To speak of the commons as if it were a natural resource is misleading at best and dangerous at worst—the commons is an activity and, if anything, it expresses relationships in society that are inseparable from relations to nature. It might be better to keep the word as a verb, an activity,rather than as a noun, a substantive. – Peter Linebaugh (2008)


In the face of mass cuts to public services, emerging forms of governance rampantly colonising intellectual resources in the digital domain, 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 (derived from the verb, ‘to amass’) is an open platform for roundtable discussions exploring new models and practices for sustaining the commons today.


AMASS invites organisations, collectives and individuals working within the cultural sector and creative industries to contribute by presenting past experiences, present practices, and future ambitions concerning mutual aid, pooled knowledge, networked infrastructures and modes of self-organisation. These case studies can be drawn from personal experiences in various sectors, geographical locations both provincial and international, or through accounts of historical manifestations. Through these exchanges we wish to collectively investigate our strategies, successes, and failures, considering the obstacles and potentialities for the development of the commons. All materials will be collated into an open online archive, which will serve as a generative research database for future endeavours.


We are collecting case studies concerning organisations, projects and initiatives from cooperatives, autonomist groups, gift economies, self-organised collectives, open source projects, new pedagogical models and others for the event at Chisenhale Gallery on 16 April 2011, and as on-going research. We are open to contributions in the form of interviews, text, or films, which may be presented and discussed during the event. Please email the title, description, and result along with your location, comments, links, and contact details to:


Use this space to comment and contribute your idea.
We will be posting relevant projects to this research blog.