CFP The Politics of Commoning and Designing | DRS2016 Additional Theme Session

valeria graziano Announcement
United Kingdom
Subject Fields
Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Geography, Humanities, Urban Design and Planning


50th Anniversary International Design Research Society Conference 27-30 June 2016, Brighton, UK

Call for Papers: Additional Theme Session

Session Title: The Politics of Commoning and Designing
Deadline for full papers: 9th November 2015


Bianca Elzenbaumer, Leeds College of Art, UK
Valeria Graziano, Middlesex University, UK
Kim Trogal, University of the Arts, London

This theme aims to bring together practitioners, activists and researchers to explore the tensions and potentialities around commoning in design and the (re)production of ‘community economies’. As De Angelis (2007) and others point out, commons are today thought as the basis on which to build social justice, environmental sustainability and a good life for all. But they, just as ‘community economies’ (J.K. Gibson-Graham and Roelvink, 2011), operate within a world dominated by capital’s priorities and are thus also sites of struggle as well as targets of co-optation and enclosure.

We invite papers that relate to the following questions:

  • What are the tensions and contradictions we encounter or create when designing for the commons?

  • In activating commons to create and sustain alternative livelihoods, how does the role of designers change as well?

  • If we take the commons and ‘community economies’ as a tool rather than as a goal, what do they allow us to contribute to?

  • What practices of self-organization and division of labour are useful in getting people involved in commoning for progressive social change?

This theme focusses on, amongst other things, how design relates to new forms of enclosure, struggles and social justice, and the reproductive labour necessary to care for commons. It seeks to benefit practitioners who want to imagine alternative ways of making their livelihoods away from waged relations and professionalism, and those who are questioning the role of the designer as a problem solver not implicated in the “community” s/he interacts with.



De Angelis, Massimo  and Stavrides, Stavros. 2010. “On the Commons: A Public Interview with Massimo De Angelis and Stavros Stavrides.” in E-flux 17 (August 2010).

De Angelis, M. (2007).The Beginning of History: Value Struggles and Global Capital. London: Pluto Press

Elzenbaumer, Bianca. 2014. “Designing Economic Cultures: Cultivating Socially and Politically Engaged Design Practices Against Procedures of Precarisation”. London: Goldsmiths, University of London.

Federici, Silvia. 2011. “Feminism and the Politics of the Commons”.

Gibson-Graham, J.K., and Gerda Roelvink. 2011. “The Nitty Gritty of Creating Alternative Economies.” Social Alternatives 30 (1): 29–33.

Graziano, Valeria, and Mara Ferreri. ‘Passions without objects: the politics of temporary art spaces’, Revue de Recherches Sociologiques et Anthropologiques, 45 (2), 2014: 83-102.

Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. 2009. Commonwealth. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Harney, Stefano, and Fred Moten. 2013. The undercommons: Fugitive planning & black study. Brooklyn: Minor Compositions.

Harvey, David, 2012 Chapter 3 The Creation of the Urban Commons, in Rebel cities: from the right to the city to the urban revolution. Verso Books, 2012: 67- 88

Midnight Notes Collective, 1990. The New Enclosures. Midnight Notes (10), Jamaica Plain, MA: Midnight Notes.

Petrescu, Doina and Trogal, Kim, (forthcoming).  The Social (Re)Production of Architecture.  Politics, Economies and Actions in Contemporary Practice. London: Routledge.

CFP link:

For an extended version of this call:

Contact Information

Bianca Elzenbaumer, Leeds College of Art, UK
Valeria Graziano, Middlesex University, UK
Kim Trogal, University of the Arts, London

Contact Email