Exchange in Nottingham. It was great to bring everyone together – academics, artists/makers, curators – to discuss our shared interest in craft and commons for the first time.

A first session introduced the network: its purpose, research questions and activities, and how it came about. Deirdre and Emma from Craftspace also talked about the We Are Commoners! exhibition, which the network is feeding into. We then split into small groups to discuss what we wanted to get out of the event, what we already knew about commons and commoning, and what we wanted to know more about.

We made some notes:

We then moved onto two sessions of ‘storying the commons’: a diverse set of provocations, presentations and stories shared by the academics with expertise in the commons. We heard four provocations for thinking about the commons by network Co-Investigator Leila Dawney; a discussion of the Commons Preservation Society, founded in the 1860s, by Naomi Millner; a short piece of speculative fiction by Jeremy Kidwell; a reflection on an excerpt from Moby Dick by Patrick Bresnihan; and a presentation exploring wood, biosolvents, the Charnwood Opera and the Charter of the Forest by Dimitris Papadopoulos.

During the stories, we made a communal notebook by writing and drawing on loose sheets, which I then compiled into a zine and distributed to the network members. Excerpts are shown below, and the full notebook is freely available in pdf form.

Finally, we talked through the next steps for the network – various activities that will happen in smaller groups between now and the next big event, the second full-network meeting and a sharing day, which are scheduled for 15/16 October at MAC in Birmingham. Expect to hear more about those activities on the blog in the coming months!

– Amy Twigger Holroyd

Sakab Bashir
[email protected]