Would you like to write an article for The Commons? We are always on the lookout for new contributions on topics related to social change.
We collect resources in the following Topic areas:
Resources are categorised under ‘Read’, ‘Listen’ (podcasts and other audio files) and ‘Watch’ (videos) and include the following formats:
The following three articles give a sense of the informative articles included in the Commons Library, although many other kinds of resources are in our collection.
- What is this thing called Activist Legal Support?
- Exploring roles in social change movements
- Top 3 Messaging Tips from Anat Shenker-Osorio at Progress 2019
Commons Article Guidelines
The Commons includes a wide variety of materials, from formal academic reports to short and punchy practical ‘how to’ guides. We welcome many different kinds of contributions so contact us to see if your work is a good fit.
If you are writing something from scratch for inclusion in the Commons please consider the following.
- Write in a clear accessible way which makes the key information available to readers.
- Put the important information in the first paragraph: Instead of working from an introduction through discussion to a conclusion as you would when writing a formal report, when you are writing for The Commons your introductory paragraph needs to include all the key information. Include the what, where, when, why, and how of your story in the first paragraph, and then go on to share the details in the body of your article.
- Think about what you want the reader to do differently after reading your piece eg think deeply about X; use Y planning tool in the future; run Z tactic in a more skillful way, etc.
- Write with the audience in mind, and you may like to define the particular audience you’re directing your piece towards. The Commons audience includes:
- People working on diverse issues connected to social and ecological justice
- People working in paid and unpaid roles
- People with different roles and skillsets: campaigners, organisers, trainers, group convenors, volunteer coordinators, managers, policy, operations, fundraising, communication, and more.
- Novice changemakers who are new to social change who need clear information which doesn’t presume a high level of existing knowledge.
- Seasoned changemakers who are interested in innovation, the leading edge, new techniques, and emerging trends.
- Keep track of where you are sourcing information from and clearly reference it where possible.
- Gain permission from others (for example artists, photographers, writers) for including their work in anything you submit to the Commons.
- Be clear what capacity you are submitting to the Commons in ie as an individual or wearing a ‘work hat’ or other organisational affiliation.
- Articles should be educational/informative rather than promotional in focus. For example, if you would like to promote an event or training you could write an article that takes into account the learning of an event such as “Four ways to build highly effective community organisers”.
- If you have a lot of text please consider breaking it down into smaller chunks using bullet points and/or breaking down text into 2-3 paragraphs separated with subheadings.
- Visuals help make articles more engaging for the reader. If you have photos, graphs or videos please include them.
The Commons Essentials
- File name
Give your file a unique and clear name: name your document with your surname, a descriptive title for which you are submitting the file, eg: Anne Smith How to set up a group
- Identify yourself
Include your name, position and place of employment (if you choose), and your email address at the end of your article.
- Include captions
If you have also sent images or illustrations, include the details for these, including captions at the end of your article, along with the specific file name for each individual file. For more details about images see the Nitty Gritty below.
Choose the type of licence you would like your article to have. E.g. creative commons or all rights reserved (more details below).
- Submit your article
When your article is ready for submission, email it with accompanying images, if any, to [email protected]
- Final proofread
Your article will be edited prior to publication for style and length. Let us know if you would like to see the finished article before it is published.
The Nitty Gritty
800 – 2500 words. Please note that longer contributions may be published with only a summary in the online article with the full pdf available for download. If you have a piece that is shorter or longer please have a chat with the librarian.
- Photos, graphics, diagrams, or illustrations can be submitted in jpg format.
- Each image or illustration should be provided as a separate file.
- If you are providing images, you will need to have permission from anyone identifiable in the picture and the photographer.
- For all other images or graphics, you will need permission for reproduction online (you don’t need to provide permissions to us, but you do need to have them).
- If providing an image available through Creative Commons, please provide the correct CC licence image credit. https://creativecommons.org.au/learn/howto/
- If providing an image that is under your copyright please provide the details.
E.g. © Fitzroy Legal Service 2019
- If you don’t have any images to submit with your article we may track some down and can run them past you prior to publication.
Articles should be submitted as Word documents with no formatting (eg no bolding, centering, etc of text), and no images embedded in the document.
Would you like your article to be shared (creative commons) or reserve all rights? Choose which licence you would like to cover your article.
- Public Domain: Not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent laws. The public owns these works, not an individual author or artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it.
- CC BY: This license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format, so long as attribution is given to the creator. The license allows for commercial use.
- CC BY-SA: This license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format, so long as attribution is given to the creator. The license allows for commercial use. If you remix, adapt, or build upon the material, you must license the modified material under identical terms.
- CC BY-NC: This license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator.
- CC BY-NC-SA: This license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator. If you remix, adapt, or build upon the material, you must license the modified material under identical terms.
- CC BY-ND: This license allows reusers to copy and distribute the material in any medium or format in unadapted form only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator. The license allows for commercial use.
- CC BY-NC-ND: This license allows reusers to copy and distribute the material in any medium or format in unadapted form only, for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator.
- All Rights Reserved: The copyright holder reserves, or holds for its own use, all the rights provided by copyright law.
We don’t use footnotes, references, or bibliographies. Simply include the title, author, and date of publication within the body of your article in sentence form (more details on that in the style hints below).
Full stops and spacing
Please insert one space only between a full stop and the first letter of the next sentence.
Use Australian spelling for words such as realise, globalise, and so on.
Any abbreviation used must be in full for the first use with the abbreviation shown in brackets, after that you can use the abbreviated form. For example, Council on the Ageing (COTA)
Titles of books, journals, magazines, and things such as television programs and artworks are italicised.
Use the word form for numbers from one to nine and numerals for numbers from 10 onwards, with commas to separate large numbers (this assists readability). We also use an „en dash‟ with no spaces between numbers when writing a range of numbers. (An en dash is an elongated dash.) For example, There were seven participants It is estimated 11,000 readers will participate nationally During the period 2010 – 2012 Where possible, try not to start a sentence with a number. For percentages, use the % sign rather than the word form.
Our house style for dates is “day month year‟ where they are given in full. We don‟t use „st‟ or „th‟ at the end of dates. For example, on 24 October 2019, our group met to develop a plan for a new approach to community organising.‟
Use a hyphen in compound words and an „en dash‟ between parts of a sentence. Always use a space either side of an en dash.
Referencing a publication in the text
To make reference to a publication, you only need to include the author, title and year of publication in a sentence. For example: In their 1996 report, Digital Futures, Mark Smith and Jane Jones wrote, “There is a whole new world out there and it is ours for the taking‟.
Pitch your idea or submit a resource
Excited to start writing your next article? Think you’ve got a topic that would be great for the Commons? We’re always on the lookout for new content – so make sure you get in touch with your ideas: [email protected]
Please note we only accept contributions that have a connection with social change, or relevance to the skills utilised by people engaged in social change. We do not accept promotional material or articles designed to increase traffic to other sites for commercial benefit.
- How to Write Engaging Articles
- How to Write a Book Review
- How to Write a Case Study
- How to Conduct Interviews for Articles, Research & More
- Learn with the Commons Library – details of our 2022 skills sessions