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Commons-based Approaches

HowlRound defines commons-based approaches as practices that promote relationality, cooperation, horizontal and decentralized decision-making and networks, bottom-up activity, and peer-to-peer sharing of infrastructure, material goods, knowledge, and ideas. Content in this section directly addresses practices of commoning from around the field. Dive in with essays on the promise of the commons, the birth of a climate commons, and how a commons becomes a selection committee.

The Latest

The Future Is Now: Conversations with Leyli Gafarova and Elena Ishchenko
Podcast
The Future Is Now: Conversations with Leyli Gafarova and Elena Ishchenko
by Simon Dove
11 November 2021
ArtsLink Assembly 2021: Future Fellows
Video
ArtsLink Assembly 2021: Future Fellows
An Annual Convening of Transnational Artists, Thinkers, and Activists Working with Culture to Create a Better World
Friday 19 November 2021
New York City
Power in Theatre Coalition Building
Video
Power in Theatre Coalition Building
Featuring Real Alanis, Lyndsay Burch, CJ Ochoco, Leo Grierson, and Jaz Hall. Moderated by Whitney Reed
Wednesday 20 October 2021
United States
three people posing for a photo in an ikea warehouse
Obvious Agency and Creative Cooperative Futures
Essay

Obvious Agency and Creative Cooperative Futures

15 March 2021

Arianna Gass and Daniel Park share their experience restructuring their company into a worker cooperative and what benefits this model offers.

a bright yellow burst with the following words on individual lines: information, inspiration, invitation. then, "the ghostlight project"
Community Roll Call
Video

Community Roll Call

One part teach-in and one part pep rally to share the many organizing efforts happening in our community

Monday 1 March 2021
United States

The Ghostlight Project presented Community Roll Call livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Monday 1 March 2021 at 4 p.m. PST (San Francisco, UTC -8) / 6 p.m. CST (Chicago, UTC -6) / 7 p.m. EST (New York, UTC -5).

a large group sitting in a circle watching a staged reading
How Sustained Support for Playwrights Impacts Artistry
Essay

How Sustained Support for Playwrights Impacts Artistry

National Playwright Residency Program Evaluation 2020

1 March 2021

Alexis Frasz and Holly Sidford of Helicon Collaborative share their findings from the most recent assessment of the National Playwright Residency Program.

Illustration of HowlRound's logo as a mirror, reflecting a colorful performance
Devising Our Future Through a Commons-Based Approach
Essay

Devising Our Future Through a Commons-Based Approach

16 February 2021

Jamie Gahlon, HowlRound’s director, kicks off the Devising Our Future series by reflecting on the necessity of working together now to co-envision and co-create the future we need for the theatre field.

a group marching outside with a banner that reads "NEVER AGAIN IS NOW"
Inventing Worlds
Essay

Inventing Worlds

What Theatremakers Bring to Organizing

1 February 2021

Blair Nodelman discusses why theatremakers are well suited to deeply understanding the political machine and work toward dismantling the status quo, creating a more equitable and community-based iteration of governing.

School of Resistance episode twelve poster.
School of Resistance, Episode Twelve: Politics of Interdependence
Video

School of Resistance, Episode Twelve: Politics of Interdependence

What would a truly caring world look like?

Thursday 14 January 2021
Brussels, Belgium

What would a truly caring world look like? NTGent presents School of Resistance, Episode Twelve: Politics of Interdependence livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 14 January 2021 at 9 a.m. PST (Los Angeles, UTC -8) / 12 p.m. EST (New York, UTC -5) / 17:00 GMT (London, UTC +0) / 18:00 CET (Brussels, UTC+1) / 20:00 TRT (Istanbul, UTC +3).

an actor onstage
Write the Software and Let the World Have It
Essay

Write the Software and Let the World Have It

Forty Years of Internet Performance

14 January 2021

In this article for the Performing the Internet series, Miller Puckette and Onyx Ashanti get together for a conversation about the changing landscape of multimedia technology in the arts, how technologically mediated performance practices have taken on new relevance in the post-COVID era, and more.

Cuban woman with headphones talking in a video conference.
How to Produce a Livestream Event, Part 2
Essay

How to Produce a Livestream Event, Part 2

A Beginner’s Guide to Using the Commons-based OBS Studio Live Broadcast Software

14 October 2020

HowlRound’s cultural strategist, Vijay Mathew, offers a part two to his guide on how to produce a livestream, this time focusing on the commons-based OBS Studio.

actors onstage
Modeling Solidarity: Theater As Political Action
Video

Modeling Solidarity: Theater As Political Action

Part of Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists’ ConFest Virtual Series

Monday 14 September 2020
United States

Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists presented a panel discussion Modeling Solidarity: Theater As Political Action livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Monday 14 September 2020 at 1 p.m. HST (Honolulu, UTC-), 3 p.m. AKDT (Juneau, UTC-), 4 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7), 5 p.m. MDT (Denver, UTC-6), 6 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5), 7 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4).

