18 Nov 2008
Transition Training Goes on Tour, Blog #1
So yesterday we waved Naresh Giangrande off from Totnes on the first leg of the Transition Training Tour, with Sophy Banks set to head off to join him next week. The next four months are a very ambitious attempt to meet some of the demand for training arising around the world and to create a pool of trainers that can support it. They will be blogging regularly here at Transition Culture, and here is their first post by way of setting the scene.
Its only a year since we ran the first Training for Transition in Totnes in the front room of the office. Now we are embarking on our most ambitious project yet, to bring the training to other parts of the world. Sophy and I are travelling for the next four months giving talks, delivering trainings, meeting with people doing amazing things, and training others to deliver this training in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and probably China. And no we aren’t cycling or rowing or going by airship (sorry George Monbiot). We thought long and hard about the pros and cons and what swung us behind the idea was that many were coming from all over the world to do the training it made sense to us to have two of us travel rather than hundreds coming to the UK. I couldn’t swear that January in New Zealand didn’t enter at all into our thinking.
It was and is a hard decision as many of us in transition know, to live in the existing paradigm or live by your principles. How do the two meet and how to live with integrity? The enthusiastic response from all over the world has added to our conviction that we are doing the right thing.
The training is a mix of the practical, theoretical, and the experiential. What confronted us when we sat down to design this two day fundamentals workshop in transition was how to you train someone to do something when you don’t know what it is your are actually training people to do. Training someone to be a doctor or a mechanic or an accountant, we know what each of these professions do there are clear competencies that they would have to know to be good at their profession. However with Transition, the field is so wide, just about anything can be included, and no one knows what a Transitioned Town looks like because nowhere has yet transitioned from an advanced industrial society into something sustainable.
So how do you train someone to do something that is unknown and unknowable? Our formulation is to create a weaving. We weave together the inner and the outer, the personal with the social and the political. We weave together the theoretical with the practical, and information with experiential. We have designed the course to provide both a broadening and deepening for those who attend. To broaden people’s understanding of the times we live in and the conceptual thinking that underpins transition, and to deepen people into their own dreams and experience, reflecting the profound nature of the work.
We are bringing something tangible and intangible to other parts of the world, and most obviously we are bringing hope. I guess the message you are not alone is what we bring, along with the ideas, thoughts, and practice of all those who are embarking on this path of hope and inspiration. We are all inspiring each other, and certainly I am inspired by all that I see happening, all that participants bring with them on the many trainings we have facilitated.
Some of the feedback we have received from the training is of the richness of the meetings that happen with other participants – for many a relief from the sense of isolation they reside in during their regular jobs, with family or friends who don’t share their worldview. I was talking to a journalist from the Times this morning who commented on how Transition Towns created hope in people who feel the futility of doing things on their own.
We think of our tour as acting like the bumblebees in Open Space – bringing ideas from one place and learning as they go, cross-fertilising evolving projects and discussions. Our intention is to bring the combined wisdom and practice of the Transition field to other parts of the world, and carry with us the ideas and wisdom of those who we are meeting and training. It feels an immensely satisfying and privileged role in these extraordinary times.
Sophy Banks and Naresh Giangrande
You can see their full schedule here.