Charlotte Hess on “Crafting New Commons”

The keynote speaker of our seminar on November 7th is going to be Charlotte Hess. We are very excited to have her here in Helsinki. For those of you who are not familiar with her work, she sent us a brief intro and an abstract of what she plans to share with us:

hessCharlotte Hess has written and lectured extensively on knowledge, cultural, and new commons. She collaborated with Elinor Ostrom on a number of publications including their co-edited book Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice, MIT Press. Many of her articles, papers, and presentations are openly accessible at, &

She is the founder and former Director of the Digital Library of the Commons and is Emerita at Syracuse University where she was Associate Dean for Research, Collections and Scholarly Communication for the Libraries. Hess continues to be an affiliated faculty member at the Ostrom Workshop and also works as a professional artist.

Charlotte’s contribution to the seminar will be:

Crafting New Commons: Designing for Collaboration, Participation, and Sustainability:  Interest in commons is rapidly growing throughout the world. This draw to alternative forms of collaboration and sharing of resources may reflect the rising frustration citizens feel toward ineffectual governments, corporate domination, and mass indifference/inaction to local and global problems. Commons are “institutions” that fall between markets and states. New commons are created everyday when local people come together and engage in self-governing mechanisms in order to share knowledge and expertise, wealth, goods, and all types of other resources.

While people have been working together and building commons for millennia, we have only been intentionally studying these human systems and how they work for about thirty years. Creating effective commons—whether traditional, natural resource commons or new types of cultural, knowledge or urban commons–requires a combination of many  ingredients. “Commoning” or “commons-crafting” involves intentional design, good methods of communication, and active participation of its members. The design craft also necessitates a thorough knowledge of the resource, an understanding of the user community, and adaptation of appropriate rules-in-use.

This presentation draws from the teaching, methodologies, and rich body of research developed at the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University.

Check the complete program and join us the 7th of November!

This entry was posted in seminar and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.