module specification

DN7050 - History and Theory of Commons (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title History and Theory of Commons
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 200
161 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 80%   5000 word paper/ essay
Coursework 20%   collective discussion/ event (possibly in public domain)
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module sets the context, both theoretical and practical, around the commons discourse. It will cover its historical context and points of origin, towards its current manifestation and global movement. The module will comprise lectures by practitioners in the field as well as reading seminars covering a range of themes on cultural, knowledge, urban, digital, and economic commons. The students will become familiar with similar parallel discourses such as peer-to-peer models of creating common goods as well as cooperatives. The module aims to cultivate a solid ground for the students to develop their future practice. It enables students to develop critical thinking essential in development of such an emerging field. Students will be able to study alongside their peers on related courses and engage in productive discussion, debate and at times collaboration.


As indicated in the description, this module will be a combination of lectures and seminars covering:
1. the historical context of the commons and their development; LO1,LO5
2. governing the commons; LO1,LO5
3. the role of design in the commons; LO1,LO5
4. cultural, digital and knowledge commons; LO1,LO5
5. urban commons; LO1,LO5
6. parallel discourses intersecting the commons; LO1,LO5
7. methods of co-production and participation;LO1,LO2,LO5
8. writing methods and ways of articulating academic text in accessible English. LO2,LO3,LO4
Other themes may be added.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The learning and teaching strategy for the module is to base learning within the seminar sessions where students will be encouraged to debate and discuss the contents of lectures and seminar reading material.

Self-driven debates - students will be encouraged to lead on discussions specially across thematics, drawing from the entire discourse rather than its specific areas.

Lectures will be recorded and be available online and students will be encouraged to bring material they have independently researched to the seminars to share with their peers.

As a subject module students will need to develop a personal position relating to the theories they consider and this will be discussed in seminars.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
1. critically appraise the commons context within which to operate in the future;
2. clearly formulate the theoretical and thematic context within which the student wants to operate;
3. learn to articulate in both written and oral form the theoretical context of the student’s interest;
4. learn to decode academic language enabling its application to practice;
5. develop a broad and rich understanding of the ‘Commons’ discourse and similar concepts and theories.

Assessment strategy

The final summative assessment will be based upon the submission of a thesis paper of 5000 words. This paper will need to comply with all academic and ethical protocols and illustrate theoretical understanding of the commons discourse. In the 5000 word paper the students will submit:

1 - clear critical understanding of the discourse;
2 - their specific area of interest;
3 - their brief for the commons project module.

Students will also be required as part of the assessment to prepare, lead and moderate a group discussion based on a commons theme. 
With the support of the teaching staff the students will be encouraged to submit their paper for publication or alternative appropriate public presentations.


Core Text:
Stavrides, S. (2016) Common Space: The City as Commons, Zed Books

Borch, C. (2015) Urban Commons : Rethinking the City, Routledge

Dellenbaugh, M. (2015) Urban Commons, Wiley

Ostrom, E. (1990) Governing the Commons, Cambridge

DeAngelis, M. (2017) Omnia Sunt Communia, Zed Books

Cederwall, J. and Moss, J. (2018) The Commons, Freerange Press

Bertacchini, E. (2012) Cultural Commons, Edward Elgar

Knapp, J. and Carter, J. (2007) For the Common Good, Praeger Publishers
Other Texts:
Self, J. and Bose, S. (2015) Real Estates, Bedford Press
Latour, B. (2007) Reassembling the Social, Oxford University Press
Wondolleck. J. M, Yaffee. S. (2000) Making Collaboration Work, Island Press
Harvey, D. (2014) Rebel Cities, Verso