Our Commons Future IASC 2021 – A series of thematic IASC conferences on space, water, urban, knowledge, polycentricity, fisheries, and athropocene (Update)


The organizers of the next XVIII Biennial IASC 2021 Conference “Our Commons Future” to be held in Tempe, Arizona, the USA are working hard to facilitate events that will allow us meet in a series of thematic conferences throughout the year. The decision on the in-person conference in October 11-15, 2021 will be made in Spring of 2021 based on how the situation with the pandemic will have evolved by then. By now, the details of five thematic conferences have been already announced.

In February, May, and June 2021, these five thematic conferences welcome IASC scholars and practitioners from around the world to discuss the future of the space, water, urban, and knowledge commons as well as polycentricity. All conferences will be virtual and held over a period of three consecutive days and below we have summarized the key information and links for our readers.


IASC 2021 Commons in Space Virtual Conference

After Donald J. Trump announced that outer space should not be viewed as global commons, attention has increased on the role of private actors in space exploration, fair use of knowledge, and innovations and solutions for collective action problems. From February 24 to 26, 2021 the 1st IASC Conference on Commons in Space will focus on these issues, where space scholars and scholars studying more traditional commons will discuss topics such as satellites and space debris, mining of celestial bodies, perspectives on space as global commons, and the possibilities of using High Sea regulations as models for space law. How can learnings from governing shared resources on Earth and learnings from space commons influence each other?

The conference website (including the call for abstracts): www.2021space.iasc-commons.org.

The deadline for the abstract submission: January 15, 2021.


IASC 2021 Fisheries and Aquaculture Commons Virtual Conference

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting every part of our lives: Regarding the world fisheries this includes global supply chains, tourism and markets for fish and farmed seafood products exacerbating many ongoing challenges leading to diverse and often drastic reconfigurations. The topically focused conference on fisheries will be held from March 9 to 11, 2021 and will give academics and practitioners the chance to share lessons learned about resilient fisheries and fish farming. Topics include co-management of marine protected areas, collaborative efforts for restoring ecosystems, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing as well as transnational criminal networks. Conference presentations are intended to provoke discussions and diverse approaches for studying and governing fisheries and aquaculture commons are welcome.

The conference website (including the call for abstracts): www.2021fisheries.iasc-commons.org.

The deadline for the abstract submission: January 26, 2021.


IASC 2021 Commoning the Anthropocene Virtual Conference

This thematic conference will be held from April 21 to 23, 2021 and focus on the role that the exercise of common property systems to land use and other shared resources will play in the Anthropocene. Interested scholars and practitioners will deal with topics such as conceptualizing commons across multiple scales, commoning in a telecoupled (or hyper-connected) world and trends in global commoning. The conference explores connections between collective action and biophysical contexts, complex approaches to conflicts acknowledging their productive and transformative power and how digital platforms can enable the creation of new social commons and commons spaces.

The conference website (including the call for abstracts): www.2021anthropocene.iasc-commons.org.

The deadline for the abstract submission: February 26, 2021.


IASC 2021 Urban Commons Virtual Conference

Rapid urbanisation, changing land use patterns, role of technologies in determining social-ecological relationships and many more topics will be discussed during the conference on urban commons on May 7-8, 2021. Scholars and practitioners will discuss new forms and trends in urban communing, methods to study the urban commons, as well as the future of urban commons.

The conference website (including the call for abstracts): www.2021urban.iasc-commons.org.

The deadline for the abstract submission: March 27, 2021.


IASC 2021 Polycentricity Virtual Conference

The global pandemic, climate change, Brexit and the rise of nationalist leaders keep the world´s governance systems busy and challenge their ability to adapt to changing conditions. Polycentric governance structures and processes can help improve democratic decision-making and resolution of social problems. Polycentricity is a theme cutting across many of IASC´s focal areas allowing for reflections across these areas. The conference on polycentricity will be held on May 17-19, 2021 and aims to help advance our understanding of how polycentric governance works in practice and how knowledge can be shared within the diverse research community.

The conference website (including the call for abstracts): www.2021polycentricity.iasc-commons.org.

The deadline for the abstract submission: March 3, 2021.


IASC 2021 Water Commons Virtual Conference

How to govern commons that are as fugitive as water? Especially under pressing issues such as climate change and increasing development needs. Water governance and management are central for addressing impacts and collective action dilemmas. The conference addresses topics such as water protection, access and consumption, indigenous knowledge, and the interdependence of water and gender. Scholars are invited to discuss the many and diverse governance challenges of sustainably managing water across multiple scales with special emphasis on equity. The conference will be held from May 19-21, 2021.

The conference website (including the call for abstracts): www.2021water.iasc-commons.org.

The deadline for the abstract submission: March 5, 2021.


IASC 2021 Knowledge Commons Virtual Conference

From June 9-11, 2021, the thematic conference will deal with knowledge commons and their possible role in addressing consequences of COVID-19. Topics include classic knowledge commons and practices, infrastructure and social systems, and problems defined by knowledge systems such as Wikipedia or open source software.

The conference website (including the call for abstracts): www.2021knowledge.iasc-commons.org.

The deadline for the abstract submission: May 1, 2021.

IASC invites members to contribute to the conferences and share their knowledge with fellow scholars. Contributions may include sessions with talks, individual presentations, and pre-recorded or live webinars.

Last updated on November 30, 2020.


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