neil cummings


Critical Practice

PARADE: public modes of assembly and forms of address


I contribute to Critical Practice, a cluster of artists, researchers and academics hosted by Chelsea College of Art and Design, a constituent college of the University of the Arts London. We have a longstanding interest in art, public goods, spaces, services and knowledge, and a track record of producing original, participatory events.

Chelsea College of Art and Design has a large contemporary courtyard at its heart: the beautiful Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground. We collaborated with Polish curator Kuba Szreder to develop a programme of events that explore the diverse, contested and vital conceptions of being in public.

In a bespoke, temporary structure designed by award-winning Polish architects Ola Wasilkowska and Michał Piasecki - assembled in public - we produced a landmark event in an amazing location with a host of international contributors.

Parade challenged the lazy, institutionalised model of knowledge transfer - in which amplified 'experts' speak at a passive audience. Our modes of assembly, our forms of address and the knowledge we share are intimately bound.

See the full programme, or images of the amazing events, and don't miss the legacy publication


Friday 21st May

5pm - 7pm ; Launch event
Pot-Luck of snacks, while Eileen Simpson & Ben White of the Open Music Archive play music from the commons

Saturday 22nd May

10am - 6pm A day of consecutive Barcamps

What is a barcamp? BarCamps are an international network of user generated unconferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants.

They work like this: contributions are proposed in relation to the BarCamp's theme, in advance or on on-the-day by attendees. All attendees are encouraged to contribute and share their expertise for 10 minutes, with 5 minutes for questions/discussion. BarCamps work well with between 12 and 15 people, so during Parade they can grow, divide and multiply as participants join or leave. Using flip boards, we try to keep notes and everyone is encouraged to share information and experiences of the event, both live and after the fact via blogging, photo sharing, social bookmarking, wiki-ing, twitter, etc.

Here are the themes  

BarCamp 1: Histories of the Public

10 am - 12 midday
We intend to explore specific cultural, physical, discursive and historical contexts of being in public
Through what forms can we trace the histories of our publics?

BarCamp 2: Being in Public; modes of assembly and forms of address

12 midday - 2 pm
The public is a messy, unknown, conflictual and unpredictable mode of being in common, it's a process not a body, space or thing.
What conditions of possibility are required to 'produce' a public or publics? What resources, utilities, institutions, technologies, knowledges or infrastructures are necessary?

Sustainable, but decadent Lunch

2 pm - 3 pm
Lunch will be made in public, locally sourced and sustainable. Maximum enjoyment, at minimum cost. Learn more about Blanch & Shock food.

BarCamp3: Future Publics

3 pm - 5 pm
We recognize being in public as something that needs to be nurtured and exercised. There may be links to sustainability in a broad sense - beyond environmental concerns.
What makes being in public possible, and why might it continue to be valuable?

BarCamp of BarCamps

5pm - 6pm.
This short session will highlight the key themes, issues and concerns explored during the day. Roving reporters and BarCamp contributors will offer their reflections.


Sunday 23rd May

Market of Ideas

The market is open from 2pm - 6pm

Markets are good at convening and distributing resources. Based on the model of the ancient bazaar, Parade will convene a Market of Ideas in which 'stalls' staffed by artists, academics, urbanists, geographers, environmentalists, health workers, anthropologists, economists and others exchange their knowledge with the milling public.

The Market of Ideas is convened to explore the distribution of public knowledge, embody peer-2-peer exchange, and build communal resources.

Stallholders include:
Abundant Amelia (designers: Dallas Pierce Quintero), Larisa Blazic and startx, Małgorzata Bocheńska / Salon 101, Chelsea iSD MA + Musashino Art University (Tokyo), Geoff Cox and guest, Ian Drysdale and ThinkPublic, Roman Dziadkiewicz, Joanna Erbel, Małgorzata Bocheńska, FLAG, Angela Hodgson Teall, The KNOT Team, Owen Hatherley, Brandon Labelle, Wojtek Kosma and Dwayne Browne, Michał Kozłowski, 25 MA students, Ewa Majewska, Lidka Makowska, microsillons, Krzysztof Nawratek, The People Speak, Satelite Project of Politicised Practice Research Group, Dr Malcolm Quinn, Mike Rickets, Anatomy of the Street (Levente Polyak and Eszter Steierhoffer), Eileen Simpson & Ben White of the Open Music Archive, George Shire, Dr Dan Smith, Bogna Świątkowska / Bec Zmiana, TangentProjects, Textile Environment Design (TED), Wojtek Kosma and Dwayne Browne, Chris Wainwright 
and Cape Farwell, Joanna Warsza feat. Nuno Sacramento and many more besides


PARADE evolved out of the Public Body Barcamp, experiments in Modes of Assembly and the famous PubliCamp

51.4902, -0.1283

PARADE: Chelsea College of Arts
16 John Islip Street
United Kingdom

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