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IASC 2020 Virtual Conference: African Commons

Online Worldwide
July 13 – 27, 2020


Download the call here.

The International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) organizes a virtual conference from July 13-27, 2020 on African Commons. This conference will be a mixture of prerecorded presentations and live streaming webinar panels. Presentations can be in French or English. The virtual conference aims to bring together researchers, practitioners, and policymakers on the governance of shared resources in Africa. A virtual conference is more inclusive, has lower costs, a smaller carbon footprint and is not impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic, than traditional meetings.

With this virtual conference, we hope to get a broad exposure to the research done in Africa by African scholars and scholars abroad. The discourse during the conference seeks to improve governance and management of shared resources and create solutions for commons, common-pool resources, or any other form of shared resources.

Two keynote speakers are scheduled, namely Dr. François Deckon from the University of Lomé in Togo, and Dr. Barbara van Koppen from the International Water Management Institute in South Africa.

Submissions of abstracts are due June 1, 2020 via this webpage. This webpage also includes more detailed information on how to record your presentations. Presentation videos need to be submitted by July 1, 2020.

Let us know if you have any questions

Koffi Alinon;
Marco Janssen;
Everisto Mapedza;

Master’s-level training on land at Chiang Mai University – Reflections from the first cohor, 2017-19

Since 2017, the International Master’s program in Social Sciences Development Studies) at Chiang Mai University has included a focus on land relations. This reflects a revitalized interest in land and its governance in the region involving academics, practitioners, activists and researchers. Through the focus, the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD), who have instigated the program at Chiang Mai University, provides training to develop a high standard of knowledge and research skills for a new generation of land practitioners.

The first cohort of three students started in 2017. Ms Maw Thoe Myar and Mr Nyein Han Tun (both Myanmar), and Ms Chau My Duyen (Vietnam) received scholarships funded by MRLG (Mekong Region Land Governance project), with technical assistance provided by the Mekong Land Research Forum at Chiang Mai University. Following a conceptual and theoretical grounding in first year course modules, the second year involved field research towards a Master’s thesis. This brief looks at the achievements of the three students, who reflect on their experiences following the Master’s program, consider their aims for the future, and describe their thesis research. It is hoped that the brief will inform and inspire new students to join the program or seek equivalent schooling, thereby contributing to the training of land practitioners in the Mekong region.

For further information please visit the following websites:
Mekong Land Research Forum

Download the Briefing Note here!

Update LANDac events due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Update: 9 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to turn our world upside down, and our thoughts are with everybody directly or indirectly affected by the virus. To ensure the health and safety of all of us and those around us, LANDac has made the following decisions.

LANDac 10-year anniversary

Unfortunately, the LANDac 10-year anniversary, originally planned on the 23rd of April, has been postponed until further notice. We will explore possibilities to hold the celebration later this year. Hopefully we can share more information with you soon.

LANDac Annual International Conference

The pandemic also affects the 2020 LANDac conference – not only as uncertainty persists on any possible (inter)national measures on events such as ours, but especially as it will affect the diverse and inclusive character of our conference. Therefore, the Organising Committee (OC) has decided to postpone the LANDac conference until early July 2021.

Despite this unfortunate turn of events, we do wish to bring the global land governance community together this year, and therefore want to invite you to the LANDac Online Encounter 2020, an online, interactive platform where we will also host a live (online) programme on and around the 2nd and 3rd of July. The OC will further develop this online programme in the coming few weeks and will include opportunities for you to actively participate.

If you submitted an abstract for the LANDac 2020 conference: the postponement of the 2020 conference means that the session organisers will decide in the coming two weeks whether they will postpone their session until next year, cancel their session, or hold an online session this summer. Session organisers will inform you on their decision later this month. If session organisers postpone their session until next year or hold their session online this summer, they will inform you on the status of your abstract as soon as possible, and, if accepted, explore your availability for next year’s conference or for an online contribution this summer. If your preferred session is cancelled or if your abstract is not accepted for your preferred session, LANDac will be in touch with you before the end of the month with more information on how to proceed. If you wish to withdraw your abstract, please contact us at   

Annual Summer School

LANDac organises its Annual Summer School in cooperation with Utrecht University, and as such we will follow the recommendations and guidelines of the University. Utrecht University expects that the Summer School courses in July and August will be able to take place. In the unfortunate event that we are not able to offer our course due to new, tightened national regulations, you will receive a full refund of your payment to Utrecht Summer School. You can find the latest information on the Summer School here.

