Community Making: towards situated agency

Affiliation:University of Nicosia

Abstract: Community Making is a project developed as a response to and in collaboration with the community of the Dorset Estate in East London, exploring the lived experiences of the residents in the area through a cultural programme of interventions and events. In this presentation I will present the project and the communal making of the CTRA Cart, a deconstructed community centre built as a mobile cart with Columbia Tenant’s and Resident’s Association. Acting as a focal point and providing amenities, the cart enabled a summer program of events which occupied space through commoning; cooking together, history discussions, gardening, art activities and cultural exchanges. These events were a testing ground of what could happen in the shared green areas, bringing the life of the estate out into its public spaces. I will discuss the project’s wider social context; my experience as an artist as well as resident of the estate, developing trust and a relationship with other residents in order to achieve something together; and the politics within community. The cart was built with and within the community and we used making as a process in itself, not just as a means to an end; the making of the cart used existing skills and brought people together through the sharing of this expertise and creativity.

Bio: Jenny Dunn is an artist and spatial designer, working in a social context around themes of community and the environment. She graduated from Manchester School of Art in 2010 with a BA (hons) in Interior Architecture and worked for 8 years in design and architecture before completing an MA in Art and Social Practice in 2018. Jenny is currently assisting with teaching and working on the project Phygital at The University of Nicosia in Cyprus.