Berlin Commons Conference/Workshops

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up to Berlin Commons Conference

reserved space for list of workshops linking to further subpages

please submit your workshop report to f.nahrada(AT)

Submitted Reports

Consolidation Workshops

II/3 Polycentric Governance Report bei Heike Löschmann

II/5 Commoning through the crisis: creating commons power and resisting enclosures and cooptation‎ Collaborative report by workshop participants

III/1 Value In A Commons Economy Report bei Marco Berlinguer

III/5 Global Villages Workshop Report by Maria Bareli

Innovation Workshops (all self - organized)

i 3 (merging of 3 workshops mother earth i 11 + Dakar i 9 + the new green deal i 3) Report by Valerie Peugeot

i 4 Education Workshop Report by Juergen Neumann

i 8 Legal Workshop: Report by Ruth Meinzen-Dick

i 9 see i 3

i 11 see i 3

i 13 welfare state... Report by Brigitte Kratzwald

Original Schedule

Original List of Consolidation Workshops

Pre-announced workshops

Workshop II/1: Recovering the Autonomy and Primacy of Commoners

A flourishing commons sector requires a new set of rights and institutions. In this session we examine the emergence of new social charters, open licenses, access rights, the general demand for openness and transparency as well as the need for equality in the new opportunities being created, the aim is to identify the set of (design) principles which allow for a commons-based making of rules, guidelines, laws and institutions.

  • Denis Jaromil Rocio, free software programmer and media artist, Italy/Netherlands: Technical conditions for free infrastructures
  • Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians, Canada: Elements for a Social Charter for Water Commons

Workshop II/2: Multilaterism 2.0: The Commons and the State, towards a global partner state

Since it is unlikely that the State will wither away, and yet the commoners are inventing new modes of governance and autonomy for themselves, what should be the proper interrelationship of the Commons and the State? What differential principles and design mechanisms might apply at different levels of governance, but specifically, at the global level?

  • Benjamin Coriat, Paris Nord University, France
  • Ana Valadéz, Otros Mundos, Mexico

Workshop II/3: The Commons as a Trust for Protecting the Earth: The polycentric governance approach

Professor Elinor Ostrom and her colleagues have shown the effectiveness and versatility of natural resource commons in various contexts. But how might the lessons of that scholarship be combined with popular activism and politics, and build support for commons as a respected policy option for protecting and managing natural resources? What are some of the most promising design paradigms for such commons? What are some of the more intriguing emerging commons for managing natural resources?"

  • Kickoff speaker: Frank van Laerhoven, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, Netherlands

Workshop III/1: Understanding Value in a Commons Economy

The commons is a social and moral economy, which means that the value it generates is at once economic, social, cultural and moral, and rooted in a particular local context. The commons has struggled for so long to escape the myths about the “tragedy of the commons” that a basic truth is overlooked: commons actually generate wealth for people and not only value for the markets. To understand the proposition of the commons, it is important to ask: How does a commons generate what we need for our lives? How does commons-generated value differ from that generated by markets, and how does it vary from one commons to another? What means can protect commons-based wealth? This workshop will examine these questions from a “big picture,” macro-economic analysis as well as from the on-the-ground realities of subsistence commons.

  • Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna
  • Adam Arvidsson, University of Milano, Italy

Workshop III/2: Institutional Structures and the Commons: Advantages and Challenges

Since protecting the integrity of relationships and shared resources is a preeminent challenge for any commons, it is natural to devise institutional, legal and policy structures to help maintain a commons. These structures are arguably essential, as seen in such examples as cooperatives, land trusts or the General Public License for software. For decades, there have been two competing strategies: One part of commons activists mainly concentrate on changing cross-societal institutions and infrastructures by building up own complex administrative institutions. Others focus on changing micro-practices and concentrate on building up networks of small grassroot institutions with slim infrastructures. In many cases, both parties accuse each other of acting in a futile and ineffective way, especially when it comes to the question which strategy is apt to establish a more commons sensitive economy. But is there something that can be learned from the new p2p-movement of the last years? This workshop will explore the design principles of successful commons in general and for specific types of resources. It will also evaluate the strategic effectiveness of different approaches.

