Crafting and commoning: points of connection

Daker, E. and Holroyd, A.T. ORCID: 0000-0003-3403-3516, 2023. Crafting and commoning: points of connection. In: CKC 2023: New Futures for Creative Economies, Watershed, Bristol, 29-30 March 2023.

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Recently, the idea of the commons has made a comeback in humanities and social sciences, as well as in contemporary forms of activism. This idea, previously associated with the back-to-the-land movements of the 1960s and 70s, with debates over resource management or with the pursuits of social and legal historians, has gathered traction as a way of both imagining ecological and political futures and finding ways to live in an increasingly privatised and austerity-blighted world. At the same time, an array of community-oriented craft initiatives that connect with the politics of the commons have emerged, including makerspaces, online networks and repair shops. Enabling peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge, tools and materials, they disrupt industrial capitalist production and resist the individualism of intellectual capital and consumer culture.

From 2019 to 2021 the Crafting the Commons network brought together artists, makers, curators and academics to creatively interrogate intersections between craft practices and emergent academic research on the ideas, stories and politics of the commons. The network informed the development of We are Commoners: Creative Acts of Commoning, a major national touring exhibition by Craftspace that launched in March 2021. We will share insights generated through this collaborative process, drawing on the commissioned artworks to consider ways in which craft enables us to share resources, ideas and knowledge and the role of making in fostering a more collective relationship with the places where we live.

In the exhibition, artists’ projects are represented across three themes: Claiming, Healing and Co-operating. They offer ideas and resources to inspire acts of commoning as a way to renew civic life. Skills and materials provide either a means to common – often in a shared or portable way – or are used to give insight into examples of commoning. Projects range from work influenced by historical land-based commons, such as ‘Common Ground: The Walsall Rd Allotments’ project by Alice McLean and Justine Boussard and stained glass work ‘Rewilding at the Clootie Tree’ by Pinkie Maclure, to investigations of digital commons, including Alinah Azadeh’s ‘Craft in Common’ resource which explores themes of courage, care, loss, connection and repair. Twigger Holroyd’s own interactive installation, ‘A Temporary Outpost of the Blue Fashion Commons’, explores clothing as a shared community resource. International artwork includes ‘Nets Project’ by Claudia Rodríguez, Ana Joaquina Ramírez and Rosina Santana Castellón in which a 150-metre-long weave brought communities together to protest about the polluted Santiago river in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Item Type: Conference contribution
Creators: Daker, E. and Holroyd, A.T.
Date: March 2023
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham School of Art & Design
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 09 Jun 2023 10:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2023 10:21

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