I am formally trained as a neuroscientist, and having completed postdoctoral positions at University College London, and then UCSF, I have published around 27 peer reviewed papers in strong journals. My passion as a scientist underlies all that I do, and it is for this reason that I begin this biography with this fact. I am passionate about asking why things are the why they are? do they have to be like this? how do they work and can we shift them to make them better? Whether this is the brains of healthy people, or the damaged brains of the patients that I work with, whether it is communities, governance, the legal system, or other social dynamics. I am passionate about communication of these issues with the public, and have been centrally involved with public engagement of science since the first year of my PhD. I am a Guerrilla Scientist, speaker for Museums and science nights all over the world, and have tried my hand at science stand up comedy.
Theory of Change
In my endeavours to learn about humans, I have discovered that we are far better off living in community, especially when those communities are intentional solidarity based ones centered around sharing, openness and collaboration. Commoning and prefiguration are my praxis. My politics, being prefigurative, are centered around enacting and building the modes of organization, social dynamics, decision making systems that reflect the world we are striving for, not the one that we have inherited.
To this end, I have been a founding member and core team at the Embassy Network, a global collective of place-based communities experimenting with new forms of governance, sharing and solidarity. We start and support spaces that prototype new approaches to an open, creative society. Through collaborating and living at density in this way, I have founded a number of open, free collective and decentralised endeavours.
"In facing up to the many profound crises of our time, we face a conundrum that has no easy resolution: how are we to imagine and build a radically different system while living within the constraints of an incumbent system that aggressively resists transformational change? Our challenge is not just articulating attractive alternatives, but identifying credible strategies for actualizing them. 'Commoning' refers to acts of mutual support, conflict, negotiation, communication and experimentation that are needed to create systems to manage shared resources. This process blends production (self provisioning), governance, culture, and personal interests into one integrated system.
Commoners are focused on reclaiming their “common wealth,” in both the material and political sense. They want to roll back the pervasive privatization and marketization of their shared resources—from land and water to knowledge and urban spaces—and reassert greater participatory control over those resources and community life. They wish to make certain resources inalienable—protected from sale on the market and conserved for future generations. This project—to reverse market enclosures and reinvent the commons—seeks to achieve what state regulation has generally failed to achieve: effective social control of abusive, unsustainable market behavior."
- David Bollier, Commoning as a Transformative Social Paradigm