IASC Conference 2008


Governing shared resources:
connecting local experience to global challenges

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Photo by Ken Taylor: Keld in upper Swaledale, North Yorkshire


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A range of pre-conference workshops will be available on Monday 14th July. The cost of these is $100 for full day and $50 for half day. (Booking for these workshops is through the Conference registration page)

Titles and full descriptions are given below. The organizers are currently pursuing the opportunity of the workshops securing academic credit. Details such as sponsoring organisations, speakers and outline teaching material will be added as these are confirmed.

1. Research Design & Qualitative Methods Workshop
2. Introduction to the Commons and Related Theories
3. Overview of UK’s Historic and Contemporary Commons
4. New Commons

1. Research Design & Qualitative Methods Workshop
Full day workshop $100
This workshop provides an introduction to the philosophy of research, research design and qualitative research methods, followed by a more detailed exploration of a number of research methods. Participants will be able to choose from a list of methods including:

• interviews
• focus groups
• research design
• participatory methods

For each method, a theoretical introduction will be followed by a practical session. The above activities will all be related to a hypothetical scenario concerning a ‘commons’ issue, which will be circulated to participants in advance of the workshop. The workshop will conclude with a plenary session on putting each method into practice including the analysis of qualitative data, as well as a discussion on the situational appropriateness of the various methods used in the practical sessions.

The session will be led by research staff from the Countryside and Community Research Institute based at the University of Gloucestershire (Dr James Kirwan, Professor David Gibbon, Dr Matt Reed and Dr Carol Kambites).

2. Introduction to the Commons and Related Theories
Half day workshop $50
This workshop will look at commons as a basic point of enquiry for academics, practitioners and policy makers and is designed to familiarize those new or just starting out in this area to the themes of commons and related governance and management issues across the whole area of the subject. It will introduce participants to topics that underlie presentations at the IASC 2008 conference. These include:
• Property rights new and old
• Issues of community and governance
• Multi-functional commons
• Enclosure of commons

This half day activity will be presented in a variety of formats, including lecture, discussion groups, videos and possibly role-playing or other active learning methods. More detailed information will appear at the web site as it becomes available.

3. Overview of UK’s Historic and Contemporary Commons
Full day workshop $100
This workshop will introduce participants to the ancient commons of the UK, focussing on the pastoral commons of England and Wales. It will include contributions from those directly concerned with the management of these resources, which are increasingly recognised for their environmental and public values. Recent changes, such as the introduction of the Commons Act 2006, will be outlined that have been developed in order to sustain these areas into the next millennium. Finally the workshop will review the related thinking in more contemporary commons such as fisheries, water, access and climate and the Government’s investigation of new approaches such as the Ecosystem Approach (Defra, NESU and others).

The workshop will be led by officials of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Natural England, as well as other organisations involving commoners from the UK. It will be run in conjunction with the National Seminar for Common Land and Town and Village Greens that has been based at the University of Gloucestershire since 1999.

4. New Commons
Half day workshop $50
Is Facebook a commons? What about Second Life?
This workshop will be an exploration into new commons—various kinds of shared resources that have only recently evolved or been identified as commons or common-pool resources. To many, new commons are also newly evolved social networks engaging in collective action. Unlike traditional commons, new commons have no history and often have no rules or governance systems in place. The study of new commons—community gardens, public radio, ecotourism, health services and medicine, digital libraries, open source software and so forth---is a rapidly emerging area of research.

The workshop will explore the following questions:
What are the different types of new commons? How does one distinguish new commons?
Where did they come from--how did they arise? How do they differ from traditional commons?
Why are they important?

The workshop will be run by Charlotte Hess (Director of the Digital Library of the Commons) Burnell Fischer (Clinical Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs) and Stephan Dohrn (Research Analyst, Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi) at the International Food Policy Research Institute.