The Ministry for Common Land

Exhibition co-developed by London Met academic asks whether we could use citizens’ assemblies to develop new strategies for land ownership and use.

Date: 04 June 2021

Another round of the renowned architecture exhibition is being held at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale de Venezia, from 22 May - 21 November 2021. The British Pavilion is exploring land privatisation where land as common good is being explored supported by London Met academic Torange Khonsari and her research on the commons. 

Developed by Public Works, a not-for-profit critical design practice that occupies the terrain in-between architecture, art and performance where London Met’s Torange Khonsari is a Co-Director, the exhibition asks whether we could use citizens’ assemblies to develop new strategies for land ownership and use in the UK. 

As the dominance of capital over land continues, public and common land become endangered. The Ministry of Common Land is a call for architects to challenge the enclosure of land for the profit of the few and innovate in new forms of practice to make this possible. The need for access to land has been heightened over the past year.

While ministries are historically set up by the prime minister and cabinet, the Ministry of Common Land takes the form of a citizens’ assembly, where policies are deliberated and made by citizens, facilitated by politicians as civil servants.

Inside, visitors will discover the findings of the ministry’s first people’s assembly. Current and future propositions for land ownership are performed on banners across the walls, alongside symbolic architectural elements designed to support the ministry and its position in society. If land moves away from being a market commodity, it could be reimagined as a resource for the long-term protection of people and the planet.

Khonsari is the course leader for all Design for Cultural Commons courses. Her work straddles academia and practice, where her research on the Commons is developed. 

display being set up