As it moves toward the 50th anniversary of its founding in 2023, the Ostrom Workshop is expanding and developing its programming related to commons and environmental governance research.
Founded at Indiana University in 1973 by Nobel Prize–winning economist Elinor Ostrom and her husband, Vincent Ostrom, the Workshop's affiliates study major societal problems using novel approaches that build on groundbreaking research about "the commons" carried out by the Ostroms and their many collaborators.
Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, over the last year, the Workshop launched a new research program, Commons Governance, in celebration of Elinor Ostrom's pioneering work in the field, including her 1990 book, "Governing the Commons". For the last year, that program has been led by William Blomquist, professor of political science and director of the Liberal Arts and Management and the Individualized Major programs in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. A specialist in the study of managing water resources, Blomquist is also a former doctoral student of Elinor Ostrom.
Blomquist is retiring in summer 2021. Insa Theesfeld, currently a professor of agricultural, environmental and food policy at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany, is the new interim director of the Commons Governance program.
"Were all incredibly grateful to Bill for his tireless work in building out the Workshop's Commons Governance Program over this past year," said Scott Shackelford, executive director of the Ostrom Workshop. "Identifying leadership for the growing program Bill has built has been a core goal for the Workshop, and I couldn't be more pleased that Insa Theesfeld will be stepping into that role. The Commons Governance program builds on the Workshop's historic strengths, and I'm confident that Insa will enrich the Workshop's commons research portfolio and expand it in new ways, including by deepening our relationships with an array of partners. "
Theesfeld is also the president of the International Association for the Study of the Commons, the leading professional organization of multidisciplinary researchers and practitioners studying governance and management of common-pool and shared resources co-founded by Elinor Ostrom.