Artist: Alice McLean and Justine Boussard

A silver token, like a big coin.

Alice McLean and Justine Boussard, Common Ground: The Peckham Rye Common Token. (Photo: Justine Boussard)

Alice McLean and Justine Boussard collaborate to celebrate community assets and local, collective campaigning undertaken to protect them. Their project ‘Common Ground’ examines how making can open the process of recording and sharing local commoning history.

For the exhibition Alice and Justine worked with allotment holders to create tokens to celebrate the victorious campaign led by cats and humans in 2019, to protect Birmingham’s Walsall Road Allotments. Established in 1907, they risked destruction for the Commonwealth Games 2022 redevelopment. Spearheaded by the charismatic Robert, (@AllotmentCat on twitter), the community ran a campaign cleverly building on the internet’s fascination for cats. It gathered 16,000 signatures globally in just three months.

Birmingham Museums Trust Collection

Two brass tokens made during this project have been acquired by Birmingham Museums Trust in January 2022.

“We are delighted to have acquired the Walsall Road Allotment tokens into the city’s Birmingham history collection. These unique objects tell an important local story and will represent the significance of communities and grassroots campaigns in Birmingham for future visitors to learn from and be inspired by.”  Emma McMullen, Birmingham History Research Assistant at Birmingham Museums Trust

“The plotholders made history twice: when they saved their common, and when they co-created these tokens. These little etched pieces of brass can now go on to tell the epic tale of these fantastic humans and their 7 cats.” Alice & Justine

What space is precious to you?

Have a go at and Alice McLean & Justine Boussard’s making project.

Share your act of commoning by posting a picture of your project using #WeAreCommoners and tag us on instagramtwitter or facebook. If you prefer, you can email a picture to us at [email protected] and we can share it for you.

Instructions for making.

Click on the image to download the PDF instructions.

metal tokens celebrating the allotments

The Walsall Road Allotment Tokens and Robert the cat.

Shop

A dark green enamel badge with and golden silhouette of a goose.

We are Commoners Goose Badge

£10.50

A pale blue enamel badge shoing a line drawing of a hand holding a seedling.

We are Commoners Peace, Community, Nature Badge

£10.50



Where Next?

Artist: Gelawesh Waledkhani and Lise Bjørne Linnert

Collaborating with undocumented migrants in Norway.

Learning resource: Healing

Thinking about how artists use materials and skills.

A leaf has been decorated with embroidery stitches.

Become a commoner

Learn more about commons.

Rehearsing the dance. Two adults roll in the long grass, their legs and arms in the air.

Artist: Alice McLean and Justine Boussard

Campaigning to protect community assets.

A silver token, like a big coin.


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