Making Worlds
Meeting Minutes 4/20/13

Attendees: John H, Thomas, Antonio S, David A, Janet M, Kara, Janet K, Susana D, Vincente, Begonia SC, Luis MC,  Ina B, Babak, Isabel


1. Commons document/ toolbox
2. Brooklyn commons
3. Website
4. NYC Columbia Conference (April 26-27th)
5. Visioning Session
6. Communication



-Exploring avenues on the World of focusing. Dynamic facilitation.

-Better listening, leading, co-leading, facilitation.

-How to exercise these skills.


What is frustrating about the dynamic of the group?

-In recent meetings and at the forum, it was difficult to co-lead the conversation.

-How the room was organized in the commons was disturbing but no one said anything.

-Vicente: we could use research methodologies

-Janet: there needs to be more discussion in the group – more debate

-John: we could have different levels of meeting – including skype

-Ina: but still we need more listening

-Begonia: we don’t need facilitators, we need to all be responsible about who speaks

-Antonio: we could do conversations about texts – about theories about the commons so we can be more critical and understand the different points of view.

-and  a visioning session in which we can brainstorm everything that we would like to do

-a very relax setting to talk about where we come from, our visions, our desires – what is important for each of us

-Susana: we should put a date for this envisioning session – because sometimes we end up not doing what we said we would do

-Vicente: we should remember that we already started a conversation about what Making Worlds is doing – before Sandy – create a continuity

-Tomasso: the most important thing is networking – in the future we will be thinking more collectively – to try to include people that are not in NYC

-Susana: clarification about internal list: we cannot use it for any issue, just to discuss things concerning meetings, website

-Isabel: conference on the commons NYU-Columbia

-Kara: bring the work that we are doing to the conference

-Babak: bring students into MW

-David: right to universal education vs privatization of education

-Luis: work about how to build commons in academia

-precarious work in universities

-situation of graduate students – unions

-privatization of education – Montreal, Chile

-student debt

-commodification of knowledge

-specialization of disciplines

-separation of Spanish departments from Spanish speaking migrant communities

-challenge the cooption of the word “commons” by neoliberal academia

-Vicente: in academia commons are presented like a thing – but it’s a practice

-Kara: can we link this event with May 1st

-Susana: we should have half hour after the event to see how it went

-Isabel: she needs info about the activity to give a handout

-Who is going to this? Vicente, Susana, David, Janet M?, Begonia, Marcos

-Susana: the website needs to change the home page – Luis will do it


-The document:

-Janet: there are some topics that repeat themselves and that could be organized in the

-space – money – strategies of groups



-we could do a summary of each sessions – for someone who wasn’t there


-1 point person for each of the 4 sessions to edit


-Janet K – will do the 1st

-Susana – caring

-Vicente – network

-Ina and Kara- space


-Everyone can edit – while we edit we can highlight things for the toolbox

-For the next meeting we should have some ready


-Brooklyn Commons


-David: last meeting with Melissa was focused on financial situation – and she doesn’t want to rent a whole floor to commercial

-David: two possibilities: do something very small with clear limits – just one

-or do an alternative space in NY – something big –

-216,000 total to sustain the building (including her retirement)

-Babak: to raise tht money we would need two full time staff

-Kara: the proposal is very confusing – the dynamic wouldn’t change if we still have to raise 6000 per month – it was not something that we were planning

-John: we need to make a list of questions for her

-Susana: we have a pressure now but for a project that maybe we are not going to feel ours

-John: we need to ask her if she is considering a transfer to collective ownership

-Janet K.: it’s a lot of money – we have to worry about the commons

-Luis: this project is for a bigger group of people

-Babak: the theory of what the commons is – maybe we don’t need the physical space – commons is not necessarily physical space – why all those groups left?

-John: propose another plan – it doesn’t have to be a bank

-Susana: if we don’t find more groups we can’t do it – and in a week or two we cannot form a group that can do it

-Luis – we could perhaps buy more time from Melissa, but I don’t think we can do it – that said: we need something else that allows us to create a sustainable commons, even if it’s a cultural commons, but a sustainable commons – to avoid the cooption

-Babak: transforming our institutions hospitals, universities – we are not in the position

-Vicente: personally I don’t have time – I’m not opposed, I think it’s worth exploring it, but it’s not the right moment

-John: space is important and very difficult to get in NYC – we have to understand the compromises that you have to do to get a space – we could go to philantropists and grants – like Fractured Atlas – membership, rentals, activities – he can commit one or two days

-Marcos: MW alone cannot do it – fundraising requires become a 501-c3 – Fractured Atlas offer fiscal sponsorship: you work under their status for fundraising

-Kara: we can’t do it alone – struck by George’s provocation: sell the building and take the commons to some other place – very excited about Club 99 –

-Janet K: a huge commitment of energy – I agree that space is important

-Janet M: was ready to commit myself, but I don’t what our role and Melissa’s would be

-Ina: got pretty energized – but felt taken aback by her reactions to us – what she offered was not cleared – we would be joining her in a transition but we don’t know what – maybe we need a commons of knowledge, maybe we don’t need space. – but I would love to find another place

-Begonia: it’s going to be a burden – but I have mixed feelings – of course we more people – we would become a business – we were thinking of possibilities – the only solution would be to do a café, but then we wouldn’t have space for other things

-Susana: can we use the toolbox as a research for finding a space?

-Kara: we can still help with the fundraising even if we don’t want to get involved in the project – find support within the community

-Ina: to continue enticing people around the idea of finding space

-do some outreach in Occupy – try to raise at least part of 60,000