Over the last few years, under circumstances of economic, political, environmental, and health crisis, people are on the lookout for alternative logics, practices and ethics in response to social exclusion, unemployment and underemployment, the disdain of democracy, and environmental degradation . They seek to explore, build up, and uphold a different, collaborative way of living, which enacts democratic ideals, egalitarianism, creativity, community through differences, and sustainable relations between humans and nature. Education is of vital significance in this regard, as it can act as a leverage for advancing such processes of alternative social construction. The incubation of experimental, collaboratively, and unconventional educational projects is not new in Europe. However, in recent years, it has stepped up the pace driven by the general socio-economic, environmental, and health crisis.
The Blended Short-cycle Training Courses on ‘Commoning Practices (hereinafter ComPra) project introduces the emergent paradigm of the ‘commons’ as an alternative value and action system in the field of education, and it critically draws out the implications of the commons for refiguring education and enabling active social inclusion and promoting well-being for all. Commons are living and dynamic social systems that develop around the values of collective ownership and equal management of resources or goods established by different communities to ensure the survival and prosperity of each of their members (Bollier & Helfrich 2012). People who have accepted the logic of the commons, that is the commoners, seek to create a social network of cooperation, solidarity, dialogue, sharing and interdependence that connects all members of a community equally.
The project’s aim is to enable higher education students of Education Sciences, Social Sciences, Social Work and Communication to explore values and practices of commons’ pedagogy and become acquainted with using innovative methodologies and tools. These would enable them to develop a commons-based educational environment helping children and young people to act as ‘commoners’. Through the development of short-cycle training courses on ‘Commoning Practices’, based on a blended learning scheme, higher education students will gain theoretical and practical knowledge around the commons’ discourse (commons’ logic of sharing and caring, fair and open relations, co-participation in the production or provision of knowledge) and develop skills for building and strengthening the identity of commoner both for them and their future students.