Chiang Mai Commons

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Project for a coworking hub and conferencing facility in Chiangmai, Thailand, by Michel Bauwens

This is a draft page copied from a Google doc, which may not be updated. Information in here is 'tentative'

Status update March 2011: this project is on hold right now, given relative little feedback on its necessity; instead, I (Michel Bauwens), will collaborate in local initiatives but without this project for a physical center.


" In the spring of 2011, I will be opening a Chiangmai Commons coworking hub and conferencing facility, with very preferential treatment of actors in the field of open and free knowledge/software/design, as well as participatory and commons oriented activities.

The aim is to offer a space to the local community, and to use video-conferencing facilities to connect Chiang Mai with the rest of the world.

As a space, the CMC will have three interlocking functions:

- two or three spaces for rental by social change organisations; these would be regular offices with internet access etc … The space is very well located near the cultural center of Chiang Mai, i.e. Nimanhemin road; easily accessible from the highway coming from Bangkok; but at the same time, in a quiet green environment.

- co-working space for young people or ‘social’ start-ups needing a collective space to work, and who are interested in interacting with other social enterpreneurs, to learn from each other, share resources, and more

- a large (video)conferencing room where we can organize cultural events, media showings, and host debates.

Aims of the project

The social and cultural aims of CMC are threefold:

- 1) to promote self-organisation and empowerment, through the use of digital media. We believe that digital technology offers new emancipatory possibilities for civil society and want to be a factor in promoting such usage locally and in Thailand

- 2) to promote activities that enhance the capabilties for personal and social change in the context of creating a more just and sustainable society

- 3) to be a bridge between Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, and the rest of the world, by pairing local experience with global experience

We intend to support activities that are aligned with those three goals.

Timing of the Project

We want to ‘officially’ open the project in the spring of 2011

- January 2011: start of meetups with interesting local activist and searching for rental partners

- February 2011: determination of possible partnerships

- March 2011: planning of future events


Address in Google Map: Chotana 1, Chang Phuak, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand Official Address: 7/5 Moo 3, Chotana Rd., Soi Anusawaree Singh, Chiang Mai, TH 50300, Thailand Pictures of Chiang Mai at

Contact: Email via [email protected] ; phone: +66-(0)81 / 784. 7291

Photograps of the building and surroundings are at:

Video: walkthrough via Vimeo at

Directions (map):

CMC is located near Kuang Sing intersection on the Chiang Mai - Lampang Superhighway. If you come from Chiang Mai City and Nimanhemin via the Superhighway, take a left at Chotana Rd, direction Mae Rim, take the first Soi 1, to the left. Soi 1 is a forked road, once you pass the Chinese cemetary, our building is located at the end of the fork.

Please note the map is not entirely correct and Chiang Mai doesn’t have editing rights on Google Map:

<iframe width="425" height="350" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src=",-95.677068&sspn=58.033539,135.263672&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Chotana+1,+Chang+Phuak,+Mueang+Chiang+Mai,+Chiang+Mai+50300,+Thailand&ll=18.813379,98.978966&spn=0.028192,0.036478&z=14&iwloc=A&output=embed"></iframe>
<a href=",-95.677068&sspn=58.033539,135.263672&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Chotana+1,+Chang+Phuak,+Mueang+Chiang+Mai,+Chiang+Mai+50300,+Thailand&ll=18.813379,98.978966&spn=0.028192,0.036478&z=14&iwloc=A" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a>

In this satellite map, our building is indicated with a white cross on top:

People & Roles

Organisational roles: Key personnel

  • Executive Producer/Manager : Unchalika Wongchuwech

(manages space, interface with officials, developments, accounts, etc)

  • Local/Thai Programme Coordinator

(planning events, networking, communications)

  • International/Residency Coordinator

(planning exchanges, international events, networking, communications)

Organisational: Additional Roles

  • Chiang Mai Commons members

(individuals & organisations who wish to associate themselves with CMC)

  • Temporary Project Coordinators

(according to projects)

  • Technical Support

(equipment onsite & website manager)



Office Rental

Office rental space for social change organisations

We have 2 large offices for rent, with preferential options for social businesses or social change organisations.



Co-Working Space

Co-working rooms for locally-based Thai & travelling international professionals

Video Bridging Service

Service offered to local NGO’s, with small fee or inkind in exchange for other skills (translation, communication, audience development; free for P2P oriented activities ; Fee-based for commercial organisations

Library Space: a small social science library will be available for consultation, modeled on the Reading Room in Bangkok.


P2P Chiang Mai Lectures, Localisation & Salon Events

Monthly remote presentation from P2P network to Chiang Mai Commons

Free monthly themed presentation by Michel at Chiang Mai Commons

Volunteer translation & localisation of themed text based on P2P wiki materials.

Advertised in local press, university, ngo etc.

