Designing the Cultural Commons

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Join this two-day course to discover new models for sharing resources, values, spaces and wealth.

What to expect

Collectively explore alternative values, approaches and modes of production for design through the lens of the Commons: an emerging field of study that offers new models for sharing resources, values, spaces and wealth. Tutors and students from the MA ‘Designing the Cultural Commons’ will introduce a range of methods and techniques that can be applied to your own work.

Light refreshments will be provided throughout the course, however please note that lunch is not provided.
Please also bring in one everyday object that is important to you on Day 1.

Course Structure

Workshop One: Identifying Needs

Tutor: Miki Holloway

How can we use dialogue and participation to identify the needs of potential users of a design? Led by tutor Holloway, this discussion-based workshop introduces methods to collectively navigate and understand user-needs and key considerations in developing new work.

About Miki

Miki is an artist who makes in dialogue developing our understanding of collaboration and solidarity with an ethics of care.

Workshop Two: Finding Common Values

Tutor: Lucy Schofield

What are the multiple values that everyday objects hold for us? Using objects from the home as a case-study, in this drawing workshop participants will assess and map-out the different meanings and roles that objects hold for us, creating a shared cartography of the symbolic values that inform design.

Please bring along an everyday object that is important to you for this part of the course.

About Lucy

Lucy is a socially engaged artist interested in ideas of making collaboratively exploring role of things and objects in society.

Workshop Three: Alternative Forms of Production

Tutor: Alice Holloway

What alternative modes of production exist? This workshop introduces and imagines different forms of production for the cultural commons. Factors considered include wealth re-distribution, environmental sustainability and ethical production methods.

About Alice

Alice Holloway is a lingerie designer that investigates regenerative fashion practice, healthy body narratives, and creative post-growth business models.

Workshop Four: Land-Use and Creating Space

Tutor: Neil McDonald

What is the role of land in creating the commons and what are the first steps required to achieve it? This final workshop explores the functions of land and architecture in creating a cultural commons, introducing tools to map-out multiple uses and translate these into tangible actions to take forward.

About Neil

Neil is founding director of Stour Space and HWFI Community Development Trust. He is interested in claiming of land for community and cultural use.


Torange Khonsari

Torange Khonsari is Co-Founder and Director of art and architecture practice Public Works, an interdisciplinary practice combining performative art, architecture, anthropology and politics. Torange also leads the Design for Cultural Commons Masters at The Cass. She has previously taught at international universities such as UMA School of Architecture in Sweden and UIC Barcelona, Guildhall, and the RCA.

Related exhibition

Designer Maker User

Featuring over 1,000 objects, Designer Maker User is an introduction to the history of contemporary design through three interconnected roles - the Designer, the User and the Maker.