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OSS Wins International Award!

June 11, 2013

Well done  OSS!





 Last Wednesday, in Kitafuji, Japan, the Open Spaces Society (1) won one of the first-ever international Elinor Ostrom Awards for its work on common land.  The society’s general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, received the award at the 14th global conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC),(3)  whose president, Leticia Merino from Mexico, made the presentation (see photo).

 The award was established by 15 institutions in memory of the renowned academic expert on commons, Elinor Ostrom of Indiana University, who died last year.  It promotes the work of practitioners and scholars who are involved in the field of commons, and celebrates Ostrom’s writing on the value of common resources and international collective action. 

 The Open Spaces Society is one of eight award-winners and the certificate cites their outstanding contribution to the practice of commons governance and to their understanding, as well as their long-term stewardship of the commons.

 The society was nominated for the award by the Countryside and Community Research Unit of the University of Gloucestershire.  Other winners include organisations in India and Mexico and individuals from India, South Africa, the USA and the Philippines.

 Says Kate Ashbrook: ‘The Open Spaces Society is proud to receive this award in memory of the great commons expert Elinor (Lin) Ostrom.  She had a phenomenal influence over a wide field and with countless scholars.  Lin believed in collective action and collaboration to achieve goals, and she understood the symbiotic relationship of scholarship and practical action.

 ‘The Open Spaces Society feels a bond with this.  We were founded in 1865 to save the commons from destruction, and we encourage practical action in their defence.  In tribute to Lin, I can assure you that we shall keep up our vital work of championing the commons through campaigning and collective action, as we have done for the last 150 years.’

 The IASC has made a video of the OSS which can be seen here.

 The attached photo shows Kate Ashbrook receiving the award from Leticia Merino.


 Notes for editors

1.         The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 and is Britain’s oldest national conservation body.  It campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths, and people’s right to enjoy them.

 2.         In England and Wales common is land subject to rights of common, to graze animals or collect wood for instance, or waste land of the manor not subject to rights.  The public has the right to walk on all commons, and to ride on many of them.  However, in an international context ‘common’ means ‘shared resource’, whether land, air, sea or digital.

 3          The International Association for the Study of the Commons, founded in 1989, is a non-profit association devoted to understanding and improving institutions for the management of resources that are (or could be) held or used collectively by communities in developing or developed countries.  Its goals are to encourage exchange of knowledge among diverse disciplines, areas and resource types; to foster mutual exchange of scholarship and practical experience, and to promote appropriate institutional design.


CONTACT:        Kate Ashbrook          

Kate Ashbrook

General Secretary

The Open Spaces Society

25a Bell Street

Henley-on-Thames RG9 2BA



The Open Spaces Society is a registered charity (no 1144840) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales (no 7846516).

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