Community celebrations can be improvised happenings where the spirit of people and the energy of the landscape combine to produce an ecology of meaningful associations. Cultivating new ground for gatherings and productivity can also create a new local landmark. Re-visioning and re-shaping the everyday, into something unusual and fascinating, can be both an art form and form of social activism. Our landscape is influenced by nature and culture, and our relationship to places. Enacting rituals, improvising with others, sharing stories, poems, and social history, celebrates meaning within diversity.


Within the thoroughfares of everyday life, growth emerges. The intentions of many people produce happenings, and an adrenalin rush aimed at living within the pulse of a social naturescape. The eagerness by which community members (of all ages) participate in celebrations, is like a craving to be engaged more deeply with the people and landscapes that surround them. The desire to create, nurture and act out in public is a feature of community celebrations within everyday places. The local landscape is also the terrain of guerrilla gardeners and artists. What we pass by everyday can be a canvas for social action.


Common Ground Rules for Local Distinctiveness 

Local distinctiveness is about landscapes, buildings, customs, folklore, histories, art, diverse natures (biodiversity), languages, and the many ways people inhabit common lands.

The ephemeral and invisible are important too: customs, dialects, celebrations, names, recipes, spoken history, myths, legends and symbols. All these things are folded into identity. Localities are always open to outside influences, new people, ideas, activities,  and just as nature keeps experimenting, localities must face the paradox of persistence and change…Often it is the commonplace things, the locally abundant that we take for granted and let slip through our fingers (Sue Clifford and Angela King, Common Ground,



Refer to and click blogs for a list of case studies regarding community gardens including celebrations.

Common Ground is an arts and environment organisation championing local distinctiveness, popular democratic involvement, and celebration as the starting point for improving everyday places.


Blackrock Playground Garden Celebration, County Louth, Ireland

Peace Pilgrims Parade, St. Peter’s National School, County Louth, Ireland

The Tree Tribes Parade, Launch of National Tree Week in Ireland


According to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari art produces intensities, sensations and affects. Art generates routes of desires, and forces of becoming. Art takes us somewhere, and this somewhere operates like a network of potential. The idea of movement and travel feature in this understanding of art. Art makes territories that allow us to encounter more of ourselves and the world at large. A territory has a particular resonance, location and spatial dimension. Each artwork adds on to subjectivity, so that we are a network of ands. The specific qualities of an artwork lead us on, we become more than we thought, each is an act of becoming.


Each form of life, and each cultural form, undertakes its own mode of organisation, its own connections of body and earth (Elizabeth Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth).

Everyone lives out a community of influences, their many territories of life, which compose intricate folds of representation. Each individual is a collectivity, an arrangement of relationships, a force within changing circumstances.

Deleuze and Guattari use the term rhizome to imagine the simultaneous growth happenings within our multiple territories of influence. A rhizome is an underground stem which travels across many different areas of growth. The rhizome is an ecological term, it describes areas of habitat which accommodates a cartography of growth.  A rhizome grows in many different kinds of spaces, and if severed will bring forth new shoots of growth. It is an expansive force, continually in a state of becoming.

Becomings belong to geography, they are orientations, directions, entries and exists (Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, Dialogues).

Within a larger community of individuals, Delleuze and Guattari believe our movements in between each other are significant. It is not about looking at where we are going, but how we act within our relationships along our routes of travel that characterize our sense of becoming. The ability to spread ourselves across common territories of activity, and to derive from this experience a greater expansiveness, is to be open to opportunities at thresholds. Art therapy does not arrive at a destination, it crosses paths with different kinds of encounters that influence the making of additional territories of life.


Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari

Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) was a philosopher interested in literature, art, and film who taught at the University of Paris. His philosophy emphasized becoming, changing conditions, and the complexity of subjectivity as a process. His thinking is enlivening, an ecological philosophy where each of us is a distinct force within a larger dynamic whole. Deleuze is interested in how experience can be transformative through the distinguishing of difference. By being open to different encounters and experiences, we broaden our horizons of responsiveness. Rather than being limited by habitual ways of perception, and routines of behavior, our subjectivity incorporates new experiences and awakens to an enlarged world view.

Felix Guattari (1930-1992) was a psychiatrist, philosopher and political activist. He worked at the innovative La Borde clinic in France. La Borde was unique in its approach to democratizing patient/staff communication. It acted as a therapeutic, artistic and philosophical community, where collaborations between staff and patients were encouraged in order to transcend traditional professional boundaries within psychiatric healthcare. It was founded as a place to find shelter and peace.

Guattari was an advocate of community based politics linked to specific social issues. He challenged pre-conceived truths about the structures of society, and encouraged the deterritorialization of identity, meaning and behavior. By this he meant that people should individually and collectively embrace their own sense of agency, and express diverse perspectives, so that society can be composed as a complexity.

Deleuze and Guattari collaborated on a number of publications exploring politics, psychology, and culture entitled Anti-Oedipus, A Thousand Plateaus, and What is Philosophy? 

Deleuze and Guattari propel subjectivity into the world, as a growing entity, with influences that produce a rhizome (a network) of opportunities, resources and flexibility. Deleuze and Guattari encourage each person to spread themselves around, and to be active in their own becoming (the continual production of new areas of growth).

Rather than determine a self, each person is a landscape of territories, within which they circulate. Deleuze and Guattari are provocative crusaders for the liberation of desire, as an energy or force of personal and social change.


Elizabeth Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth 

Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, Dialogues  


Electric Cables outside Little Duke Theatre, Ireland

A Drawing of a Magnified Seed on Handmade Paper, Arts and Health Residency, Moorehall Healthcare, Ireland

A Crocheted Seed, Suspended by the Royal Canal, Dublin


February 13, 2013

The idea of space in art therapy is often associated with containment, enclosure and confidentiality.  And yet the therapeutic relationship, the environment within which art therapy takes place, and the activities of making art are potentials and opportunities for enlarging spacial arrangements.

Opening art therapy into public spaces, is a distribution of the personal into collective spaces. Rather than delving into a singular narrative, identity is dispersed amongst the identities of other people. Public spaces can be considered studios, which decentralise our narrative. Subjectivity is not a fixed definition, but becomes dispersed across public areas, which translates the idea of a particular self into new configurations. Communities of people and places offer opportunities for becoming. Art therapy is a becoming, it offers new considerations of creativity amongst a variety of public territories. Art therapy can carry subjectivity across the boundaries of enclosure into uncontained public spaces.


The dimensions of art therapy occupy simultaneous spaces that are relational – a relationship with physical space, inter-personal space, spaces made with art materials, and spaces of desire, where we exert our longing to make more of ourselves within both an imagescpae of artworks and within more territories of lived experience. The impulse to make meaning, and to communicate this to the world at large, can be tracked through artworks which hold a certain kind of intelligence and craving for something more. Art therapy goes beyond personal history, it is a yearning to expand – to be more, to act out more, to have more influence, and to accumulate more territories of activity.


The setting of art therapy can offer specific influences, as can the availability of materials. Materials can be foraged from daily life, and can interact with environmental situations. Could art therapy be a walk through everyday landscapes? Could materials be gathered along this walk? Could photography and writing also happen as we move through our daily routines? Could the art therapy studio be situated both within enclosed settings, and the outdoor environments of our daily life (built landscapes, interactions with people, places and situations)? Setting has an influence on our movements in both mind and body, and can evoke words and images. The art therapy scene assembles different kinds of spatial ingredients to construct new areas of activity.


Ian Buchanan and Gregg Lambert (editors) Deleuze and Space


Graffitti, Royal Canal Railway Bridge, Dublin

Felted Cocoon, Ireland