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We often find it difficult to explain – even within social movements – what the Commons stands for and what the process of Commoning is about. This talk presents a workshop that, based on non-formal education, hacks the rules of an old game in an attempt to talk about the basic concepts of Commoning and to apply experiential learning techniques for the benefit of social movements.

To introduce the Commons to a general audience, I propose the use of the musical chairs game. A Commons-oriented musical chairs game is the reverse of the classic capitalist musical chairs game (collaborative and community-driven vs competitive and individualistic). In the context of the former, when chairs are removed, the community is challenged to find inclusive solutions, instead of shoving players out of the game. While in the dominant form of the game, each round has fewer chairs, and participants are kicked out from the game, Commoning is a vibrant activity for the deployment of a new type of game that treats “chairs” as a common good and participants as commoners. So, in the “musical chairs as Commoning” game, every time the music stops, a chair is removed and the community has to find ways to share the chairs that are left and do not exclude any of its members. Can we launch a radical transformation to our imaginaries by going back and hack the games of our childhood? Can we hack our capitalistic imaginaries towards the Commons in a joyful way? Can we have fewer chairs and a better community instead of fewer chairs and a community consecutively expelling its members?

This talk presents a workshop that has been successfully implemented in festivals, projects, conferences, and lessons related to the Commons, and shows how such an educational scenario could be performed; We will also practice through reflective observation of the participants the basic notions of Commoning and we will try to criticize and reflect on this game.

About the Presenter

Alekos Pantazis (he/him) is a core member of the P2P Lab research collective and a research fellow at the Tallinn University of Technology. He is a researcher on educational commons and open source technologies. Moreover, he curries a long experience as an activist in social movements focusing on degrowth and commons. Can be found on Twitter: @Alekos_Pantazis, more info here: Orcid