Brave New Alps


Project updates (in Italian), via the locally preferred online social networking service

Guida del Suolo – research zine (in Italian)

Texts in English published so far:

Montagna Viva, The Living Mountain: Conversing with an Experiment in Making (the Local) in Common
Commons & community economies: entry points to design for eco-social justice?
Making Commons Work – Medea Vox podcast, a conversation with design researcher Anna Seravalli


Project lead: Fabio Franz

Can we make the commons while making in common? In COMUNfARE, this question is central and we pose it both as our collective practice Brave New Alps and the wider ecology of interlocutors we collaborate and are in constant dialogue with. This question immediately triggers a second question: what is that we shall make in common? Objects and devices, economies, knowledge and culture, soil, bottom-up services, food, social relations, support structures, spaces? Possibly all of these and many more. Making is multiform! Yet, there is a need to concretely get started somewhere in order not to get overwhelmed by the realm of possibilities.

Literally ‘commons-making’, or ‘making in common’, COMUNfARE is a long-term practice-led research project, in which we concentrate on the economic, spatial, social and environmental context of the Vallagarina district in the Italian Alps, while not forgetting about its connections to – and responsibilities towards – other places in the world. With it, we want to experiment what our contribution can be to progressive eco-social change on different levels and scales in the area where we live and come from.

Through the activities we organise, we are pursuing a twofold aim – to collectively become more aware of the diverse dynamics that traverse and shape the district, its economy, people and environment, while creating, broadening and diversifying spaces in which to be less exposed to and tied into the disciplining, precarising and scarcity-producing mechanisms of ‘the market’.

Like this, with COMUNfARE we want to support the constitution, cultivation and expansion of the commons as a material and social dimension that empowers people to nurture other values and ways of relating than the narrow ones reproduced by capital, such as monetary profit, unlimited growth, social inequality, individualisation, the nature-culture divide.

So far, we have been activating a variety of situations of intergenerational, multicultural, open, collective learning, through which we wish to explore, develop and foster self-organised structures and relations.
While the defined localised framework of the Vallagarina district is the setting in which our research is physically based, and which therefore represents its point of departure and main arena of reflection, speculation and intervention, we wish to constantly weave into the project the global framework which this area is part of, and whose processes inevitably mould the district and are in turn moulded by it. No local commons without a translocal dimension!

Some of the research questions we currently ask are:

— What structures and initiatives can facilitate the cultivation of practices of co-operation, care, dialogue, mutuality, and self-organisation in our lives, while weakening the influence of personal profit, competition, accumulation and individualisation?

— How can knowledges, experiences and expertise held by people inhabiting the district be activated and involved into the project? How can people learn from each other in a liberatory, empowering way?

— Taking the anthropocene capitalocene as the wider framework in which we operate, how can the non-human other be actively encompassed into processes of progressive social change?

— How can a socially and politically engaged design practice be made resilient when operating in a peripheral non-metropolitan context?


Last edit: January 2017

Project activities are supported through Ecole_IG, an Erasmus+ Strategic Learning Partnership.