Call for application: Weekend course in commons

By the Institute of Commoning

The Institute for Commoning, (InCommons) will be running a taster course in commons and commoning in the south of England from 24th-26th June.

The course is a taster for a programme of study for any adult learner who wants to explore the commons as an alternative and challenge to markets, the capitalist state and colonisation.

Course fee: free of charge, although participants will have to cover their own transport costs to get to the venue, which is on the South Downs just outside Brighton. Twenty (20) places are available for this taster course.

The background of the course is explained below and if you are interested in finding out more, please visit the website here, or fill in an application here. The closing date for applications is midnight UK time on Friday 27th May.

TAKE BACK THE COMMONS

Our planet is getting hotter, people are going hungry in every country in the world, the oceans  are filling with plastics, species are disappearing and war is tearing lives apart. Governments,  corporations, think tankers and “opinion-formers” keep offering us the same old solutions,  packaged up in slightly different ways: “solutions” that keep them in power and in profit.  

It doesn’t have to be like this. People are rediscovering and creating new ways of working  together and remaking the world in ways that challenge the status quo and share power. People  are coming together in different ways to create and sustain commons. In practice, commoning  can be as various as indigenous peoples protecting and sustaining their territories, hackers  creating and curating free software, or the collectives that maintain maker spaces, bike co-ops,  neighbourhood health clinics…  

A CHANCE TO SHARE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE 

The Institute for Commoning has brought together world-leading scholars, international activists,  expert organisers and dedicated commoners with the aim of offering a programme of study for  any adult learner who wants to explore the commons as an alternative and challenge to markets,  the capitalist state and colonisation. This programme will be rigorous, exciting and roughly  equivalent to a Masters degree. 

In June 2022, we will be running a weekend residential taster course for anyone who wants to learn  more. 

MASTERS IN COMMONS ADMINISTRATION 

Our programme’s name – Masters in Commons Administration (MCA) – signals its countering of  the ubiquitous and infamous Masters in Business Administration. We reject the MBA’s privileging  of self-interest, competition, and extraction. Instead we focus on collectivity, sustainability and  care. 

The MCA will provide a space, tools and intellectual resources that will enable learners to reflect on  their own practice and experiences, to learn from those of others, and to explore approaches they  may not have previously considered. Although we expect that learners’ experience of the MCA  will inform their subsequent practices – in organising, in activism, at work and so on – the aim of the MCA is broader and richer. It offers students the opportunity to discover and explore the myriad ways, throughout history and pre-history in which human beings have lived, loved, struggled, interacted with each other and with their environments.  

We are offering the MCA outside of the university system. There are great teachers and researchers  in many universities, but the system operates to hinder good pedagogy and scholarship, rarely  to enable it. (Never mind the exorbitant fees it extracts from students.) Modern formal education  appears to be doing its best to extract all the joy, discovery and creativity from learning. These  elements are ignored or even actively suppressed in the interests of meeting the needs of capital  and of producing good workers. We have had enough of this. We think that learning makes life  worth living and can equip people to be curious, to challenge, to take on the power structures that  are ruining so many lives and to simply enjoy exploring ideas, skills and experiences that make  their lives richer. That’s what study should be about and that’s what we intend to offer. 

Teaching will take place in English, through online lectures, workshops, training sessions and  discussion groups as well as, when it is safe and appropriate to do so, residential workshops of  2–5 days each. The MCA will be structured in modules, covering a range of topics, and drawing on  disciplines including, but not limited to: anthropology; critical race theory; ecology; gender studies;  history; organisation studies; political ecology; political economy; science and technology studies;  queer theory. It will make extensive use of case studies. Students will be invited to respond to the  materials and discussions they are offered in writing, speech, video, visual art or another format  appropriate to the theme. Students will also take on their own self-directed research and/or action.  The programme will be part-time and will typically take two years to complete. It will culminate  with an extended project, the student-scholar’s Masterpiece. 

TASTER COURSE – THE DETAILS 

The taster course will be UK-based and residential. It will run from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th  June 2022, in a site on the South Downs just outside Brighton. (The Institute for Commoning has  no site of its own and the residential courses will be offered in a range of venues that we hope will  be conducive to shared learning). There will be 20 places and it will be free of charge, although we  will be asking participants to cover their own travel costs to get to the venue if they are able.  There will be an introductory session online in mid-May, held in the evening UK time, where  potential participants can find out more and ask any questions they might have. If we have more  applicants than we have space for, we will run a selection process, which will involve potential  participants sending us an email, voicemail or video application.  

If you are interested in finding out more and coming along, please send an email to commons.masters@gmail.com, or fill in the application form which you can find at https://www.incommons.info/masters-in-commons-administration/taster-course-application-form or send a message via our website at https://www.incommons.info/.  

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