Community Economies Institute

About

The Community Economies Institute (CEI) is a not-for-profit, member based organization dedicated to furthering research, education and advocacy for economic practices that help us all to survive well together. The Institute works with Community Economies Research and Practice to bring about more sustainable and equitable forms of development by cultivating and acting on new ways of thinking about economies and politics.

The CEI seeks to support communities of all kinds who are committed to learning how to ‘survive well together’, meeting individual needs alongside the needs of our human and non-human planetary companions.

The CEI brings together people who are invested in key commitments of:

  • Being open to the unexpected and the unknown by adopting an anti-essentialist thinking approach. Instead of reducing the world to a few key determinants, we understand the world as shaped by multiple and interacting processes, only some of which we can apprehend. This approach helps us recognize the power and efficacy of things that might seem small and insignificant.
  • Finding a range of solutions and strategies for change and multiple pathways toward more sustainable and equitable worlds based on the understanding that lives unfold in a “pluriverse” rather than a “universe.”
  • Engaging in ongoing processes of learning and “becoming ethical subjects” through negotiation with human and “earth others” (species, ecologies, landscapes and seascapes). We aim for ongoing, courageous, and honest ethical relationships and transformation rather than a utopia. We recognize that there is probably no final or most desirable state of ethical being.

Structure

The work of the Institute is directed in 3 broad areas. We support our members to:

  • Undertake research that helps us understand how communities are making livelihoods that allow them to thrive, foster ethical connections with others, and enable care for the common good of the planet

  • Deliver education programs to help others learn how to enact, understand, and enable community economies around the world

  • Communicate to stakeholders (i.e. everyone!) effectively, intervening in the popular media, policy forums and scholarly debate, and engage in community outreach.

Our governance infrastructure is based in our status as a registered not-for-profit under Australian legislation. We are a Company Limited by Guarantee, and are governed by a Board of Directors elected from our membership. The Board sets policy, reviews finances, and represents the interests of the Institute as a whole. Board members are elected from CEI members with an effort to ensure representation from a range of global regions in which we are engaged.

One Board member is dedicated to leadership in each of our key areas of engagement – research, teaching, communication and outreach, membership and regional engagement

Coordination and day to day management of the Institute is in the hands of our Director whose responsibility it is to implement policy and support members fulfill activities within the Institute. The CEI Director is the main contact person for the CEI, and is responsible for identifying and pursuing opportunities for community economies research and education activities around the world, and coordinating the activities of members.

Working with communities

As an organization, the Institute seeks to provide support for collectives to design and implement community engagement actions that generate knowledge in a cooperative way and that, in so doing, facilitate learning processes and socio-political intervention.

Our focus rests on a simple yet powerful statement: to take back the economy, and we thus commit to help advance initiatives that:  

  • engender collaborations between different social actors at any given community by fostering ethical economic experimentation
  • produce a more open and transformative understanding of what counts as economy in different cultural contexts by highlighting the extent and contribution of unacknowledged and alternative economies, and by theorizing economy and community as sites of becoming
  • build sustainable non-capitalist alternatives as sites of cultural production of collective selves by disseminating and communicating that other worlds are possible

Under the auspices of the CEI, our members can apply for research grants, run consultancies, or community education/summer school programs. If you have a project that you believe fits with the work of the Institute we want to hear from you! Some relevant initiatives could include:

  1. Community education/summer schools
  2. Collaboration and coordination of research
  3. Consultancy.