Common Ground is committed to building new kinds of knowledge communities, innovative in their media and their messages.
Heritage knowledge systems are characterized by vertical separations — of discipline, professional association, institution, and country. Common Ground takes some of the pivotal ideas and challenges of our time and builds knowledge communities which cut horizontally across legacy knowledge structures. Sustainability, diversity, learning, the future of the humanities, the nature of interdisciplinarity, the place of the arts in society, technology’s connections with knowledge, the changing role of the university — these are deeply important questions of our time which require interdisciplinary thinking, global conversations, and cross-institutional intellectual collaborations.
Common Ground is a meeting place for people, ideas, and dialogue. However, the strength of ideas does not come from finding common denominators. Rather, the power and resilience of these ideas is that they are presented and tested in a shared space where differences can meet and safely connect — differences of perspective, experience, knowledge base, methodology, geographical or cultural origins, and institutional affiliation. These are the kinds of vigorous and sympathetic academic milieus in which the most productive deliberations about the future can be held. We strive to create places of intellectual interaction and imagination that our future deserves.
Common Ground creates knowledge communities which meet in person at annual conferences. Community members also stay connected during the year between conferences as online knowledge communities — through both a formal, academic publishing processes (peer review journal and book publishing, and presentations on our YouTube channel), and informal conversations which continue though blogs, monthly email newsletters, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr feeds. The conferences create as many ways of speaking as possible, encouraging each and every participant to contribute their knowledge and perspectives. The journal and book publishing processes, enlist the peer community as arbiter of intellectual quality, and use Common Ground’s own, pathbreaking social networking software.