Founded in 1984, Common Ground is committed to building new kinds of knowledge communities, innovative in their media and forward thinking in 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—this is just to mention a few of the focal points of our knowledge communities. These and the other ideas we explore, raise some of the most deeply important questions of our time. In response, all such questions 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 of the ideas that emerge is that they are discussed in shared meeting and publication spaces where differences can meet and safely connect. These are sites of productive diversity, where synergies are created around variations in perspective, experience, knowledge base, methodology, geographical or cultural origins, and institutional affiliation. Such is the kind of vigorous and sympathetic scholarly milieu in which innovative and practically generative 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. The conferences create as many ways of speaking as possible, encouraging each and every participant to contribute their knowledge and perspectives.
Community members also establish a mutual commitment to create formally documented knowledge through our academic publishing processes including our peer reviewed journal and book publishing programs. Through these media, we enlist peer communities to provide systematic feedback to scholars and to act as arbiters of intellectual quality.
Informal conversations continue throughout the year via our online media. At the heart of this online dialogue is our pathbreaking online knowledge community space, Scholar, which adds an element dynamic interaction to our other social media outlets—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blog, news feeds and email newsletters.