Letter to a System

The Common 

In 1967 the students of Barbiana wrote a letter to their former teachers. The letter started as a composite of collected thoughts, later developing into a powerful and direct demand for change to the system that had failed them.


To begin the students decided to each write down what they knew about the subject of education. Building on this, each always kept a notebook in their pockets, every time an idea came up, they made note of it. Each idea on a separate sheet, and on only one side of the page.


These pages were then brought together and spread on a large table. From here they looked through them, eliminating duplicates and removing every useless word.  Next, they made piles of the sheets that were related. These then became the chapters, and from there were divided again into paragraphs


So began the first draft of what was to become the book, Letter to a Teacher.  A call to organise, a letter for change. Written against inequality and for everyone’s right to fair education and a place within society. 


Since then, the text has become a symbol of radical intention, critical thought and the strength of collective actions.


In the spirit of Barbiana and in light of the precarious situation art graduates find themselves, The Common proposed to mirrored this activity. Providing a space to share and collect a diverse range of experiences, knowledge and opinions from artists and citizens.  Revealing the varied public opinion of a system that presupposes privilege and does not recognise the value of creative labour.  A system that is eliminating diversity through structures that create high debt, low or no pay, cuts to public funding and a growing gap between those who can access education, time, space or experience in order to develop and those who cannot.

A publication of the content was intended but never realised due to peoples varying situations.


Shelter for the Post-Art Apocalypse

The Common

For Transacting: A Market of Values The Common decided to build a survival shelter, a home fashioned from abandoned degree show detritus, the so-called 'potpourri of broken dreams'. A place to shield us from the post-art apocalypse, one complete with harsh lived reality, academic zombies and fallen asteroids.


The group used the space to gather with like-minded individuals; the roaming public, Damnees (School of the Damned) and Open School East associates identifying a collective sense of what the path into this uncertain future might appear like and share ideas on how we might approach this. 


A day spent forging some direction with the intention of leaving some guiding crumbs to those who happen upon the idea that there is an alternative, for together our voice is stronger and our burden shared.