How We Grew a Student-Centered Anti-Racist Movement at Our Institution of Learning
Essay

How We Grew a Student-Centered Anti-Racist Movement at Our Institution of Learning

10 September 2020

Tatiana Gil, Micah Rosegrant, Viviana Vargas, and Ciera-Sadé Wade—members of the Boston University School of Theatre Anti-Racist Student Initiative (BU SARSI)—speak to how, after a public outpouring of testimonials from former and current students of BU’s School of Theatre—detailing racism, sexism, ableism, and more—they rallied together to innovate ways of addressing the white supremacy within the school.

screenshot of a zoom theatre piece
Crowdsourcing Theatre Practice in a Time of COVID
Essay

Crowdsourcing Theatre Practice in a Time of COVID

20 August 2020

Barbara Fuchs and Elena Araoz share information about their new projects that attempt to make sense of the transformations to the theatre field and put a call out for artists to help chart these transformations.

pink and blue geometric shapes
(Canceled) Reshape Intensive Zagreb
Video

(Canceled) Reshape Intensive Zagreb

A meeting of art practitioners actively rethinking and reshaping organisational models for the arts sector in the EuroMed region

Monday 9 March - Wednesday 11 March 2020
Zagreb, Croatia

Event Canceled: RESHAPE presents the Intensive Zagreb meeting livestreaming from Zagreb, Croatia on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Monday 9 March to Wednesday 11 March 2020.

a table with various objects
Meanwhile: Becoming Porous
Essay

Meanwhile: Becoming Porous

Mientras Tanto: Hacia La Porosidad

21 November 2019

Robert Duffley, Una Chaudhuri, Georgina Escobar, Eli Nixon, Adilson Siqueira, and Brontë Velez reflect on the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics convening that took place in Mexico City in June 2019.

14 panelists and speakers headshots.
Center for Cultural Innovation's inaugural AmbitioUS convening
Video

Center for Cultural Innovation's inaugural AmbitioUS convening

Encouraging alternative economies and a fresh social contract for artists and cultural anchors

Wednesday 23 October 2019
Oakland, California

Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) presented the inaugural AmbitioUS convening encouraging the development of burgeoning alternative economies and a fresh social contract in ways that artists and cultural anchors can achieve financial freedom. Livestreamed from Oakland, California on the commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Wednesday 23 October 2019 at 8:30 a.m. PDT (Oakland, UTC -7) / 10:30 a.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 11:30 a.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 15:30 UTC +0 / 4:30 p.m. BST (London, UTC +1) / 17:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

a vintage show poster
Trade Show Business
Essay

Trade Show Business

Rethinking the Commoditized Theatre and the Public Space

22 October 2019

Charles M Pepiton discusses professional theatre’s commercial roots, how mission statements of non-profits today focus on social engagement, community-based development, and more.

a group sitting around a conference table
The Promise of the Commons
Essay

The Promise of the Commons

10 October 2019

In honor of World Commons Week 2019, a working group of eleven US-based arts and cultural makers share their vision on how adopting a commons-based approach can help transform the arts into a more equitable and just field.

orange swirl under black book title free fair and alive
Power of the Commons with David Bollier
Video

Power of the Commons with David Bollier

at Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts

Monday 30 September 2019
Boston, Massachusetts

HowlRound Theatre Commons and Emerson College's Engagement Lab presented The Power of the Commons with author David Bollier livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network on Monday 30 September at 4 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-5) / 6 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 7 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4).

a person sitting in a bathrobe eating breakfast cereal
Radical Disruptions
Essay

Radical Disruptions

How Intergenerational Exchange Builds Community

22 September 2019
two doors and a wall with post-it notes and large paper notes
Drawing a Line
Essay

Drawing a Line

Addressing Sexual Harassment in our Theatre Communities

17 July 2019

Dawn M. Simmons, John Meredith, and Jen Lewis, from New England’s StageSource, discuss where progress needs to happen to address harassment in the theatre industry.

Four people standing in front of a tree
Happy New Year from HowlRound
Essay

Happy New Year from HowlRound

Reflections on 2018

31 December 2018

HowlRound Director Jamie Gahlon reflects on 2018 and looks forward to 2019.

What If
Essay

What If

The JUBILEE’s Vision of Unity and Action

24 October 2018

Rachel Grossman and Kirk Lynn announce the JUBILEE, a year-long nationwide festival in 2020/20201 that asks companies to commit to producing a season of work by artists who have been traditionally excluded from the American theatre.

A group of people sit in chairs in a circle
The Birth of a Theatre Commons
Essay

The Birth of a Theatre Commons

HowlRound from 2009-2017

3 October 2018

Alexis Frasz and Holly Sidford of Helicon Collaborative share the case study they wrote on HowlRound. Alexis and Holly believe HowlRound’s story is particularly resonant for this moment in time, and has potential to influence thinking and shift practice in the theatre sector and beyond. This essay shares a few thoughts on why they think HowlRound’s story matters in today’s political and economic context.

a group of people
The Birth of a Climate Commons for Theatre and Performance
Essay

The Birth of a Climate Commons for Theatre and Performance

18 September 2018

Lani Fu introduces the Climate Commons, an initiative that emerged from the Theatre in the Age of Climate Change convening in June 2018. 

a group of people
Radical Ideas Welcome
Essay

Radical Ideas Welcome

What Should the Latinx Theatre Commons Do Next?

13 September 2018

Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) Producer Abigail Vega reflects on the last six years of programming, and encourages the community to submit ideas for future LTC programming.

a study group
How to Host a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon for Activists
Essay

How to Host a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon for Activists

10 September 2018

Dramaturg Sierra Carlson describes her process for hosting a Women in Theatre Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon at her university, and encourages others engage in digital dramaturgical activism.