Symposium: Common and Communities

05 nov 2019 kl. 09:00 - 16:30

Dansk Arkitektur Center, Bryghuspladsen 10, 1473 København K

Our common spaces and resources are challenged. How can art and architecture be on the forefront in responding to the challenges we face in our cities and landscapes? At this international symposium artists, architects, sociologists and city planners across disciplines will explore and discuss new projects, strategies, and tools for understanding and using the common goods, values, places, and spaces we share.

The symposium is sponsered by the Danish Arts Foundation in collaboration with the Grant Committee for Visual Arts.

Photo: Gamborg / Magnussen: Cabbage Patch, 2019, Foto: Brian Kinyon

    Common and communities
    Every day, we share multiple resources. As humans, we share natural resources such as the air we breathe and the water we drink. As residents of cities large and small, we share our open spaces and interspaces, the architecture, our parks, squares, and streets. We share these resources as a community; thereby they are effectively our ‘commons’.

    However, by virtue of their nature, these common resources can be harvested, abused, misused, overused, and overpopulated if we who share them, neglect to develop and preserve them for the future. They decrease when not utilized well or cared for – at the expense of the communities themselves.

    In recent years the question of how we manage these resources – and discussions on who has the right to use them – has reached a new level of urgency in architecture, urban planning, and civic life in the face of increasing populations in cities, decreasing populations in rural areas, climate changes, and pollution. Internationally this renewed urgency is emphasized by new practices and needs in urban planning and landscaping: the need for climate resilience initiatives and inclusive urban spaces, urban farming initiatives sprouting in cities providing alternative food supplies and fostering new community spaces.

    With Commons and Community, the Danish Arts Foundation’s Committee for Architecture in collaboration with the Grant Committee for Visual Arts wishes to propose an exploration of such ideas through artistic and architectural practices. For we find common resources, such as art, culture, and knowledge, which due to their nature, do not exhaust but rather increase inexhaustibly the more we as a community take part in them.

    The symposium
    The symposium speculates that art and architecture can be on the forefront of answering the challenge to the commons. Can art and architecture strengthen our experience of our common resources? Can art and architecture provide ways of emphasizing or creating a renewed sense of the community? Or new ways of organizing around them?

    Through three interdisciplinary lenses we will explore: 1) the broad perspective of how we plan communities and common resources in our cities and landscapes; 2) how designers, citizens and communities can develop and share practices for engagement; 3) how art and architecture can work as a catalyst in creating and empowering communities. Each session of the symposium focuses on a different perspective and will include discussions from a group of leading experts as well as engaging table sessions where the audience can contribute with their perspectives.

    The symposium is part of a larger Danish initiative around the themes “Commons and Community” and presented at the 2019 Chicago Architectural Biennial, the 2020 Venice Architectural Biennial, as well as the 2019 Travel and Talk program for 30 architects and artists from Chicago, Detroit, and across Denmark.


    8.30-9.00: Coffee and registration

    9.00-9.15: Welcome remarks
    by Kent Martinussen, CEO, Danish Architecture Center
    by Ellen Braae, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism and Chairman of the Danish Arts Foundation-Architecture

    9.15-9.35: Situating the theme: Commons and Communities
    by Doina Petrescu, Professor of Architecture and Design Activism at the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield.

    9.35-10.00 Coffee

    10.00-11.15: Session #1 “How do we plan and share our common resources?”

    11.15-11.35: Situating the theme: Sharing our Commons and Communities
    by Henrietta Palmer, Artistic Professor Urban Design, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology & Deputy Scientific Director, Mistra Urban Futures, Gothenburg

    11.35-12.30: Lunch

    12.30-13.45: Session #2 “How do we practise for sharing, collaboration, empowerment and engagement in communities”

    13.45-14.15: Coffee

    14.15-14.35: Situating the theme: Commons and Communities within artistic strategies
    by Sophie Jerram, Activist and Curator, Letting Space, Wellington New Zealand, Landscape Architecture and Planning, University of Copenhagen.

    14.35-16.00: Session #3 “How can art be a catalyst for creating communities and sharing resources?”

    16.00-16.15: Closing remarks
    by Ellen Braae, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism and Chairman of the Danish Arts Foundation-Architecture, Copenhagen

    16.15-17.00: Reception

    Organizers: DAC & The Danish Arts Foundation's Committee for Architecture