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Department of Geography



The Shrinking Commons Symposium

8-9 September 2014

Shrinking commons image

The Shrinking Commons

What do we mean by common property?

What resources do we continue to hold in common?

What is their fate?

The Shrinking Commons Symposium took place on the 8th and the 9th of September 2014, accompanied by four public lectures by distinguished speakers on the fate of the commons, and the prospects of new forms of 'commoning'.

The Symposium was a wonderful opportunity for our scholars and the many invited participants from near and afar to share their views and insights and to learn from each other's work. This was an inspiring event, marked by lively and frank discussion, and a collective curiosity and desire to rethink what the 'commons' means.

All of the participants recognized the urgent contemporary importance of the question, a wide range of common resources being under threat from processes of capture and enclosure, but at the same time explored the continual potential for making commons anew, by extending the conceptual repertoire and by citing new practices of making common.

In the spirit of academic commoning, we have made available audio files of some of the most distinguished presentations to the Symposium, and videos of the four plenary sessions. The Shrinking Commons blog and Twitter feed are also available. Our immediate aim is to compile an edited collection that represents the aims and the achievements of the Symposium, covering the wide breadth of the contributions and the richness of the discussion.

Finally, the organizers, Professor Ash Amin and Dr Philip Howell, would like to thank all of the participants who made this such an outstanding success, along with the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge and Emmanuel College.