Featured Picture: Bill Withers (Ain’t No Sunshine and much, much more) taken in 2014. A typical Bill Withers quote: ‘I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.’

Back in 1958 a great survey was started with children born in March 1958 to follow them throughout their lives. In 1964 journalist Michael Apted started making the documentaries on the lives of the children as they grew up:  7 Up to 56 Up  Apparently their lives end at 56 as there are no plans to make any more…eeek! Do you think there should be films made until they die? I do.

How times change, tracking a long life replaced by….what?

It would be interesting to talk both to people in Nottingham who were part of the survey, people who were born in 1958 (who weren’t born in March as well as those who were!) and also, anyone who was born in 1958 and then moved to Britain. Did these surveys make you feel that society was on the move, that things were getting better? You were part of something?  Or observing something that still seemed good? Do you intend to live beyond 56 and would you like to feel part of the world for the latter part of your life?

Here in Nottingham as we use the Big Wheel of transport and as the walking cycling routes continue to develop we often look over to Amsterdam, to Holland as a model of transport respect for everyone. We don’t realise that there had to be campaigns to achieve the level of planning insight we see today. Campaigns about play and how and where they could play which led to the quieter and more respectful streets we all try to emulate: took a long time. It was enlightened parents who encouraged their children to get involved in the future they wanted to see.

In Nottingham, artists have had some great projects to encourage heritage, local history, community, getting a mx of people to go out to museums like Newstead and uncover new history and to walk around the old parts of the city with groups of people from every walk of life.

This encourages regeneration as well as new ways of retailing and earning a living.

At Primary art studios there’s a great spirit of looking for long views of history, including the community in projects that reach backwards and forwards and stimulate new ways of thinking about old problems. On Saturday 26th November they have a Commoners Fair. The idea of ‘the commons’ goes back to the idea of how the common law came out of feudal society, customs and shared usage developing everything we value today. The problem is we don’t realise how much everyone in our community has contributed, they don’t often have the chance to express their history and understanding.  We all work and contribute to the world we see around us  and we don’t often take the time to realise how interesting that shared contribution is. On Saturday at 33 Seely Road there’s a Commoner’s Fair: (spirit of community here I think! with food, people, music and ideas)

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The Commoners’ Fair
Saturday 26 November, 11:00 – 20:00
Followed by Film Free And Easy 20:00 – 00:00

The Commoners’ Fair is a day-long event that celebrates the idea of ‘the Commons’ – the shared resources that are available to all of us, and what that means to our urban communities in the here and now. This event brings together people from Radford, Lenton and the wider city to share the rich array of knowledge, skills and ideas in our local area. The project asks: ‘What is it that everyone has that they can share? And how do we share it?‘

The Commoners’ fair has been developed by artist Ian Nesbitt with members of the Radford Skills Exchange and other local groups and initiatives. Join them for a day of talks, conversation, performance, food and workshops exploring ideas of alternative economies and the sharing of knowledge within a community.

11.30-12.20: Talks
Martin Parker (Professor of Organisation and Culture, University of Leicester and co-founder of the School For Organising) on managing, organising, and Commoning.
Panya Banjoko from Nottingham Black Archive on histories of community organising in the Black community in Radford.
Ian Nesbitt on the Ek-uh-nom-iks project and how The Commoners’ Fair came about.

12.20-1.30pm
Lunchtime snacks and tasters from around the world provided by the Womens Culture Exchange.

1.30-5.30: Workshops
Dip into creative workshops led by local residents and artists. Workshops will run throughout the afternoon, specific times will be announced on the day.

Bead-dyeing and jewellery
Join Raisa Mcclarey Francis to learn how to dye your own beads using natural pigments, and make a bracelet to take home.

Film Scratch and Draw Workshop
Dallas Simpson invites you to make your own images and sound by scratching and hand drawing directly onto 16mm film. We’ll project your creations at the Film Free & Easy in the evening.

Breadstick Production Line
Find out about the sourdough bread made at the Small Food Bakery, learn how to make and shape breadsticks and take home a bag of snacks.

Zine-making
Throughout the afternoon you can add your own skills, stories and ideas to a Zine – a DIY magazine that we’ll be making live at The Commoners Fair.

Scratch Orchestra
Scratch music making Frank, Rebecca and Nathaniel will share music-making ideas from the Scratch Orchestra, a music group which was active in the 1970s and sought new ways to try and make music as a democratic process. You need no previous music making experience or skill except the ability to listen and take part.

Apple-pressing
Try your hand at juicing apples with a traditional apple press in Primary Gardens. The apple juice will be made into cider by Blue Barrel Cider.

Guided Walk
Mateusz Lawrynowicz will lead a walk around the local neighbourhood – find out about the local stories of the Commons, co-operatives and histories of resistance.

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
Throughout the day you can hear a variety of informal short talks in response to Ian’s invitation: ‘Tell me something I don’t know’. Drop by for a few minutes and you might find out about engineering, kitten care, the best way to tidy, how to make candied Scotch Bonnets, local history, or catch a musical performance.

5.30-6pm Performances
Hear and see the results of the Scratch Orchestra and other workshops earlier in the day.

6-8pm Soul Food Cafe & Commoners’ Working Group discussion
Head down the road to All Souls Community Centre, for dinner courtesy of the Soul Food Café. Join us for a discussion looking at what we’ve learnt from the day and how people would like to continue working together. This is open to anyone who’s been involved in organising or attending the Commoners Fair.

8pm-Midnight: Film Free and Easy – The Ek-uh-nom-ix
A special edition of ‘Film Free and Easy’ with input from Annexinema. ‘Film Free and Easy’ is an event devised by artists to explore new ways of showing moving-image works, including film, video and projections. The structure of the event is based on the audience bringing along the material that will be shown.

If you’d like to get involved or contribute to the The Commoners Fair, feel free to contact Ian directly on 07791044678 / ku.oc.ttibsennai@ofni or come along to the Working Group Meetings.

This event is part of Ian Nesbitt’s Ek-uh-nom-iks project at Primary.

The Commoners Fair is kindly supported by Castle Cavendish Community Fund.

Featured image is Dave Rowberry Keyboard player in the Animals born in Nottingham 1940, died in Hackney 2003

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