January 22, 2014

How we want to live

Free Home University (FHU)
Image courtesy of Luigi Negro.

Free Home University (FHU), created by Musagetes (Canada) and Loop House (Lecce), is a pedagogical experiment created in 2013 by an international group of artists and thinkers and curated by Alissa Firth-Eagland (Guelph, Canada), Luigi Negro (Lecce), and Alessandra Pomarico (Lecce/New York). It focuses on generating new ways of sharing and creating knowledge by experiencing life in common.

The name Free Home University refers to how a horizontal, inviting, energy-liberating environment (Free), within a protected and intimate space (Home), can provide an alternative, yet universal knowledge sharing (University). Intimacy, immersion, mutual learning, collaboration, and hands-on practice are considered fundamental values. Operating with an open, modular, and replicable structure, it aims to investigate practice and theory, experiment with varied approaches, cross-pollinate disciplines, promote self-education, and enrich our communities.

FHU’s definition of study includes alternative forms of inquiry, research, artistic processes, and experimental practices. Mentors and Fellows live and work together in intensive classes throughout the year. The first class (December 5–15, 2013), situated in the City of Lecce and the Village of San Cesario in Apuglia, Italy, focused on the theme how we want to live. The class comprised three modules, including a series of public events, field trips, readings, lectures, and interactions with local organizations.

A Common(s) Course: Commoning Times, Commoning Cities
Mentors: Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri (New York)
The shared time of this Module was dedicated to developing a new sensorium for the commons. The Mentors and Fellows focussed on building their capacity to enhance and cultivate a relationship to the interdependency of different life forms. They reflected collectively on the necessity of developing an understanding of the commons that is not strictly centred on human life.

The Celebration of the Living (Who Reflect Upon Death)
Mentors: Lu Cafausu—Emilio Fantin, Luigi Negro, Giancarlo Norese, Cesare Pietroiusti, Luigi Presicce (Italy)
Through the process of discussion, planning, design, and implementation, participants collectively started to research and develop the next iteration of this celebration, an ongoing collaborative art project. The participants meditated on death not only as a remembrance of those who passed away, but also as an aspect of existence that can offer a meaning to the living.

Through the Image, Beyond the Image
Mentor: Adrian Paci (Milan & Albania)
This module began to address the image in all its complexity, its intimate folds, pleadings, and contradictions. The languages of photo, drawing, painting, and video were used to explore representation. Participants gathered found movies and images from everyday life. In order to refine their  representational sensitivities, the group read and analyzed these images together in discussion.

As FHU becomes a longer-term project with classes in 2014 and 2015, our aim is to continue to reach out into both local and international communities. Learnings, blogs, audio, video, reflections, and images produced by each class will continue to become available for free download on our website. The website is conceived as a dynamic public forum for all participants, both those who are intimately involved with the project and those who are following it from further afield. Please visit to add your thoughts, responses, and insights to this ongoing discussion.

Canadian media contact:
Alissa Firth-Eagland
Program Manager, Musagetes
T +519 546 9662
[email protected]

Italian media contact:
Alessandra Caiulo
[email protected]
T +39 366 8166047

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