A commons’ conference companion

30 May 2017

The Countryside and Community Research Institute of Gloucester University (CCRI) has published a Commons e-book which is a compilation of blogs written at or about the biennial global conferences of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC).    You can download it here.

The book is written by John Powell and Chris Short of CCRI, and our general secretary Kate Ashbrook, with a foreword  by Ruth Meinzen-Dick, former IASC president.  It is edited by Nick Lewis of CCRI.

The area of commons management and governance has become more topical over recent years, and some of the key concepts are clearly starting to influence the thinking of some world leaders (for example, the second encyclical published by Pope Francis in 2015, entitled ‘Laudato si’, regarding ‘care for the planet’).  CCRI has a long history of research in the commons arena: John Powell is the current president of the IASC.  Chris Short is currently chairman of the Foundation for Common Land in England.  Chris has been involved in delivery of national ‘common land’ conferences for many years, whilst John has worked on groundwater, fisheries, and commons legislation. Other colleagues in CCRI have worked on marine fisheries, and are starting to look at urban spaces and food systems from a commons perspective. In addition, the CCRI was the main organising body for the 2008 IASC global conference in the UK.

Kate Ashbrook has attended and been involved in delivering activities at all of the biennial conferences since 2008, and regularly publishes on her own blog.  In 2013 Kate received the Elinor Ostrom award on behalf of the Open Spaces Society for its outstanding campaigning work in defending and protecting commons resources over more than a century.

Kate Ashbrook receives the Elinor Ostrom Award from IASC president Leticia Merino in Japan in 2013

Visit to Saipet, India, 2011

This publication presents a set of very personal views on the IASC global conferences that John, Kate and Chris have attended. Everyone’s perceptions and experiences of these events is slightly different so these are intended only to provide an indication of the ambience and character of each conference.  The book is for dipping into now and again to get an idea of what it is like to be involved in one of these events as a participant, or as an organiser.

The authors have tried to capture and convey the spirit of the events they have attended, which are usually a mix of hard work, the enjoyment from meeting new people, and the excitement in gaining a little insight into how commons are managed in different parts of the world.

This follows on from the Commons e-book that the CCRI published in March 2016, entitled ‘Commons – Governance of shared assets’, which is available as a free download.