A new beginning

It’s been quiet around here on this blog. My second child, Willem Ilmari, was born March 11th 2018, three weeks earlier than expected. Welcome to this world…! His second name is in honour of his Finnish roots through my mother and stems from ilma=air.

During my last post and now, I have been concentrating on being a parent and took a leave of absence from my university studies. Nevertheless, things have continued to evolve over the past year, but in a different mode of working – always with a baby by my side. After around a month of arrival time and recovery from giving birth, I started to join in Common(s)Lab activities again, co-organising and developing events and our network and community.

There is a range of different formats, of which some are more academic and others more hands-on. Here a quick overview and analysis of what has been going on so far:

– several reading groups: one looking at Karl Marx’s ‘Capital’, supported by David Harvey’s video lectures (unfortunately, I couldn’t take part in those as evening events were a bit difficult in the beginning; my research partner Melissa Harisson and Alex Cocotas were mainly responsible for the organising); another reading group focussing on the commons, following three topic streams (care, space, and the economy)
– a bi-annual gift markt for swapping clothes and other useful things
– a monthly screening of political documentaries for caretakers of babies
– a range of DIY-workshops on furniture building from waste wood from the streets of the neighbourhood
– irregular workshops of mutual knowledge-sharing with differing topics, ranging from permaculture, parcours, edible weeds and mobile architecture

Furthermore, we took part in two festivals with workshops in collaboration with local partners: the first edition of the Neukölln Umweltfest organised by the environmental non-profit genug.org, the other a swap fest (Tauschfest) organised by the Neukölln-based cultural initiative Trial and Error, plus hosted several book presentations, local neighbourhood initiatives and architecture student workshops.

In November last year, Willem and I went to our (his) first conference together in Lisbon. I am hoping to participate in the NORDES conference in Helsinki this summer and am currently putting together a position paper for the doctoral consortium with my research partner Melissa. Let’s hope for the best!

Image: Parkour workshop/reading at Common(s)Lab in May 2018

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