‘A Companion to IASC Commons Conferences‘ is authored by John Powell, Kate Ashbrook and Chris Short and has been edited by Nick Lewis. The foreword to the book has been provided by Ruth Meinzen-Dick, former IASC president. It is available from the University of Gloucestershire’s repository in pdf format as a FREE download!
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’). The Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) has a long history of research in the commons arena: John Powell is the current president of the IASC (International Association for the Study of the Commons), whilst 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, who is the General Secretary of the Open Spaces Society (founded in 1865 as the Commons Preservation Society), has also contributed to this new publication. Kate has attended and been involved in delivering activities at a number of the conferences, and regularly publishes on her own blog. In 2013 Kate received the Elinor Ostrom award for her outstanding campaigning work with the ‘Open Spaces Society’ in defending and protecting commons resources.
John Powell said;
“Building upon the previous ‘Commons’ e-book we recently published, it seemed to be a logical progression to collate the numerous blog posts that had been written by Kate, Chris, and myself when we attended the various international IASC Commons conferences over the last decade. As Chris and I have experienced IASC conferences as both delegates and organisers it has allowed us to present a dual perspective on running and attending the events. The intention of this publication is to provide a flavour of the IASC Commons conferences and hopefully to convey that perception to you. Whether you have attended an event before or it is your first time, or if you are part of an organising committee for a current or future conference. We have focused only on the IASC Biennial Global Conferences of the past ten years that we have attended in person. Although there have been many more IASC regional and thematic conferences in that time they tend to be smaller and more focused, without the huge cultural mix that one experiences at the global events.”
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 not intended to be read from cover-to-cover, it is more a document for perusing, 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.
On a separate note but connected to commons, John Powell has been invited to give the keynote speech at an international workshop in China later this year. The workshop, focusing on “Enhancing Water Governance and Policy”, will be held on 14th and 15th October 2017, at Tsinghua University, near Beijing in China. This will be the first professional academic conference around Commons in China, and has been approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education. Read more on this event.