P2P Winter Camp

Dedicated intensive face-to-face 14 day residential camp for Thai+international applicants on Peer-to-Peer theory & practice based on Free Technology Academy P2P course. Several persons invited from network to contribute. Funding from Free Knowledge Institute/Henrich Böll Foundation/Aalto University School of Art & Design? Remote Applicants provide motivation letters & fund their own travel costs?. Fieldwork done by participants in Chiang Mai considering how Commons can develop.


Free Technology Academy

Peer Production course

Other FTA courses

Potential Annual Events

Chaing Mai NGO Fair

What: NGO Fair for 1-stop gathering of what is going on in the region.

Who for: NGO’s members to share practices/info/methods, Local expats, socially-aware tourists

Needs: Registar of local CM NGO’s to invite, consideration how food culture maybe part of event in CM context. Example at larger scale of World Village Festival in Helsinki (

Multi-Religion Conference

Children’s Culture Festival

What: Screenings, games

Ethnic Food Fair

Chiang Mai Subcultural Commons

Event space to present various art, music, trends: Viriya: “all youngsters, ethnic groups, artists and creatitve people gather together and chatting and sharing ideas around foods, books, art & music” (This would secure Viriya’s interest:)


Midnight University/Somkiet Tongnamo

Self-organised critical theory education (


Venue for self-organised pedagogy for international travellers

Related to Public School Network (

Could there CMC be used as a venue for anyone wishing to teach subjects, such as Yoga or cooking?


The Reading Room Chiang Mai?

Inspired by Bangkok version, but focused on peer-to-peer/internet and organisational interests.

Could be done & promoted in association with Bangkok branch.


Clip Kino Chiang Mai

Collaboration with filmSPACE & students from Media Anthropology dept. at CMU Media Art and Design?

Bi-monthly screening of an audio-visual culture interesting to the students. Event organisation experience.


Chiang Mai Commons Brainstorming Notes 12.2010

These brainstorming notes emerge from the visit of Andrew Paterson to Chiang Mai (CM) & Bangkok (BK) during December 12.2010. At this stage, the structure building of Chiang Mai Commons (CMC) is complete, but without furniture, other infrastructure, network or renting occupants.

Note contributor(s): Andrew Paterson, Michel Bauwens

Additional Documentation

Teaching Free Software

From Wouter Tebbens, regarding a possible FTA curriculum:

Dear Michel,

sorry for the belated reply; some traditional festivities and delayed work came in between. But: I wish you and all peers a good new year where freedom and solidarity get together again.

Regarding your idea to run an educational curriculum based on the FTA, let me comment a few things. The FTA courses are designed for a online / distance education methodology mainly with course books and a series of group and individual activities under guidance of a university mentor. That said, the courses can be taught face2face as well, and some universities are doing that: they just download or link to the FTA course book(s) and work through them in a physical class room. Even with traditional lectures and slideshows if you want ;-)

If you start running these courses f2f, it might be of interest for the global community to record and stream the lectures you might organise. We could then stream them through the FTA site as well.

We'd also encourage you to make use of the FTA virtual campus: enrolled and free learners share case studies, bibliography, study projects etc etc through the various systems we have set up. Our idea is to facilitate the learning community as much as we can.

Regarding credits: you can issue your own certificate and credits, but it will depend on their recognition to value how much these are worth to the participants. With the FTA we have choosen to work with universities who recognise FTA Certificates and the ECTS credits as used in Europe. That way learners can continue their education and obtain official degrees at those universities.

Other forms of credits issued by peers might be very interesting and promising indeed. At Drumbeat Barcelona there was the badges project, see

I think ultimately we will work towards a combination of both formal and informal credit systems (and feed the peer credit system into the formal instutions). But there is still some work to do.

Looking forward to see how this fits best in your plans. We'll be happy to help you out as much as we can.

  • Culture/Design/Research Projects

Via Andrew Paterson”

From the perspective of international productions in 2012, I would favour the following

(i.e. what i can aim to get involved in coordinating):

'In praise of copying' themed group residence project,

Inviting 3-6 persons (including half Thai) to explore together in pairs the Chiang Mai copy scene from artistic/design/p2p fieldwork perspective.. Similar to how Kurzeme Herbologies Expedition happened.

Could be paired as a Pixelache & CMU Media Art+Design collaboration.

P2P Camp, presence-based FTA course, maybe with Aalto Univ./Nordic focus.

I will propose this as a potential development onwards from my Aalto funded travel to you this december.

Further Contacts

NGO Forum [new location]

Held on the last Tuesday of every month (from 4-6 p.m.), the Chiang Mai NGO Forum on health and development provides an opportunity for members of the community to come together to network, exchange ideas and learn new skills. Featuring interesting local speakers, stimulating debate and active involvement of participants, the NGO forum is open to all interested individuals.

Location: Health & Development Networks (HDN)

172/1 Kampang Din Rd.

For more information, please contact: [email protected]

Website:; Phone: (0)53-449 055 Ext 114