The Commons

The Debates
On Friday, 23rd and Saturday, 24th November, a series of public debates attempted to define the Commons by way of pointing out their practicality and addressing their pitfalls. International and local speakers sat around a table to discuss the idea of the Commons and identify what elements of this could or could not be implemented in Malta. What are the Commons? What kind of Commons can we aspire to achieve? Who owns the Commons? Who writes the laws? Who can join in?

These round-table dialogues were an occasion for academics and activists, both local and international, to share their views regarding three themes: Work, Environment and Heritage, as well as to engage in discussion about the definition of community and the important distinction between public and common. The question of Common/community begs further thinking about the boundaries thereof: a particularly challenging issue in light of our contemporary predicament marked by the so-called “crisis of migration” (especially so in Malta where the topic has dominated the public discussion for nearly two decades). Who is in and who is out? How can we, on the one hand, develop technologies for belonging and inclusion that transcend the narrow frames of the racial-culturalist identities produced and perpetuated by the nation-state, while, on the other, avoiding the pitfalls of simplistic liberal cosmopolitanism which, in treating the world in purely abstract and flexible terms, aggrieves situated majorities?

The round-table discussions took place at the Chinese Garden of Serenity, Santa Luċija.

The catalyst for the Utopian Nights series is the notion of Utopia. Here, Utopia is essentially a democratic space: it is a platform for discussion and a participatory project in which everyone can debate, challenge and be challenged equally. The public is invited to engage with a specific artistic work and discuss it with local and international thinkers with each Utopian Night culminating in a joyful social gathering, providing the artists, thinkers and public with an opportunity to partake in a common experience.

Utopian Nights was fully funded by the Valletta 2018 Foundation and part of the programme of the European Capital of Culture.

Graphic Design | Johannes Buch

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