A New Model for Spatial Practice – Commoning – Torange Khonsari

New Models is a lecture series that invites practitioners from different disciplines to discuss how their work can change the models around which society is organised. These conversations will address how we can shift power structures, socio-economic forces and structural inequalities present in society today to give us new tools to rethink the world around us.​

This talk builds on Professor Jane Rendell’s conceptualisation of Spatial Practices as those that question and transform the social conditions of the sites within which they intervene using the emerging discourse of the commons. The commons had a resurgence in 2008 when Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel prize for her work entitled: Governing the Commons. Using selected projects from Public Works this talk will contextualise why the commons are both a contemporary framework for doing spatial projects and a political act to making emancipatory ‘cracks’ (Holloway, 2010) in the neoliberal capitalist system. The talk is structured in four parts: 1) contextualising the commons, 2) land as common space, 3) the production and mobilisation of the commons and 4) instituting and sustaining the commons.

Dr Torange Khonsari is Co-Founder and Director of the urbanism, public art and architecture practice Public Works since 2004, an inter- disciplinary practice working on co-production methods in art, architecture, urbanism, systems thinking and citizenship. She is currently teaching on the suite of post-graduate and doctoral courses she wrote called Design for Cultural Commons at London Metropolitan University where she is the course leader. She has taught at universities such as UMA school of architecture in Sweden, unit leader at Royal College of Art as well as a visiting professor at Barbican and Guildhall school of Music and Drama. She is currently visiting professor at the International University of Barcelona on the MA – emergency architecture. Torange recently delivered a TEDx talk on the power of Civic Commons. Her expertise on the commons has placed her as an expert adviser and a planetary care fellow for the Design Council.


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