Transition Network Conference Summary
I have just had the honour of Project Managing this year’s Transition Network International Conference. Transition Network is the charity behind the world renowned ‘Transition Towns’ Movement, a movement that begin in 2005 in Totnes in the UK and has since encircled the globe with over 1400 known initiatives and a network of nearly 30 National Hubs ranging from Chile to Australia to Japan to Spain to Norway and onwards.
I and my company, AWP were brought in to Project Manage the Network’s first wholly International Conference, an event that was aimed at deepening and strengthening connections between the core UK-based team and the growing international face of Transition. With representatives from over 35 countries in attendance at the Conference, this was a unique opportunity for the Network to come face to face with itself and reflect on the journey so far and what the future would hold, whilst gaining a greater understanding of how Transition was shaping up across the Planet.
Given the global significance of this grassroots gathering, it was an honour and privilege to be invited to work with Transition Network to produce this event and ensure it was the success it had the potential to be. I spent nine months working on the project to ensure that what was delivered was of a quality that reflected the ambitions of the Network and our own shared principles.
Thankfully, I can report that the event was a huge success. What unfolded was a landmark gathering of grassroots activists from a diversity of cultures that is rarely encountered in the UK social change scene. Attendees were treated to a wide range of workshops covering everything from organisational structure (Sociocracy) to Flatpack Democracy courtesy of Peter Mcfadyen of Independents for Frome, via sessions on Conflict Resolution, Creative Community Engagement and Common Cause – the latter covering the fascinating and important topic of Frames and Values in our modern society. Other sessions built on Transition Network’s successful REconomy Project, a programme that is helping support, design and deliver new ‘Transition’ Enterprises and New Economic Models. These sessions delved into the work of REconomy including its Local Entrepreneur Forums and its recent foray into and exploration of Post-Crash Economies in Spain and Portugal in particular.
In all, the event attracted around 350 attendees ranging not only in nationality but also in age, purpose and profession. I encountered individuals from all walks of life including an Italian MP, a German Banking Consultant and a number of journalists from EU and North American press in particular. With Fringe events including a Young Adults Gathering and TNs annual gathering of National Hubs, the Conference was bubbling with creative potential, ideas, innovations and excited conversations as new relations were made.
For me, being involved in this project represented everything that I am involved in events for and actually re-inspired me with the value of them in many ways. The Conference was a dynamic melting pot of emergent thought involving hundreds of switched-on, active citizens from 30+ nations all involved in social change and environmental movements in their countries. It made me feel quite provincial at points!
I am glad to say that AWP (and I) delivered what we set out to, hopefully helping to co-create an environment where new connections could be made, where seeds could be planted to later germinate, and where everybody attending gets to share in and feel a lot of love.
I love delivering both professionally produced events and those that are unique, transformational and into which I can pour love, care and attention to ensure that they are a success. This was no exception.
For more information on the Transition Network Conference, you can visit:
Or check out the website: http://conference15.transitionnetwork.org