public cultures and the commons 2011
an international seminar series on rural/urban culture, connectivity and contestation
Friday February 4th 2011 What is ‘the commons’? Dublin, GradCAM
The rural is on the move, now as always. [...] mobility is central to the enactment of the rural. Markets, employment, shopping, socialising, schooling, attending church, seeing a doctor, visiting parks: these all require traversing space, often great reaches of it, whether one lives in a rural place or is travelling to one. From this perspective it is reasonable to claim that the rural is at least as mobile as the urban, if not more so.” (Michael M. Bell and Giorgio Ost “Mobilities and Ruralities: An Introduction”, Sociologia Ruralis: Special Issue on Mobilities and Ruralities, Volume 50, Issue 3, pages 199–204, July 2010)
Because of the mobility of people, goods, information and lifestyles, rural areas are experiencing profound change. The end of the rural exodus, the transformation of lifestyles and images attached to the countryside are contributing to the design of new areas and are the presage of renewed dynamism. One major aspect of the future of ruralities resides in the increasingly intricate relationships between rural and urban areas. More and more, agriculture is sharing space with residential zones and natural environments. On the one hand, urbanisation is transforming the context of farming activities, while on the other, interactions between agricultural and natural areas need to be enhanced. However, although rural areas no longer seem set to decline, their future is dependent upon finding solutions to many questions. (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, New Ruralities in France 2030, July 2008.)
In the widespread discussions of public culture in contemporary art and critical debate, there has been a tendency to focus on urbanism and the concentrated populations of contemporary cities. There has been a relative neglect of the question of extra-urban, rural, or non-urban contexts. This international seminar series seeks to open up a dialogue that works through questions of public-ness and the commons, with particular attention to the interchange and complex interactions of the rural and the urban. The discussion seeks to move beyond any simple opposition between town and country.
When we talk about ‘public-ness’ we often refer to urban space and environment such as the market-place of the city or the public square. On the other hand, when we talk about ‘the commons’, we seem to refer to the rural and to the countryside, and to draw upon a different set of spatial metaphors. But both ‘public-ness’ and ‘commons’ have come to be used as terms that are not simply about space and place, but that also refer to cultural practices, behaviours and encounters. We have begun also to think about ‘public time’ and what this might mean in a number of different contexts. This new collaboration between Scottish Sculpture Workshop and the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media, Ireland will provide an opportunity to examine these issues in a series of exchanges between Scotland and Ireland.
Part of the challenge in these discussions will be to address contemporary constructions of the rural, which are not reduced merely to the ‘countryside’ but which take account of the social, economic, cultural, and political complexity and instability of contemporary ‘ruralities’.
Friday February 4th 2011 Dublin, GradCAM What is ‘the commons’?
Friday March 18th 2011 Lumsden, SSW What is public in globalised ruralities?
Friday July 1st 2011 Dublin, GradCAMWhat is ‘public time’?
Friday September 16th 2011 Lumsden, SSW Food, politics and public culture