Emma Balkind MA Contemporary Art Theory, BA Hons Film & Media Studies

Job Title:

PhD Research Student




Superfictions workshop with Peter Hill
Photograph by Emma Balkind

Superfictions workshop with Peter Hill


Emma Balkind

Speculating on the Cultural Commons: investigating 'weak theory' as strategy for future flourishing

Supervisors: Dr. Ken Neil, Dr. Laura González

This project investigates the position of art and culture within the current political and economic climate. Using speculative methods to investigate alternatives to neoliberal austerity, it will draw on a broad selection of recent continental philosophy, art writing, fiction, and leftist / autonomist literature; employing utopia and dystopia, the polar extremes of fiction, as illustrations of the real.

A rupturing of the long-established political status quo is taking place: the riots, marches and Occupy movement, have stood in opposition to the government fiction of austerity, while in Scotland, a referendum on full independence seems increasingly imminent. At this transitional moment, it is necessary to re-evaluate the enclosure of spaces of culture which were previously held as public goods - libraries and universities, museums and art galleries, parks and recreational facilities. This project seeks to make a case for the provision of local and translocal cultural commons.

Dealing with the commons as a cultural phenomenon; in what ways might the cultural commons function as a challenge to the authoritative narratives of state and government? What is the function of speculative narratives and utopian/dystopian actions within the cultural commons?

Emma is also a member of the working group ‘Let’s get together and call ourselves an institute’ researching the possibilities for new forms of institutional practice.