We hope for your understanding and will continue to update this page if there are new updates. If there are any questions in the meantime, do not hesitate to contact us on for questions related to the 10-year anniversary or Annual Summer School 2020, or on for questions related to the LANDac Annual International Conference.

Call for Papers: CFP RC21 Antwerp: Rethinking the urban housing shortage in the global South: incremental housing as a node for intersecting flows of city-making

RC21 Conference, Antwerp, July 6–8, 2020

Session organizers: Griet Steel, Femke van Noorloos and Abigail Friendly, Department of Human Geography & Planning, Utrecht University

Sustainable urban housing stands at the nexus of multiple SDGs (SDG11 figuring prominently), with spectacular urban growth, exacerbating inequality, environmental degradation and housing shortages as some of the pressing issues. Incremental housing – a step by step approach to housing construction in which the built environment is improved by owner-builders as money, time and materials become available – is a key driver of contemporary urbanization worldwide. Taking place in informal ways and driven by urban residents rather than the state, incremental housing practices remain challenging to integrate with formal state-led city-making. However, these experiences vary widely depending on inequalities at different scales, people’s roles and power positions, policies and regulations related to incremental housing and city-making, and broader structural forces shaping land and housing markets and urban development more broadly. Scholarship on incremental housing continues to focus largely on tenure, building materials and housing conditions at a local level, while incremental housing is embedded in – and dependent on – larger urban and regional systems and flows. Housing is inserted into a broader context of city-making , including flows of labor, people, finance, knowledge/ideas, technologies, design and infrastructure. Mapping these dynamics is necessary to understand fundamental questions of where, how and why initiatives aimed at addressing the urban housing shortage in the global South advance or get stuck. Academically, a further reconceptualization of incremental housing is needed that acknowledges the embeddedness of local incremental building practices within broader industries, markets and practices of city-making. Given the reality of incremental housing practices across the Global South, academic debates need to understand the complexity of these challenges.

In this session, we aim to focus on how the process of creating incremental housing produces a variety of ever-changing embodied experiences for dwellers-managers over time, depending on how they engage with flows of building materials, finance, and labour, together with land, design and infrastructure. By focusing on these embodied experiences of incremental housing flows, we aim to scrutinize how to overcome dilemmas related to urban incrementalism, long-term, city-wide planning, and compact cities in the Global South. We are particularly interested in receiving submissions from scholars from the Global South.

In particular, we welcome papers that analyze city flows, chains and circuits that emerge from incremental housing practices by focusing on:

  • the functions and experiences of different actors such as self-builders, suppliers of materials and finance and informal brokers, identifying winners and losers in incremental housing dynamics, including the generation of employment for specific groups;
  • the industries and value chains that emerge and change, including financial or credit systems, where materials come from, go to, and flow together; and
  • the reasons why certain housing developments stand empty and why repair and recycling  are not used optimally, for example for emptied vertical blocks and older housing estates.

Urban researchers largely recognize that contemporary cities are constantly in flux and created and recreated through various flows and relations of people and materials, and not the stable products of past planning decisions ‘frozen in space’. Nevertheless, modern urban planning tools, methods and procedures often continue to reflect the idea of planning as the creation of something stable and long-lasting, such as zoning or land-use plans. They emphasize stability instead of dynamic connections, interlinkages and movement. By focusing on the actors and the lived experiences of user-driven, self-organized industries of building, maintaining, repairing and renewing/upgrading, the panel aims to put an innovative light on the embeddedness of ‘local’ incremental and self-managed building practices within broader industries and city-making practices.

Submit an abstract at:

For more information, please contact Femke van Noorloos ( or Abigail Friendly (

Land Portal | Data Stories Contest 2020

The Land Portal has released its Data Stories Contest 2020! Extended Deadline: 23rd March 2020.

For more information, see below or visit the Land Portal website.

