Our Common Cause: Collective and collaborative management of upland commons and beyond.

Our Common Cause: Collective and collaborative management of upland commons and beyond.

Hosted by the Hannah Field and Julia Aglionby, Foundation for Common Land.

The Our Common Cause (OCC) project completed its development phase in 2019 and now has funding for the delivery phase from the Heritage Lottery Fund and match funding from partners. The delivery is starting this year and will be complete in 2023. Focusing on upland commons, but with implications for land management more broadly, this project has 4 themes: collaboration, resilience, commons for all and commons for tomorrow. Commons differ to other forms of land management as they are based on the ancient practice of commoning, where communities of interdependent farms manage resources collectively for the benefit of all, with a view to being sustainable and resilient. The OCC project will deliver opportunities to co-create a sustainable future for common land, improving commons management and providing shared learning that can apply to other landscapes.

There are 3 commons from each of Cumbria, Yorkshire, Shropshire and Dartmoor in the OCC project so there are specific examples in a Northern England context to focus on. This session will be a set of presentations based on the OCC theme of collaboration, looking at collective management and what this means in practice including the challenges, benefits and opportunities. Working collectively is not always easy but it can provide opportunities to build supportive, resilient communities whilst delivering multiple benefits from landscapes to society, such as food, biodiversity, water quality and carbon storage. We hope that participants can learn about commoning as a form of collaborative management through the presentations and questions, and through following the progress of OCC delivery over the next 3 years. Presentations included one from Julia Aglionby, Chief Executive of the Foundation for Common Land and chair of the OCC project and from Hannah Field who is doing her PhD research alongside OCC. Hannah is researching the different narratives, perspectives and values within commons and how these can be brought together for social and ecological benefit through place-based decision-making.

Find out more about OCC: foundationforcommonland.org.uk/our-common-cause


Julia Aglionby is Executive Director of the Foundation for Common Land, Chair of the Uplands Alliance, a practicing Rural Chartered Surveyor and Agricultural Valuer and Professor in Practice at the University of Cumbria. Julia was a Board Member of Natural England from 2014 – 2019. She has worked as an environmental economist on National Park Management in Indonesia and the Philippines. Julia’s PhD research was at Newcastle University Law School and her thesis was entitled Governance of Common Land in National Parks: Plurality and Purpose. Julia lives in the Eden Valley, Cumbria with her family on an organic Care Farm of which she is a Trustee – Susan’s Farm CIO – where she enjoys practical farm work at the weekends.

Hannah Field grew up in Rochester, Kent and has spent the last 10 years in Cumbria, beginning with her studies at the University of Cumbria gaining a BSc (Hons) in Animal Conservation Science and then, in 2019, her PGDip Ecosystem Services Evaluation. Hannah is currently a PhD Student at the University, researching how diverse perspectives and values in land management can be brought together for social and ecological benefit through place-based decision-making. During this time, Hannah has worked for Forestry England in communications and visitor experience and runs her own business. She is an artist and tutor in wool crafts, designs and teaches nature-based and regenerative livelihood programmes and helps with horticulture and livestock on a permaculture smallholding. Hannah weaves together practical experience and academic knowledge to inform her research and practice. Building relationships with the land threads Hannah’s life through fell-walking, mountaineering, lake swimming and gardening, always with collie-dog Nova.

Will Rawling and Rosie Snowden.


Oct 01 2020


7:30 pm - 9:00 pm