My research work investigates the ‘commons’ as space and process and as a route to reclaiming our shared inheritance and building a sustainable future. There is an urgent need to preserve and protect our natural commons and recognise the value of collective commoning practices that allow citizens to take power with a shared responsibility to steward and take care of nature, knowledge or practices. I use ‘research through design’ methodologies where I am embedded in my local community, working to facilitate the design capabilities of local people.
Commons Sense is an inquiry into the potential design has to contribute to making visible commons/-ing. In my locality, I ask what people understand about commons and explore where and how commons/-ing takes place. I speculate on what other commons might be possible. I develop designs to communicate commons concepts. Each study attempts to create conditions for dialogue and ways to encourage participation. I discover the importance of situated practice, our relations to nonhuman worlds, the need for diversity and design for every day lives.
Festival as a commons
The co-design of a festival of sustainable ideas called ‘Sustainability on Sea’. An act of commoning, collectively revealing a social ecosystem alongside the creation of new shared knowledge, the festival also acts as a platform for other commoning practices. This research explores how design practices can support, amplify and expand commoning practices. With a ‘research through design’ method I was embedded in the festival team for the duration of the project and designed data visualisations reflecting back on the collective practice.
Walking in search of the commons
A model of sustainable design practice rooted in the commons and acts of commoning. The model consists of a walk for women, the objective of which is to identify common land, currently underutilised, in the public domain for the common good, perhaps as community gardening projects.