Commonplace started around the time KF became its own non-profit in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot has happened since then and we’ve been taking the time to think about where we are and where we’d like to be within the context of being a publication and outlet that discusses scholarship, digital infrastructures, and cultural systems surrounding these ideas. Some of what we describe below is what we’ve been already doing, in part, but we’re (re)defining our goals and missions in a fresher way that feels more accurate to who we are and the communities we support.
We’ve recently settled on the following mission statements, short and long, respectively:
Commonplace is movement toward knowledge sharing futures and the cultures that sustain them.
We highlight the work and promise of existing groups, individuals, and projects to reach beyond current norms and structures. Our goal is to beget a culture and environment that generates alternative, better, more open, and equitable knowledge sharing practices. What makes our publication unique is that we seek to explicitly focus on emerging models and to spark the inspiration and sustain the momentum needed for change. Commonplace redraws our lines of reference to influence public opinion about our current state as well as what is possible. We envision that we become a space that encourages play and critique while we creating and reforming knowledge sharing cultures.
We hope that readers and creators/craftspeople1 alike come to Commonplace for inspiration and guidance on how to spark inspiration in their own work and spheres of influence.
We acknowledge that there are many futures within this space, so we strive to share and reflect the range of voices and opinions within this ever changing and evolving space. We’ll (continue to) do this by sharing fresh perspectives and provocative ideas that combine theory and practice in addition to balancing play and critique in order to create cultures around and beyond publishing and academia. As a futures-oriented publication, we encourage any and all possibilities that could serve an equitable knowledge economy and and are interested in actionable items that can be applied to create social infrastructure towards more open and equitable publishing systems.
One very common culture within academia is the pervasive notion of shadow labor. Until now, Commonplace has existed in a way that is unaligned with our own values and perpetuates a culture of free labor and the expectation that time dedicated to writing be remunerated via exposure, prestige, and/or a combination of the two.
We will be changing this practice by starting to offer contributors monetary compensation for their work with us. Offering contributors honorariums for their work, even if it’s merely a symbolic gesture, allows us to recognize that we’re asking for contributor’s limited time and attention and compensate their efforts, rather than accepting their gifts. Additionally, we hope that this gesture will build goodwill with and stronger ties to Commonplace and its mission.
We’re really excited by the roads of possibility that lie before us, and the lines that we’ll be redrawing with(in) our communities.
While we’re on the topic of roads lines, in addition to thinking and strategizing about the direction we’d like to go, we needed to be rethinking our “Places,” the different sections within our publication. When we first launched, we organized the Commonplace based on format: “Dialouges” for articles, “Duly Noted” for manifestos, “Well Sourced” for reading lists (and later toolkits), and “Five Things to Think About” for our monthly-ish newsletter. These sections, albeit clever and fun, aren’t very intuitive and don’t really describe who we are on Commonplace, a movement discussing the cultures of knowledge sharing.
Within the theme of architecture, infrastructure, and process, we’re excited to re-chart our space and create these Paths (themes) — Annotations, Community Impact, Culture (Cyberspaces & ScholComm), Knowledge Design, Libraries, Openness, Social Justice, and Sustainable Pathways — that follow the following Formats — Guidelines, Convos on the Common podcast, Annotations, 5 Things to Think About Newsletter, and Special Series. We hope that this restructuring of Commonplace helps you explore topics you’re interested in and dig deeper into the ideas with more clarity!
As our little publication grows and expands — we have lots of things we’d like to try out coming in 2023 — we’re eager to see how our community grows, engages with, and changes us along the way :)