14 Apr 2008
Transition Network Conference, Day 2.
The next day began with a great exercise, mapping the Transition movement physically in the hall. Firstly people were asked to arrange themselves geographically as a huge physical map of the world. Sophy and I then walked among the assembled throng, stopping in various places to ask how their Transition initiative is going, and so on.
Then we arranged people in terms of ages, in terms of how long their project has been going, and finally in terms of how important the Transition approach is to them. Making the scale and depth of Transition visible and physical was very powerful and memorable.
A second session of workshops then followed, and I didn’t get to go to any, as I was giving a lively and well attended workshop myself, on the 12 Steps of Transition. This meant I missed such gems as workshops on cities in Transition, reviving the cottage economy and engaging young people, but hey, you can’t have everything.
The timetable soon filled up, and sessions covered subjects such as “working with local government without committing suicide”, dealing with backlash and making Transition projects more inclusive, as well as some that just offered the opportunity for people to get together and sing. One of the sessions featured our first stab at making the conference more virtual, with John Lough from Portland in the US, video conferencing via. Skype to participate in the session on Transition Cities.
The 3 sessions of Open Space drew to a close with a feedback circle which garnered peoples’ responses to the process and to what they had discussed. This was then followed, for some of us anyway, by a football match, where the ethic of co-operation not competition was temporarily but ruthlessly ditched. The game ended with my team unexpectedly pulling back to 3-3, with Sophy Banks limping off injured halfway through and Hide from Japan emerging as a major Transition footballing talent, and it was a wonderful change from sitting and talking, recommended for any conference.
The evening featured an Open Mike hosted by, appropriately, ‘Open’ Mike Grenville from Transition Forest Row. A wealth of strong acts got up and did poems, songs, stories, even yours truly did a rather ropey version of ‘Egyptian Reggae’. It all ended up with the guys from Moving Sounds, who were here filming and running workshops, leading an amazing percussive shake-down that had the whole place up and dancing into the early hours.
You can see many more images from the weekend here, thanks so much to Mike Grenville for being the official photographer.