  • Brian Davey, FEASTA, GB
  • Marc Mascarenhas-Swan, Jas-econ, Bay Area economics cooperative, USA

Workshop III/3: Limits and Boundaries vs. Openness and DIY approach:

Digital technologies and networks have given rise to two very similar types of commons – the open platform and the bounded commons. While the two share many functions and ethical values, there are also deep tensions between the open-to-all model and a bounded commons of distinct members who impose certain rules, oversight and sanctions. For example, how can safety be assured in open-design automobiles and can the practitioners of DIY synthetic biology be trusted to prevent irreversible biological harms? Some people question Wikileaks’ disclosures "state secrets" as putting lives at risk. Others believe that disclosures about the sacred knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples is culturally disrespectful and destructive. This workshop will examine whether the idea of openness is compatible with the bounded commons – or whether open platforms and commons necessarily serve different goals and values. Can hybrid business models successfully bridge the gap between the two? Is openness vital for maintaining control of our lives and preventing corporate misbehavior?

  • Pat Mooney, ETC Group, Canada
  • Glyn Moody, Open Source, Open Source, Open Genomics, Open Content, USA
Self organized workshops

List of self-organised consolidation-workshops, proposals submitted during the conference, Tuesday Nov. 2nd, 11.00 – 12.30

Stream II - WS 4

  • The commons and Basic Income
    • Organisers: Ulrich Steinvorth, Michael Opielka


Stream II - WS 5

This workshop explored the relations between commons, commoning and the crisis in the context of power (especially power-to, rather than power over) and with reference to struggles to resist enclosure and cooptation.

Stream III - WS 4

Stream III - WS 5

WS 4 + 5 joined

WS 6

  • Digital Commons: mapping the digital commons, development of a common view + analysis of sustainabily + governance models
    • Organisers: Mayo Fuster, Phillippe Aigrain

WS 7

  • Knowledge Networking and Education for the Commons
    • Organisers: George Pór and Leo Burke

held jointly with:

  • Open Access as a knowledge commons
    • Organiser: Rainer Kuhlen

In this workshop we learned about such projects as the Commons Knowledge Alliance, the idea of the School of Commons in India, the work of the Digital Culture in Brazil, the work of the Free knowledge Institute, and other initiatives. Participants decided to stay in touch after the conference and form Commons Education collaborative to continue the "conversation for discovering and strengthening synergy across the various initiatives for education about the commons.”

Original List of Innovation Workshops

Number Name of WS initiator(s) (not rapporteur) Title of WS
i 1 Thomas Greco, Ludwig Schuster . The Role of Money/credit/currencies in the commons context
i 2 Wolfgang Hoeschele Creating Abundance Art Centers - Cultivating the arts, skills, knowledge and networks that nurture and abundant life
i 3 Pat Mooney (ETC Group Canada), Camila Moreno (Friends of the Earth) New enclosures of the Commons - The transition to biomass economy and geo-enginering
i 4 Silja Graupe Creating Knowledge Commons within universities: Strategies for re-orienting higher education
i 5 Leo Burke, George Pór Knowledge networking and Education
i 6 (merged
with i 5)
Rainer Kuhlen Open Access as a knowledge commons
i 7 Ruth Meinzen-Dick Creating a Political Voice for the Commons
i 8 Carolina Botero, Claudio Ruiz Legal Aspects/Problems/Solutions regarding the commons
i 9 Frédéric Sultan, Suzanne Humberset, Hervé le Crosnier, Valérie Peugeot, Alain Ambrosi, Simon Roux Bringing the discussion on the commons to Dakar In February 2011 at the World Social Forum
i 10 Lisinka Ulatowska Enabling a mutual beneficial collaboration between diverse commons groups at all levels, using the United Nations
i 11 Nicola Ballard (Focus on the Global), Alberto Acosta (FLACSO Ecuador), Maude Barlow (Council of Canadians) The Rights of Mother Earth versus the Commons?
i 12 James Quilligan Common Heritage of Humanity
i 13 Brigitte Kratzwald What can the commons paradigm contribute to the transformation of the welfare state?