‘Free, Fair and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons’. UCLan ICSC Public Seminar & Book Launch with Silke Helfrich 17 Sept 2019

Tuesday 17th September 2019

4pm – 6pm

UCLan Greenbank Building Rm 276,

University of Central Lancashire,

Victoria St, Preston PR1 2HE

All Welcome. This event is free – please pre-register at:


‘From co-housing and agroecology to to alternative currencies and open-source everything, people are increasingly using “commoning” – free, self-organizing systems – to emancipate themselves from a predatory market-state system….’

UCLan’s Institute of Citizenship, Society and Change are pleased to welcome Silke Helfrich, co-author with David Bollier of ‘Free, Fair, and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons’ to speak at UCLan in Preston on 17th Sept.

This important new book offers a compelling narrative for change – ‘that we want to be free and creative people, governing ourselves through fair, accountable institutions, and experiencing the aliveness of authentic human presence’.

Can new thinking about ‘the commons’ and ‘commoning’ help us understand how developments such as the Preston Model, local cooperatives and community projects, along with other initiatives around the world, are attempting address the growing social and ecological crisis of our time?

Silke Helfrich is Co-founder of the Commons Strategies Group and Commons-Institute, and former head of the of Heinrich Böll Foundation regional office for Central America, Cuba, and Mexico.

Silke Helfrich and David Bollier’s new book on the commons is attracting international acclaim.

Bill McKibben, author of ‘Falter’ and founder of ‘350.org’ wrote:

“If you want a truly exciting glimpse into what the world after this one might look like, this book is for you. When we move past “markets solve all problems” into a more mature approach, it will incorporate precisely the insights in this lively and engaging volume!”

Raj Patel, author, ‘The Value of Nothing’ and ‘Stuffed and Starved’, says:

“David Bollier and Silke Helfrich don’t just establish that commoning can work, and work well. They’ve analysed the contours of successful experiments in how humans have come together to make their worlds freer, fairer and more alive”.

In this interactive and participatory presentation at UCLan, Silke Helfrich will introduce the new ideas in the book and explain how the commons and commoning may be conceptualised and enacted.

More about the book:

‘Free, Fair, and Alive’ presents a foundational re-thinking of the commons — the self-organized social system that humans have used for millennia to meet their needs. It offers a compelling vision of a future beyond the dead-end binary of capitalism versus socialism that has almost brought the world to its knees.

The book is a penetrating cultural critique, table-pounding political treatise, and practical playbook. Highly readable and full of colorful stories, coverage includes:

  • Internal dynamics of commoning
  • How the commons worldview opens up new possibilities for change
  • Role of language in reorienting our perceptions and political strategies
  • Seeing the potential of commoning everywhere.


Free, Fair, and Alive book website:





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