Collecting Commons

Milo Mcloughlin-Greening

Collecting Commons with Milo Mcloughlin-Greening is the third installment of Common Ground 2018–19.

Common Ground is Milton Keynes Arts Centre’s community participation and artist development programme supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Offering a twelve-month season of distinct projects, each presenting high quality and meaningful opportunities for engagement between a diverse spectrum of artists and communities living in Milton Keynes.

See below for more details.





September–December 2018


Collecting Commons with Milo Mcloughlin-Greening, explores how the collaborative design and production of physical objects can be used as a way to bring people together.
    Throughout October – December 2018, Milo encouraged Milton Keynes communities to take part in the creation of a community space at Milton Keynes Arts Centre, furnished with bespoke stools, table and dinnerware made from within the Arts Centre’s specialist woodshop and ceramic studio.
    To introduce Collecting Commons, Milo invited Milton Keynes communities to build and decorate a set of trolleys, which travelled around the city collecting material. Engaging residents through door to door conversations and popping up at local events, the trolleys and Arts Centre gallery soon filled with pieces of donated wood.
    Participation has been key to the success of Collecting Commons, with Milo leading a series of hands on developmental workshops in partnership with young people from MK College and Stephenson Academy, Great Linford Parish Council, the Friends of Great Linford Manor Park and our surrounding communities.
    Through these design-led workshops, unwanted scrap wood of all shapes and sizes have been transformed into handcrafted candle holders, stackable stools and a table long enough to sit 20 people or more. Each new item
is unique and will function as part of the Collecting Commons community space, hosting free events at Milton Keynes Arts Centre from 08–21 December, before finding permanent homes in the local community.
    Collecting Commons sits within in a new framework for design, borrowing from Social Design and Vernacular Architecture methodologies to explore an area coined Socio-Vernacular Design.

Common Ground is supported by public funding from Arts Council England














Collecting Commons has been made possible through the engagement and participation of Milton Keynes communities. With support from Milo, families made plates and bowls from recycled clay; young people from MK College and Stephenson Academy built a set of stackable stools and candle holders, along with a long table made entirely from material collected from local residents.

On behalf of Milo, the Milton Keynes Arts Centre team would like to thank all of those that have participated and engaged with the project.

Tealight Making with Stephenson Academy
Jack, Jake, Cora, Ryan, Mariy, Calum, Alfie

Stool Making with Milton Keynes College and Friends of Great Linford Manor Park
Sasha Coggin, Freya Hems, Oliwia Kwiatkowska, Melody Hawes, Beth Furlong , Sara Rashad, Daisy Grensted, Erin Masterton-Smith, Angela Oliviera, Moses Kusunde, Ella Iles, Julie Slatter, Caroline Chandler , Hugh Robinson

Additional thanks
Ruth Panther, Alan Senior, Cynthia Smith, Milton Keynes Allotments, Andrew Macdermott, Rachel Hayes, Daniel Chehade, Philipp Schenk-Mischke





Thanks also to the Families who participated in Collecting Commons Plate Making, Cyanotype Printing, and Trolley Making workshops, The Little Bookshop, Great Linford Parish Council, Dawn Jeywright, Art Teacher at Stephenson Academy, Kyle Kirkpatrick, Art & Design Team Leader at MK College and Andrew Macdermott, Ceramic Artist.
Collecting Commons is the third instalment of Common Ground 2018-19; Milton Keynes Arts Centre’s community participation and artist development programme offering a 12 month season of four distinct projects, each presenting high quality and meaningful opportunities for engagement between a diverse spectrum of artists and communities living in Milton Keynes. Working with artists RARA (Youngsook Choi and Kirsti Davies), Tracing the Pathway, (Ashleigh Bowmott, Cara Davies and Tom Eke) and Milo Mcloughlin- Greening, our projects see artists work directly with our communities to create new works and establish a connected programme of workshops, professional and artistic development, events, talks and exhibitions.







“Above all I care about ensuring that design is a fun and enjoyable part of life.”
– Milo Mcloughlin-Greening






“I believe that focusing on socially engaged grass roots projects is the key to unlocking the system change needed for a more sustainable way of living.”
– Milo Mcloughlin-Greening





Background



Collecting Commons focuses on how the design of a physical object can be used as a way to develop social bonds within a community. Based in Clapton (North East London, UK) the project proposesed a new role for the designer, as a community collaborator.
    A process was developed for the collection of materials through door-to-door conversations and an invitation to local residents to engage with others in their neighbourhood?
    The collected material was paired with local making processes through the production of a backyard furnace for sand casting and the use of a local making co-op to construct a table that has played a central role in local events.

    Contributors were invited to become participants. All guests were equal and were gathered around an object which they have contributed towards.
    The Collecting Commons project sits within in a new framework for design, borrowing from Social Design and Vernacular Architecture methodologies to explore an area coined ‘Socio-Vernacular Design’. Social design is a discipline which is growing in strength, as we question the role of the designer in today’s society and look for ways in which design can be used as a tool to bring about social change.

    These meetings were enjoyable forums for conversation and have become springboards for community development in the Clapton area.
    This project looks to Ezio Manzini’s ideas about how the role of trained designer becomes that of a connector and facilitator within communities. Vernacular Architecture is a style which has roots in traditional craft utilizing available materials to cater for local needs, this is something that is gaining a contemporary resurgence as our ideas about the value of resources change. This project is an exercise in this new Socio-vernacular framework, focusing on both local material use and social development.


Collecting Commons collection trolley, Clapton (London, UK) 2018



“Collecting Commons focuses on how the design of a physical object can be used as a way to develop social bonds within a community. Based in Clapton (North East London) the project is proposing a new role for the designer, as a community collaborator. I have developed a process of collecting material through door-to-door conversations as an invitation to local residents to engage with others in their their neighbourhood. The material that has been collected has been used to build a table that has played a central role in local events whereby contributors are invited back to become participants. All guests are equal and are gathered around an object which they have contributed towards.These meetings are enjoyable forums for conversation and have become springboards for community development in the Clapton area.”
– Milo Mcloughlin-Greening







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Exhibition, Events, Workshops and Professional Development from Collecting Commons with Milo Mcloughlin-Greening





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