This initiative aspires to support a convergenceof new thinking about learning and the commons, which is emerging in different expressions in free, autonomous and self-managed ways, beyond institutions and with an intergenerational and inter-cultural approach. It's about how, what, when, where and with whom we decide to learn.
Learning as a Commons enclosed
Learning is part of everyday life, it comes naturally to us as one of the central processes by which we experience ourselves, discover and develop our relationship with society, our environment and the world we live in.
Sadly today people young and oldtoo often find themselves alienated from the learning process.
A model of mass educationhas proliferated as educational institutions through establishing monopolies on professional certification perpetuate an exclusive approach that defines learning asa privilege available only to those who can afford it. This model of education is akin to a conveyor beltwhich produces 'human resources' and disciplined employees primarily to meetthe employment demands of business interests. This is what learning has become today.
More and more people are waking up to this situation. They are making a journey to rediscover their own learning. In this process they encounter the need to unlearn, to de-colonise their minds, to 'learn to learn' all over again. This de-schooling happens naturally when we find ourselves totally involved in self directed learning processes that nurture and empower whole human beings.
Learning is central to the practice of commoning...?
Today more and more people around the world are rediscovering the importance of the Commons and engaging in practices of Commoning. At the same time self-directed learning communities for youth and children are emerging faster both in South and North. Self organisation and autonomy are central to Commoners, Life Long Learners and Self-Directed Learning Communities however while there are clear affinities between these groups we feel that they can benefit furtherthroughgreater sharing of experience, knowledge and practice.
'Learning as a commons' is essential for communities that care about regenerating, recovering and creating their commons.
Shikshantar in the India and the Universidad de la Tierra in Mexico are just two examples lead by activists and thinkers that recognise the fundamental role of the commons and the importance of free learning for social transformation.They are marking the contour lines for a new relational, social approach based on commons, learning through commoning and commoning through learningthat goes far beyondeducation.
Let's start with a conversation
Further, learning communities, drawing on their own experiences of learning as a commons have so much to offer and provide inspiring examples where rather than a solitary or competitive individual endeavor, learning becomes an opportunity for connection, collaboration and empowerment. This kind of learning links knowledge and practice and is essential for supporting and sustaining communities in moving forward to construct a new society on the commons.
So how can bridges between commoners, unschoolers, life long learners and other communities be built? Let's start with a conversation. We invite you to participate in a discussion on this topic.
We propose to realize collective calls periodically around ‘learning as a commons’ to bring activists and thinkers that have lead some of these learning initiatives together to share experiences and to improve the circulation of ideas and practices.
How do we identify the different approaches that are taking place around the commons and transformative learning? We propose three criteria:
From identity:Do these initiatives identify with the commons? If so how? Do these initiatives identify with the deschooling movement ? If so how?
From it’s form:How is the initiative organised?Is it a practice of commoning? Self -organised such as community learning or is it institutionally driven?
From it’s content: Is the agenda, the learning material, currícula is about various practices of commoning?
It is not necessary for an initiative to feature all three criteria, any one is sufficient, for example unschooling may be organised as a commons but the content may not be about commons, and unschoolers might not self identify as a commoners, however the form can very well resemble a practice of commoning.
Nardi, Jason: works for Solidarius Italia and RIPESS EU - Solidarity Economy Europe and is part of the RIPESS Intercontinental board of directors. An advocate for social justice, ethical finance, commons and communication rights, he is an active member of the International Council of the World Social Forum, has been organiser for Terra Futura (Italian yearly event on SSE with more than 50’000 participants) and has co-created Zoes.org – the first Italian social network for SSE. With a background on Communication and media (Princeton University, USA and a Master’s degree at the University of Florence), he has been director of the italian center of Oneworld.net – Unimondo (www.unimondo.org). With RIPESS's mapping working group, he has been working on the interoperability defining the ESSglobal vocabulary, and has worked on an app to map European SSE initiatives (Go-fair.eu). Jason is currently on the board of the Italian Ngo COSPE (cospe.org) and of an organic-fair catering cooperative (zenzerocooperativa.it). In his hometown, Florence (Italy), he’s promoting the CSA (GAS) network, Commons Forum and Solidarity Economy District. He’s also a trainer on Solidarity Economy topics and co-founded Solidarius in Italy (solidarius.it), a research-consulting organisation to help develop solidarity economy networks, part of a Brasilian based international network (Solidarius.net).