commoning & co.

ongoing research

Commoning is the collective care, creation and use of shared resources (commons).  commoning & co. is ongoing research and activity exploring and enacting *commoning as an open-ended process of art making, ecological and social practice.

These concerns are informed by my extensive experience working with people, both within art practice and as an educator, arts professional and with communities. I am interested in commoning as an equitable approach to navigating the complexities of working, creating and imagining together whilst also addressing individual needs and honouring differences.

I am interested in how commoning operates if people (the commoners) are included in the inventory of the commons (the resource), extending this to an interspecies approach (non-human animals, plants, landscapes and so on). To find non-extractive means to imagine alternative economics, shift hierarchies, building togetherness, in a cross-disciplinary and regenerative way in which all individually thrive together. I acknowledge and gives thanks to those whose commoning practices inspire and inform my thinking, particularly the Commoners of the New Forest.

Ongoing and past activity include:

  • art as a commons/ acts of living together: a series of workshops exploring commoning within art practice as social activity, a way of healing, working with others and with nature. With artist Laura Eldret (artist and director Of More Than Ponies) and Marianna Takou (a director of Casco Art Institute Utrecht, The Netherlands) as part of Fine Art, Arts University Bournemouth, Global Networks project. Together we dined as a form of exploration and enactment of the commons.
  • Dimensions of Social Practice in the Rural: A talk discussing ideas of social practice, social ecology, commoning, ruralities, and the interconnectedness of humans and nature. Contributing speaker to the seminar ‘Into another intensity’ at OSR Projects alongside Dr Rosemary Shirley, Kate Genever, Dan Guthrie and Still Moving collective.
  • Practices of Knowledge was part of Schools of Tomorrow, with Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham University, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and primary schools in Nottingham. Practices of Knowledge centred on the performative exchange of expertise between children and adults, whereby all age-groups are acknowledged as both specialists and co-learners, together creating a commons of knowledge.
  • PaC: practicing acts of commons / placing artists in common / practicing artists commoning / utm PaC is a peer group of artists. Together we walk, explore and create a commons of exchange and support to strengthen one another’s practice. Monthly meet-ups take place in the New Forest area. Pac was originated by Laura Eldret at part of More Than Ponies, with support from aspace arts and the commitment of core PaC artists James Aldridge, Gemma Gore, Alys Scott-Hawkins and Melanie Rose.
  • Commoning forms & practices: Productive intersections of socially engaged art, ruralities and social ecology. PhD (2023–26), University of West England, with studentship award.

I am exploring how commoning can be a creative social collective practice that brings people closer to our natural environments, creating new forms of environmental care and sustainable exchanges between human and non-human eco systems. Using commoning and social practice to establish new values of engagement, ruralities, collective imaginations and artistic exchange that foster wellbeing, resilience, and sustainable ways of being in our time of climate emergency.

Laura Eldret October 2023

* Commoning as practice/ activity, distinct from ‘the commons’ as a space or object


Systems of Sharing, Taking, Relaying, 2023. 15 x 21cm. Commons reflections by Lynne Williams, Antroniki Apostolou, Leilani June, Pritish Majumder, Chanda Mwamba, Esther Harbord, Rose-Marie Luk, Prajvi Mandhani and Laura Eldret. © CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 With thanks to Casco Art Institute, Utrecht. Created as part of Fine Art, Arts University Bournemouth, Global Networks project.

Alys Scott-Hawkins and Melanie Rose at PaC meet-up in the New Forest, 2023.

Laura Eldret and children of Robin Hood Primary, Practices of Knowledge /Play Prompt for Grown-ups, 2021-22. Risograph, each 42 x 30cm.