Kristen CaseProfessor Kristen Case, Department of English, directs the New Commons Project at the University of Maine-Farmington. It involves three key steps: open access participation in nominating literary or artistic works, finalizing a list of twenty four, and developing public conversations about them. The focus on crowd sourcing expands public participation; institutional roles, expertise, or education become secondary as the case presented for the nomination gains importance; in taking this approach, the project seeks to encourage creative and public participation in order to nurture literary  appreciation and artistic expression in a variety of media outside of institutional, formalized boundaries.  The New Commons is “new” in that it not only extends academic rigor and knowledge into public spaces by using digital tools but it encourages members of the general public to become readers, viewers, and producers of expressive content: public space becomes more open-ended, participatory, and creative.

The New Commons Project is supported by a $500.000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.