Brave New Alps

Commons & Commoning


Part of Designing Economic Cultures


From September to November 2012 we worked as ‘project activators’ at Campus in Camps , a two-year experimental educational and project-oriented program, engaging 15 participants from the West Bank’s refugee camps. The core-aim of the course is to explore and produce new forms of representation of camps and refugees beyond the static and traditional symbols of victimization, passivity and poverty.

Apart from following the participants in the formulation of a variety of long-term projects to be developed over the second year of the program, the main collective work we have been involved in for the three months was Collective Dictionary, a series of publications containing definitions of concepts, in which the proposed terms are those considered fundamental for the understanding of the contemporary condition of Palestinian refugee camps. Written reflections on personal experiences, interviews, excursions and photographic investigations constitute the starting point for the formulation of more structured thoughts. Like this, the Collective Dictionary constitutes both the reference and conceptual framework for all further Campus in Camps projects and interventions.

Together with a group of five participants – Mohammed Abu Alia, Naba Al Assi, Isshaq Al Barbary, Nedaa Hamouz and Murad Owda – we worked on the issue titled Commons & Commoning, containing a series of collective and personal reflections on the commons and the act of commoning that were formulated departing from the experiences informed by growing up and living in Palestinian refugee camps. Apart from curating and editing the booklet, as a personal contribution we included in it our observation Dheisheh’s Common Green, which focuses on the plants growing in Dheisheh Refugee Camp as an evolving common.