“As data enthusiasts, we believe in the power that data holds and are strong proponents for democratizing information, making it easy to share and reuse. Despite this, data scientists and those working with data in general, often struggle to communicate how and why data are essential and potentially life changing.  The word data often conjures up notions of difficult to understand numbers or facts, information that is out of reach for the general population, meant for data scientists or those carrying out work that requires a certain level of expertise. This is where we feel data stories can be of great use. Data stories provide an opportunity to reflect that data is not sterile and difficult to understand , but part of wider, participatory process. We want to bring data to life!

It is with this in mind that we are launching our second Data Stories Contest. Data stories are an agile and malleable form of communication that are intended for non-specialized audiences.  Data stories can include text, interviews, videos, infographics and maps to tell a narrative in a compelling way, based on what is deemed appropriate on a case by case basis. The narrative, as well as visual elements of the story, should focus heavily on and reference a specific dataset or data.  Successful stories will be dynamic, engaging and original and will include innovative presentation of information and lets the data speak to an audience beyond the realm of academic researchers and data scientists.  We invite you to take part and share your stories with us!”

Download the flyer here.

Extended! NEWAVE Network| PhD positions at host organisations

The NEWAVE Network (Next Water Governance) aims to point the way forward in the global debate about water governance. It does so by developing research and training for a new generation of future water governance leaders, and by equipping them with the transdisciplinary skills to better tackle water challenges.

The NEWAVE Network is now recruiting PhDs. There are 15 available positions offered by 10 host organisations. Candidates are expected to start in September-October 2020 and NEWAVE is prepared to adapt to the Covid-19 situation by leveraging remote connection and remote work.

Click here for an overview and more information.

Deadline for application: May 24, 2020.

International Sociological Association | RC40 Call for Proposals

The Research Committee on Agriculture and Food (RC40) of the International Sociological Association is asking for proposals for a small grant of $2000 to support the establishment or development of professional networks related to the sociology of agriculture and food. These networks can be intended to include any or all of the following: researchers, activists, graduate students, educators, and any other group who works on issues related to agriculture and food, although we ask that there be a connection to sociological work. The purpose of the grant is to support the development of communities of people who are working on agriculture and food from a sociological perspective.

Global Land Programme | Call for Nominations GLP Scientific Steering Committee

GLP is currently seeking to nominate two to three new SSC members, starting June 1, 2020. The Global Land Programme (GLP) is an interdisciplinary community of science and practice fostering the study of land systems and the co-design of solutions for global sustainability and currently a Global Research Project (GRP) of the Future Earth international research platform. GLP represents the community of scientists working on land systems and aims to lead synthesis and knowledge production in the field, organize platforms for interaction between community members through working groups, conferences, workshops, regional activities, online resources and social media, and plays a role in setting the science agendas for emerging land system research themes to better integrate the understanding of the coupled human-environment system.

For more information, please visit the website.

Elsevier, World Development | Climate change and land: Insights from Myanmar

In a recently published paper (2020), Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Jennifer C. Franco and Zau Nam outline the (political) links between climate change and land. You can read the full paper (open access) here.


Climate change and land are linked – politically. Climate change politics intersects with the global land rush in extensive and complex ways, the impacts of which affect villagers profoundly. These interconnections occur in direct and indirect ways and are often subtle, but that does not make them less important; it only makes the challenge of governing such dynamics in the interests of marginalized working poor people even more difficult. In this paper, we focus our analysis on indirect and subtle interconnections. Examining empirical cases in Northern Shan State in Myanmar, we conclude that these interconnections occur in at least three broad ways, in which climate change politics can be: (i) a trigger for land grabbing, (ii) a legitimating process for land grabs, or (iii) a de-legitimating process for people’s climate change mitigation and adaptation practices. These interconnections in turn stoke old and provoke new political axes of conflict within and between state and social forces.

LANDac | Land Special Issue “Land Governance and (Im)mobility: Exploring the Nexus between Land Acquisition, Displacement and Migration”

We’re happy to announce that the editorial ‘Land Governance from a Mobilities Perspective‘ to LANDac’s Land Special Issue “Land Governance and (Im)mobility: Exploring the Nexus between Land Acquisition, Displacement and Migration” has recently been published!

This Special Issue emerges from contributions of the LANDac Annual International Conference 2018 that took place 28–29 June, 2018, in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

You can now read the full Special Issue (open access) here!