Poetics in Commons

deadline for submissions: 
March 1, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
The University of Sheffield

Call for Contributions

Poetics in Commons: Symposium & Performances

22-23 May, University of Sheffield (Venue TBC)

Keynote: Anne Boyer

‘Poetics in Commons’ explores the potential of literature and art to create and reinvent shared spaces, ways of living and forms of social and ecological cooperation. It asks for critical and practice-led responses that reflect the connections between writing, making and ‘commoning’ (the practice of doing and being in common) in order to address a set of increasingly urgent questions. How can creative expression help us to resist the privatisation of knowledge, language, public space and ‘natural’ resources? How might writing or art that engages with the commons offer a bridge between the utopian and the material, and allow us to re-imagine politics, everyday life, and ecological relations to the extra-human? In other words, can we conceive of a poetics of commoning? 

The symposium will be part of a two-day series of activities held in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University’s Roland Barthes Reading Group. Other events include a special ‘un-masterclass’, hosted by SHU and run by Anne Boyer, that explores the potential of collective reading and knowledge sharing. The un-masterclass is an experiment in reading and writing in common. There will also be evening readings and performances by poets and artists.

We invite contributions and collaborations from academics, writers and artists that address the practice of ‘commoning’ across literature and visual art. These may draw on thinkers like Silvia Federici, Anna Tsing, Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, Anne-Lise François, Hardt & Negri, Akwugo Emejulu, Massimo de Angelis, Peter Linebaugh, George Caffentzis, Thomas Claviez, Jennifer Ashton and/or others. We welcome proposals for papers, performances, panels or workshops that address issues including but not limited to:


-Poetry & the commons

-Narrative & the commons

-Art & the commons

-Home/making or squatting as commoning

-Ecologies of the commons/commoning

-Feminism & the commons

-Fugitive feminism

-Precarious community 

-Enclosure & ‘new’ enclosure 

-‘Natural’ resources, commons & governance

-Histories of commons & enclosure

-Trespass & public space

-Indigenous & decolonial commoning



-Collective writing and book-making practices

-Sharing of non-instrumental skills

-Cross disciplinary and/or collaborative performance


Please submit your 300-word abstracts to Sarah Bernstein and Dan Eltringham by 1 March 2019 at poeticsincommons@gmail.com.