June 15, 2017

Restoring the Commons

What do a barrier free DIY community street festival and a conservation project to purchase and protect hundreds of hectares of privately owned forest have in common? They are both, at their heart, about restoring the commons. This seems to be the emergent theme for me in 2017. It is a thread that ties my work together into some sort of cohesive pattern.

Wikipedia offers this definition: A common is a shared resource managed by a community who create rules to make the resource durable. The resource can’t be monopolised by one or a group of individuals, it has to be as opened as possible. The resource is not private or public, it’s a third thing: a common.

The idea of the commons excites me, because it creates a 3rd space, where creativity and cooperation flourish.

I am elevatedIn the context of the Elevate Arts Festival, the idea of the commons transforms a space filled with private and public delineations into a morphing, undulating arena of action, dance, music and ideas. The event seems to activate people, pull them out of their patterns and draw them into a common space where the act of co-existing, and co-creating, and celebrating is preeminent.

the bear


In the context of the Cumberland Community Forest Society, the commons is a focal point for a diverse community working tirelessly to remedy a historical transaction, a theft of the commons that created benefit for a few rich capitalists and an immense loss for first nations, nature and settlers since. This point of focus galvanizes creativity, philanthropy and energy in individuals, community groups and businesses.We are working together to acquire something for the purpose of sharing it with nature and people, without benefit for any one.

The idea of spaces that exist beyond of the concepts of public or private is exciting to me. I look forward to exploring it more as 2017 unfolds

Photo credits:

Art of turning concrete into grass: Ron Pogue

Ursula and Bear: Bobby Herron

I am elevated: Ron Pogue


Filed under: The hum of my brain