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Commons and Commoning
October - November 2023

Online Seminars: 10 – 27 October
In situ Barcelona: 2 – 7 November
HOST INSTITUTION: Facultat de Belles Arts Universitat de Barcelona

PARTNERS: PARTNERS: Bauhaus Universitat Weimar (Germany) Université Rennes2 (France), University College Cork (Ireland), Uniwersytet Artystyczny w Poznaniu (Poland) Queens University (Belfast, Ireland), Concordia University (Montreal, Canada), Idensitat (Barcelona).

A speculative programme designed to foment collaborative practices, community, and new approaches to urban space, involving online and face to face seminars exploring the contemporary urban environment and questions of the Commons and Commoning through interdisciplinary collaboration.


The Barcelona outpost of the Public Arts Garage builds on the two Public Arts Garage modules, designed by Alexandra Rogan Toland and Martin Leibinger (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar) in collaboration with faculty and students from the Universitat de Barcelona, Concordia University (Montreal), Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland), Université Ren- nes2 (France) and University College Cork (Ireland) and developed in Spring and Summer of 2022. It is a continuation of the various academic engagements and creative collaborations within the international Creative Approaches to Public Space (CAPS) spearheaded in Rennes2. Presentations from previous versions of the Public Arts Garage were developed within the city of Barcelona are a part of the ETC (Espais Temporalment Clausurats) in collaboration with Idensitat.


The idea of the commons stems from Roman law, which refers to the res communis, the thing which belongs to everyone, as opposed to the res nullius, which belongs to no one. The commons have traditionally been tied to the definition of the ownership status of areas shared within a community; a path, pond, beach or forest etc and for thousands of years rural communities have managed certain areas collectively, and as such the commons are possibly the most ancestral relationship to property known to humankind.

In Caliban and the Witch, Silvia Federici (2004), however, points to the way capitalism blossoms through a reduction of the commons and the very privatisation of such lands. How the enclosure of these Commons; used for the common good to keep cattle, fish, gather timber or socialise have placed in jeopardy the survival of communities who for centuries had shared such spaces. The commons spaces were ones of encounter, solidarity, and sociality, and their social function was especially important for the subsistence and autonomy of women. The expropriation of these Commons has consequently reduced not just economic and social space, but also freedom to occupy and activate those spaces.

Contemporary concepts of the Commons and of Commoning recognise shared ownership beyond land, incorporating common knowledges, practices, and ways of being that are not tied to the physical. Indeed, the contemporary return to the Commons and practices of commoning can be considered as acts that challenge the status quo.

The Barcelona Public Arts Garage is a programme aimed at doctoral and predoctoral students who are interested in exploring questions of urban space and collaborative practices. It will build on the collaborative approaches developed during the Public Arts Garage project, to continue to bridge distinct disciplines and incorporate the diversity of fields of practice, academic styles, and structures of the different partner institutions.

The programme will explore ideas of the Commons and Commoning through theoretical seminars (online and in Barcelona) and interactions within the public space, establishing different forms of collaborative constellations across digital and in situ workshops.

Public Arts Garage: ETC:


IMARTE Research Group: