International Workshop connects the open access to knowledge with agricultural questions for the future
From June 6th to 8th 2018, 30 scientists from more than ten different countries met in Oldenburg, Northern Germany, to discuss the sustainable and viable management of New Commons.
In four different sessions of the workshop “Conceptualizing the New Commons – The Examples of Knowledge Commons & Seed and Variety Commons”, the participants debated about the challenges of creating and managing New Commons. These Commons arise from social, political and economic processes and to manage them, it is necessary to find a way through the complex regulations and statutes which determine the respective fields of action (i.e. seeds and varieties; knowledge) and to establish local structures.
One highlight of the workshop was undoubtedly the public keynote speech of Jack Kloppenburg, professor at the University of Wisconsin and co-founder of the Open Source Seed Initiative, about Enacting the New Commons in the ambience of the beautiful reading pavilion in Oldenburg’s castle garden. Afterwards, the participants were invited to get to know each other a little more and/or simply to continue discussing about workshop contents at a joint conference dinner at the nearby restaurant Ratskeller. The next highlight followed right in the morning after: The keynote speech of Brett Frischmann, professor at the Charles Widger School of Law at Villanova University with the topic Governance of Knowledge Commons – Conceptualization and Remaining Challenges. The second workshop day found its end in a city tour through and around the city center of Oldenburg. Like the day before, day three also began with a remarkably interesting speech of keynote speaker Silke Helfrich, author and scientist at the Commons Institut with the headline Beyond the Familiar Categories for Understanding Commons. In a last joint closing session, the participants got the chance to give feedback and reflect about their workshop experience.
During the three days, several scientists teamed up to write a joint paper which is a great tool to scientifically putting the results of the workshop on record.
Finally, the cooperation between the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) and the group of Early Stage Researchers of the RightSeeds project to set up this workshop led to very satisfying results with plenty of positive feedback from the participants.