Platohedro, Kër Thiossane and Centre d’Art Waza, have identified an interest tocollaborate on a project exploring ideas of the commons together.To address all three of these issues, the three organisations, together withMolemoMoiloaand researchers that each organisationis collaborating with(has engagedwith),areworkingcollaboratively to develop amultimedia series (online publications, radio andvideo programms) on the commons through art practice, according to each context.The(videos /)material they will produceare intended to explore different understandingsof the commons and also to tool strategies for commons, specific to each context.The objective of the video and radio series is to conduct research on ideas around thecommons in art practice, share learnings between our contexts, and to translate theresearch into accessible, ‘toolable’ content that can be shared within our ecosystems andbeyond.A first stage of this collaborative project and results will be shared online in December.The research is a parallel process of interviews by the organisations and in-depththeoretical engagement by the researchers. The research looks to place the discussion ofcommons withineachcontexts.This way wecouldrely on existing localised practices to build our knowledge, that is inconversation with western debates on the commons rather than dependent on these. Thisincludes identifying names, words and practices that localise the conversation aroundcommons in our contexts, and potentially working with “south” specific theories, forexample Buen Vivir/Sumak Kawsay and Ubuntu/African Humanism, in order to expand thediscourse on commons more generally.
The research responds to local needs for greater recognition of our own existing forms ofresource sharing and relationships with our societies/environments. We want to articulatethese practices to ourselves and our ecosystems as a way of better understanding them,but also collectively better valuing them, which we see as urgent and vital for paradigmshifts in our contexts.The research itself looks to support the work of the commons project to assist itsconceptualisation, inform its development and expound upon its findings. This it does byassisting to ‘define’ the meaning of commons in our contexts, make connections betweenthe existing literature and the ideas that emerge from the project etc.Furthermore, this research potentiallywill serveas the initial groundwork towards a moreexpansive research process that looks to track and understand the ways in which culturaland art centres, collectives and individual artists on the African continent are engagingwith the idea of the commons. This would be a larger future project to be developed inconnection with Stichting Doenin collaboration with Molemo Moiloa.