NEWS

OCTOBER 23: I am hosting a discussion: When was the last time you cracked up a municipal budget and did it reflect the priorities and values of your town? Thanks to powerful digital platforms, more democratic models of budgeting are including citizens into the process and advancing smart spending where each community needs it. In this conversation with Lily Cui and special guests, we'll learn what participatory budgeting is, how cities around the world are moving to this democratic model, and what it could look like in Montclair.

IS ENVIRONMENTALISM POSSIBLE...?

On October 23: “Is environmentalism even possible if humans are part of the environment?” As part of Radio Free Montclair, I talk with ecological researcher and process philosopher Zack Walsh about this topic.

 

October 21: SPURSE event of MDW 2020: This is not your typical design awards show! -- we'll be giving props to designs that veered off their intended path, and managed to come out way more radical and transformative. Most times, designs like these emerge out of completely unforeseen circumstances, blindsiding our expectations and catapulting us into new territory. Join members of SPURSE, as they ween us off of recent design fads, and challenge all of the sacred fish of creativity, design and human exceptionalism. 

 

October 21: I will be in conversation with David Bollier, one of the country's foremost writers and thinkers on the Commons, about the centrality of local communities in creating a more just and sustainable economy. We'll explore the Commons as a powerful, creative and inclusive alternative to the social, racial and economic fallouts of 2020, and we'll ground how this can happen in our community. (As part of Montclair Design Week).

October 20: How did the modern environmental movement in the west emerge, and what relation does this have to race? I will be talking with Prakash Kashwan, a leading voice in the field of political economy of institutions, environmental politics, and global climate governance. to helping us to unpack these questions. We'll take a close look at environmental movements, what they were designed to address and how they measure up to their intended outcomes. We'll get to the central question: how do we get to an anti-racist environmentalism? Join us for a lively discussion connecting a local and global context towards new ecologies.

Our urban environments look hard, but when we look closer we'll also find an edible landscape! How can we retune our relationships with our abundant environment, and see the possibilities of a town-wide edible landscape? In this walk, learn how to identify and harvest the five most prolific and important plants that are rich in nutrients and grow spontaneously without human consent or aid. Participants will also receive SPURSE's "Eat Your Sidewalk" Codebook. We will end with a discussion while roasting seasonal mushrooms over a fire.

October 18: Grab your walking boots and follow Toney's Brook, Montclair's fabled waterway that courses north to south through diverse neighborhoods. There's no other perspective on our town like it! Join us for this first segment, or for both along this unique adventure – you will get wet and do some spelunking! Must wear appropriate dress and footwear.

What's the ecology of Montclair, and what future does it hold? Using your own smartphone and headphones, take our self guided Montclair Ecology Tour and discover for yourself! This audio tour is comprised of seven mini walks in places that are both recognizable and unknown, uncovering the mysteries and histories of our local ecology.

MULTI-SPECIES COMMONS WORKSHOP

September 13: Workshop: Wandering in(to) the Multi-Species Commons: A
Walking Workshop on Novel Urban Ecosystem (SPURSE). As part of ARS ELECTRONICA 2020 (Telluric Vibrations).

 

September 11, University of Newcastle, Australia: Campus as Radical Commons raises the suggestion that we would do well to reconsider our university campus – an entity that is both online and on-the-ground – as a commons. A commons is generally understood to mean a shared, non-privatised realm that exceeds ownership. A ‘radical commons’ goes further: it asks us to take a deeper, ontological dive – past the human into a more-than-human, ecological shared realm. The forum brings together a range of voices speak about campus and commons-related projects they have been involved in mobilising. Each expert speaker will offer insights into the ways of enacting and cultivating this proposition of campus as radical commons.

August 11: How does a place come about? This workshop approaches placemaking as the ongoing activity of being alive: we are continuously collaboratively making place with other creatures, systems, and forces. The question is then about styles of placemaking. In this workshop, we will engage with the traditions of the commons and extend them into the making of Multi-species commons. We will also consider different cosmologies as modes of world-making. Critical to this undertaking will be embodied exercises that get us to directly act and become intra-dependent on other species via practices such as foraging.

URBAN NATURE PANEL DISCUSSION

July 16:  What does 'nature' mean in an urban environment and how does this impact the way with which we interact with it?

What impact do green spaces have on people within the urban environment and why is important to create more of them and increase their accessibility?

How can we be/ how have we been creative in our ways of integrating green spaces in urban areas? Where are some areas for growth and improvement with this?

URBAN DESIGN WORKSHOPS

Summer 2020:  Along with my colleagues in the Emergent Futures Lab we are doing a number of Community Design Workshops on Urban Placemaking in the AGE OF COVID with local high schools and community organizations. 

SHIELD OUR HEROES

JWhen COVID-19 overwhelmed the PPE supplies in the New Jersey region we (the MIX Lab + Design Shed) sprang into action to set up a community program to make 30,000+ units of PPE.

