Associate Professor Bianca Elzenbaumer

Co-Making Economic Cultures mobilised participatory social design and feminist approaches to the economy to support individuals, citizen groups, welfare organisations and local municipalities in the development of empowering socio-economic practices.

This research has:

  1. Benefitted design practitioners across Europe, supporting them in the creation of socio-economically sustainable cultures of work and organisation.
  2. Enhanced the capacity of self-organised citizen groups, community welfare organisations, public administration and cultural associations in Italy, and especially the Italian Alps, to address eco-social issues – such as social segregation, exclusion of asylum seekers, low consideration for the environment – through collaboration and creative approaches.

Between 2015 and 2019, the following main activities around local development were carried out:

  1. A pilot project space – QuerciaLAB – was developed in collaboration with the regional agency for immigration (Cinformi) to bring together asylum seekers and local inhabitants through acts of collaborative making (2016-2017); from this developed the collaborative building of a micro-architecture – Hospitality School – in collaboration with the architecture collective Area 527, the migration support network Collettivo Mamadou, the fair trade orange producers SOS Rosarno as well as local inhabitants and asylum seekers, to host a language school, health care and legal advice point in a migrant workers’ ghetto in Southern Italy (2017-2018).
  2. A community academy – La Foresta – Accademia di Comunità – has been developed as a replicable approach to how unused railway buildings can be turned into vibrant community academies through the collaboration of a wide range of civic, public and private actors (citizen associations, social enterprises, research centres, the local municipality, the Italian Railways);
  3. The organisation of adult education training courses and roundtable discussions around practices of community economies as part of the international network Eco-Nomadic School (funded through the Erasmus+ Adult Education grant Ecole_IG – 2015-2017 and Intrecci Possibili grant – 2018-2019). (Brave New Alps, 2017).

Research References

  1. Elzenbaumer et al., 2014. Precarity Pilot [WWW Document].
  2. Brave New Alps (Franz, F. and Elzenbaumer, B.), 2015. Precarity Pilot: Making Space for Socially- and Politically-Engaged Design. Modes of Criticism Journal, pp.49-57.
  3. Brave New Alps, (Franz, F. and Elzenbaumer, B.) 2017. Italy: Vallagarina Valley, in: Böhm, K., James, T., Petrescu, D. (Eds.), Learn to Act: Introducing the Eco Nomadic School. aaa/peprav, Paris, pp. 197–233.
  4. Franz, F., and Elzenbaumer, B. 2016. ‘Commons & Community Economies: Entry Points to Design for Eco-Social Justice?’ In Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society - Future-Focused Thinking, edited by Peter Lloyd and Erik Bohemia, 10:4015–28.
  5. Elzenbaumer, B., 2018. Speculating with Care: Learning from an Experimental Educational Program in the West Bank. Architectural Theory Review.
  6. Elzenbaumer, B., and Franz, F. 2018. ‘Footprint: A Radical Workers Co-Operative and Its Ecology of Mutual Support’. Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization 18, no. 4: 791–804. 

Header image: Dr Bianca Elzenbaumer and Fabio Franz.