Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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18 Feb 2009

Transition Conference 2009: Dates and Venue Announced

We are delighted to announce the details of the 2009 Transition Network conference. It will be held between lunchtime on Friday 22nd and lunchtime on Sunday 24th May 2009 at the Battersea Arts Centre in London. This is the main event in the annual Transition calendar and is the opportunity to immerse yourself in what is happening in Transition initiatives around the world. The 2009 conference will be our biggest yet, and will keep what has been best about the conferences held thus far (i.e. lots of Open Space and workshops, a football match, an Open Mike in the evening, socialising time) as well as adding some new and exciting elements…

Some of the extra ingredients for 2009, although some of these will be open to rearranging, include;

  • The premiere of ….. (drumroll)…. ‘The Transition Movie’
  • Training courses, on setting up Community Supported Agriculture initiatives (run by the Soil Association’s CSA team), an introduction to permaculture, a public speaking training, how to facilitate Open Space and the full 2 day Transition Training will be run either side of the conference itself (details to be announced)
  • An opportunity to observe and participate in the extraordinary ‘Energy Descent Plan in 2 Hours’ workshop, developed by various Transition initiatives in London
  • Rounders (for the footiephobic)
  • A major public event one evening (speakers to be confirmed)
  • A deep and nourishing experience, designed to maximise productive networking with other people doing Transition work in a wide range of places

The hosts, Battersea Arts Centre, offer both an extraordinary venue and a long history of supporting community based arts and culture events. They are tremendously excited about working with Transition Network for this event.  You can read more about the place here. We are honoured to have been invited to make the venue our home for those few days.

More information will follow soon, but for now make sure you put the dates in your diary. We will open for bookings, both for the conference and for the training courses, on the 2nd March. It will be a quite extraordinary few days.

Photos, by Amelia Gregory, show the 2008 Transition Network conference, at the Royal Agricultural College, near Cirencester.  A short film about that event can be seen below;

Comments are now closed on this site, please visit Rob Hopkins' blog at Transition Network to read new posts and take part in discussions.


Josef Davies-Coates
30 Mar 10:17am

I think I know what you’re getting at DaveDunn, but they are not really mutually exclusive.

Lets try next year to organise a conference BY and FOR Transition Initiatives that ensures nobody is excluded due to lack of ability to pay for admission, yes?

30 Mar 10:52pm

If 350 people pay £85 each that comes to almost £30,000!!! That’s a staggering amount, enough to buy a small house in some areas.

I’d assumed that most of the cost would be for the venue but the comment above says the venue is free. The other major cost of these types of events is publicity but I suspect that is done via the web – so also free. Another cost is food but no one can eat anything like £85 worth of food in a couple of days.

Given the above I’m curious to know how this phenomenal amount of money is being spent.

Josef Davies-Coates
30 Mar 11:44pm

Steve: good point. Where money is involved transparency really helps.

To be clear I’m not at all certain the venue is free. I just remember reading on this blog that Transition Network were “invited” to have their conference at the venue and I’m assuming that means for free. I should hope so. An invitation to spend a load of money isn’t much of an invitation in my book.

Kamil Pachalko
31 Mar 5:01am

is the next conference going to be really crowd -organized (ideas for a better word)? Sounds good to me and looks like it with so many people interested in helping out next year:)

31 Mar 11:19am

Firstly, I would like to distinguish between an inability to pay and an unwillingness to pay. Two very very different things in my book. I feel very sympathetic towards the former, as I often fall into that category myself, and feel rather baffled by the latter for reasons I explained in my previous post. As much as I believe that most money circulating in our society is spent on things that have little real value and contribute very little to our happiness, I also know that when the mortgage has to be paid there is no point turning up with a basket of apples, even though one can make a good case for saying that they may soon be worth more than my debt in real terms.

Secondly, lets be very careful about making assumptions about free venues and what £30.000 may be spent on. Why not ‘assume good faith’ as Josef suggested we did around his comments and assume that everyone working on the conference is doing the best they can and no-one is making a mint.

If anything, it is better for one’s peace of mind to trust and let go, or if that isn’t possible to remove one’s energy from a given situation and go off and do better. This is best done without a lot of noise.

Anyway, off to enjoy the garden – it’s free!

Josef Davies-Coates
31 Mar 1:30pm

Good points, Inez 🙂

I for one am quite certain that no-one is making a mint out of it (lots of people who have never organised events before assume that people are making loads of money by doing simple calculations like Steve did – often without taking into account the many hidden costs involved in event organisation).

Most events do seem to actually loose money (as I believe last years conference did)

However, transparency is a wonderful thing and I like to jump in and sing its praise wherever possible!

Enjoy the garden!


Mike Grenville
31 Mar 2:00pm

having organised many events myself, I have long since concluded that the world is divided into two: people who go to events and people who organise them. Only those people who have themselves organised events know that a succesful event dosn’t happen on its own and it is the result of carefully thinking out all the details.

31 Mar 6:07pm

Inez said: “I would like to distinguish between an inability to pay and an unwillingness to pay. Two very very different things in my book.”

Personally I think the two are very closely related. One’s ability to pay will have a very large influence on one’s willingness to pay.

For instance for a £30k salaried professional the entry price is going to be a piffling amount not even worth thinking about. For someone for whom the cost is all they’ve managed to save for the past 6 months then their willingness is likely to be seriously reduced. They’re going to weigh up all the other possible ways they could spend that money and may well conclude that other things are a higher priority for them.

Josef said: “lots of people who have never organised events before assume that people are making loads of money by doing simple calculations like Steve did”.

Umm I haven’t assumed any such thing. Having been involved in organising quite a few events I actually assume the opposite: that few, if any people will be making any money out of this. And that some people will be working very hard in spite of this because it’s what’s they believe in. And I take my hat off to them because I know how much hard work these things are.

However if we’re to discuss whether the cost is too high or not some idea of how the costs are split would be useful. If the cost is too high for many people, as I suspect it is, then to plan future conferences more cheaply it is necessary to look at where costs could be cut, and what aspects would be lost because of this.

Josef Davies-Coates
31 Mar 6:55pm

Hi Steve, didn’t mean to accuse you of making those assumptions, just that lots of people who do sums like the one you did do make that assumption 🙂

Josef Davies-Coates
6 Apr 11:14am

Some inspiration from the Open Source world about how to run a profitable self-organised conference:

6 Apr 6:17pm

Also a great example of total transparency, particularly with reference to this thread: there’s a complete breakdown of all the income and costs.

Could someone put something similar together for this conference please?

Josef Davies-Coates
11 Apr 5:49pm

Hey, I’m going to Radical Routes’ Practical Economics conference on the Saturday, but can I come to Transition Conference on Friday afternoon/ Sun morning? How much for that?

[…] har sagt jag till att hjälpa till att anordna en nationell konferens för Transition Towns och även om pressen är på känner jag mig ganska avslappnad i att jag kan […]

John Cossham
5 May 9:00am

I’m getting a cheque out today… but for me the unknown cost will be the travel to London and back to York… I’m hoping for a couple of cheap train tickets, maybe £20 or £30 each way (or less?)and then I’ll investigate where to stay.

Any potential hosts for a very keen composter? House trained, likes washing up, free composting advice….