CREAVITY PODCASTS

This spring my colleague at the Emergent Futures Lab, Jason Frasca and I launched our occasion podcast series on new models of innovation and creativity. Take a listen.

RESEARCHERS IN RESIDENCE

For spring 2020 we continued our SPURSE residency at the University of Maine. Our goal this spring was to finish designing and beginning to fabricate our Marine Commons Research Boat. By the end of the spring we had finished the building of the components and successfully completed our two-year residency. We are hoping to launch the vessel in the summer of 2021. Stay tuned!

EAT YOUR SIDEWALK DISCUSSION

On Sidewalks, Weeds and the Multi-Species Commons
A discussion with SPURSE, @ NYU Food Studies April 18th 6:30pm. Join SPURSE member Iain Kerr for a wide ranging discussion of the ideas behind their cookbook, why and how to become dependent upon place, and what would a multi-species commons look like.

CREATIVE RESEARCH WORKSHOP 2019

Along with my colleagues in SPURSE we will be up at the University of Maine @ Orono leading our second anual workshop on developing Creative Research Practices for graduate students. Fall 2019

URBAN WATERWAYS LIVING

This fall we at SPURSE in collaboration with the University of Maine will be building our first prototype of a urban waterways house boat. The project is part tiny house, part commons building and part ecological engagement. If you are interested in collaborating on this please reach out. Fall 2019 - Spring 2020.

COSMOLOGICAL SPECULATION

SPURSE will be at the Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art from late April through early July researching new ecological cosmologies and modes of being-of-a-world. The Project "Welcome Delegates..." is part of our ongoing research into how to take into account the agency of all organic and non-organic life.

EAT YOUR SIDEWALK READINGS

There will be a number of book readings this spring. From NYC and environs to LA and the west coast. Please consult Eatyoursidewalk.org for details.

INNOVATION + ECOLOGY PRESENTATIONS

I will be presenting at a number of conferences and events this spring and summer: CAA, Venture Well, North East Earth Coalition, NYU, William Patterson University, UCLA, etc.

CREATIVE RESEARCH WORKSHOP

Along with my colleagues in SPURSE we will be up at the University of Maine @ Orono leading a workshop on developing Creative Research Practices for graduate students (September 27-30). 

URBAN ECOLOGY: FORAGING WALKS

join Ecological Art & Design Collective SPURSE to identify and pick unique edible plants, and then snack on wild greens and spontaneously fermented drinks while discussing the pleasures and politics of foraging. This walk will focus on rethinking the ecology of lawns and explore ways in which we can change our local environments for the better via foraging, commoning, and letting our lawns do their own thing. At William Patterson University. Information to register here. October 10 and 13.

ON INNOVATION

We are giving a lecture, here is the write up :

"Innovating Innovation and Creating Creativity" Creativity and Innovation are the must-have buzzwords across industry, academia and the arts. Everywhere one looks, there is some theory, course, exercise or supplement being offered to make us more creative. And everywhere we turn Innovation is promoted as going to solve some wicked problem. But what if creativity is not a property inside anyone or anything? And what if Innovation solves nothing? Join Mathew Friday and Iain Kerr, two members of the Ecological Design Consultancy SPURSE for a provocative rethinking of Innovation and Creativity.

September 28 University of Maine at Orono.

ON CITIZEN SCIENCE

We have been thinking about and practicing for a long time a model of scientific research that asks qualitative questions of itself. We will be hosting a discussion about this:

"The art of citizen science after nature". What are the new models of science that we need to develop for our age of Ecological Crisis? Modern science has played a fundamental role in polluting, deforesting, global warming, and species loss. Can we as concerned citizens engaged in activist science practices offer alternative logics to how science evolves? Join the ecological design consultancy SPURSE for a provocative presentation and discussion about the future of ecology. November 10 at William Patterson University.

MONTCLAIR DESIGN WEEK

I'm a part of an amazing group that has just launched MONTCLAIR DESIGN WEEK. Join us, October 20-28th.  The mission is a unique and important one in the world of design and design weeks:

"Our mission  is to celebrate and mobilize our community as a design force for good, through the power of  curiosity, innovation, and engagement."

EAT YOUR SIDEWALK: THE COOKBOOK

René Redzepi, Chef and Co-owner of NOMA says it best:

‘This is exactly the kind of philosophical look at foraging that is needed today.’ 

 

We just published The ground-breaking EAT YOUR SIDEWALK COOKBOOK -- it is challenging ecological reimagining of how, what and where to eat. Part manifesto and wholly a joyous call to action this cookbook is an extended meditation on our place in the world, how we could connect to our environment, and what it means to rethink how we cook and eat as a pleasurable ecological act. Get your copy today!

© 2018 Iain Kerr