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UfSO at AMASS: Towards an Economy of the Commons

April 16, 2011

UfSO will be speaking today at AMASS: Towards an Economy of the Commons, a platform for discussions exploring new models and practices for sustaining the commons today.

Chisenhale Gallery
64 Chisenhale Road
London, United Kingdom

In the face of mass cuts to public services (particularly to arts and education), emerging forms of governance rampantly colonising intellectual resources in the digital domain, the privatisation of public space in urban development, and new narratives of the Big Society in the UK, what does the commons mean for us today? How can we approach a new protocol for the commons under such circumstances?

AMASS is an open conference that invites organisations, collectives and individuals working in the cultural sector to discuss past experiences, present practices, and future ambitions concerning mutual aid, pooled knowledge, networked infrastructures and modes of self-organisation. Through examining these varying perspectives concerning the commons, AMASS aims to address key themes:

Open Source: A way of working that is free from individual concern and notions of property in a process of shared learning.

Sustainability: As a collaborative, and socially minded endeavour, rather than self-reliance or preservation.

Self-organisation: What meaningful self-organisation manifests through artists’ informal working methods.

Precarious Labour: How to protect the rights of creative workers in an increasing atmosphere of insecurity and unpredictability.

Through these exchanges we wish to collectively investigate our strategies, successes, and failures, considering the obstacles and potentialities for the development of the commons. Following the event, all materials will be collated into an open online archive, which will serve as a generative research database for future endeavours.


1:30 – 2:00 – Tea, coffee and bagels
2:00 – 2:30 – Introduction to the commons (Stevphen Shukaitis)
2:30 – 3:15 – Amateurist Network (Eva Weinmayr and Sion Whellens)
3:15 – 3:30 – Break
3:30 – 4:15 – …ment (Anthony Illes ; University for Strategic Optimism)
4:15 – 4:30 – Break
4:30 – 5:15 – DOXA (collected cases, interviews, and open analysis)


Contributors to AMASS include:

Stevphen Shukaitis is a lecturer at the University of Essex and a member of the Autonomedia editorial collective. He is the author of Imaginal Machines: Autonomy & Self-Organization in the Revolutions of Everyday Day (2009, Autonomedia) and editor (with Erika Biddle and David Graeber) of Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations // Collective Theorization (AK Press, 2007). His research focuses on the emergence of collective imagination in social movements and the changing compositions of cultural
and artistic labour.

Eva Weinmayr is an artist, lecturer and co-director of AND, a new platform for experimental publishing. AND’s current activities include the Piracy Book Project producing new collections for the Byam Shaw Library. Recent and upcoming exhibitions by Weinmayr include The Cult of The Difficult 2011; The Institute of Mental Health Is Burning Newport Museum and Art Gallery 2011.

Sion Whellens is Client Services Director at Calverts, a common ownership worker co-operative. He also works in co-operative development, particularly within the creative and cultural, arts and communications fields and is an elected member of the UK Co-operative Council and a Director of Co-operatives UK.

Anthony Iles is a contributing editor to online and quarterly print magazine, Mute, He is also Co-editor with Mattin of the recent book Noise & Capitalism, San Sebastian: Arteleku, 2009 and co-author with Josephine Berry Slater of No Room to Move: radical art and the regenerate city, published by Mute in October 2010. He writes on the instrumentalised role of culture within the current stage of ‘culture-led urban regeneration’, and notions of the ‘Creative City’ in global economics and policy.

(and us, obviously).

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sunghee permalink
    April 16, 2011 8:56 pm

    Hi 🙂
    Loved ur presentation today at AMASS. Hope to see u guys again soon! and it’d be great if u guys post about ur regular meetings. Many people interested in r out there!


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